When searching for jobs, most applicants research the company and what the benefits and perks are of working for such company. They are lured by rooftop Yoga, SoulCycle Wednesdays, beer on draft at the office, ping pong tables and virtual reality rooms. But COVID hit and most of the workers went virtual. For HR and People professionals, the way we attract candidates had to change in this pandemic world. How are companies pivoting with their benefits and perks packages?
Before COVID hit, the ability to WFH (work from home) or remote work was considered a perk by most organizations and their employees. Thus, a company with WFH policy was more attractive to candidates versus a company that is 100% on-site. When COVID hit, WFH is no longer considered a perk and flexibility is expected by most employees. A recent Harvard Business School study of 1,500 remote workers reveal that only 18% of employees want to go back to the office full-time; 27% want to go permanently remote and 61% want a combination of both.
Some companies have embraced the fully remote model and started incorporating new policies into their Employee Handbooks. As companies switch to a full remote or hybrid models, we are seeing a new trend of employee benefits and perks towards reimbursements for home office, internet and utilities usage, and food delivery allowances. One must not ignore, however, that this global pandemic brought about mental health decline for most workers. HR and People experts responded by looking into expanding employer-sponsored health insurance packages to include Telehealth, Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and/or virtual counseling. Increase in childcare support is also a valued benefit to employees and some companies offer stipends for babysitting. PSI-CRO, for example, introduced virtual wellness classes, virtual art and cooking classes as team-building activities, and various contests to engage their employees while remote.
Danone Simpson from Montage Insurance Solutions has created a virtual health fair website allowing clients their own private page for their benefit programs, webinars, access to exercise, meditations and vendors offering a variety of services for employees. With Zoom burnout and employees feeling they are working in a silo, allowing employees to pace themselves feeling confident to connect live to their peers with fun time together telling stories that help them bond. Quick Teambuilding activities for Busy Managers by Brian Cole Miller has become a favorite to further engage building on the company culture. Partner with your broker to see if they offer wellness services such as sound baths, healthy doc talks, virtual yoga or any other free services for your employees.
Sarah Prince of United Agencies Insurance and host of Spotlight with Sarah notices that “as we emerge from this pandemic, employees are hungry for quality of life benefits”. Work life balance is desired more than ever and companies who understand the correspondence between an engaged employee to increased productivity are more than happy to offer their employees those benefits. Whether it is food delivery every Friday at their staff’s homes or the ability to work from anywhere in the world like what PwC is offering, companies are looking to revolve around benefits and perks that improve their workers’ standard of living!