This article was published as part of the Denver Business Journal Leadership Trust, an invitation-only network of influential business leaders, experts, executives and entrepreneurs.
According to the Pew Research Center, as of December 2020, 71% of Americans are working from home. Looking to the future, some predict that working from home is here to stay, meaning that at least some of your employees will work remotely at least part of the time. In the past, employers used “perks” like in-office happy hours, pool and table tennis, skateboards, and bikes to lure young professionals and highlight their “cool” factor as a company. If half of your team works remotely, those differentiators no longer matter – so what do perks look like going forward?
1. Wellness Bucks
Rather than offering a one-size-fits-all gym membership or streaming subscription that only appeals to some of your population, consider offering wellness bucks — a set amount of money for each employee to purchase a streaming subscription for yoga, to hire a private trainer or to buy a Peloton or new road bike. Supporting your employees’ well-being will go a long way to earning their loyalty.
2. Meal Subscriptions
Your remote employees can’t take advantage of Taco Tuesday in the office or donuts on Friday. Instead, why not offer a subscription to Green Chef or Blue Apron to help them feel like they are part of the team? This will buy you points with your employee and their entire family because they’ll also get to enjoy the perk!
3. Mental Health Days
My daughter works in the mental health industry, and one of the benefits her company provides is paid mental health days. These are days you can call in at any point if you just need to relax and regroup. No questions asked. I think this is perhaps one of the most valuable perks that a company can offer. We’ve all suffered this past year — everyone on your team has been working more and taking less time off. We all need a couple of mental health days!
4. High-Speed Internet
One of the best perks I can think of is faster internet for your remote employees. Depending on where their home office is located, internet service may be slow, which decreases productivity. In some cases, the internet provider might throttle service over a certain usage. Your remote employees should have fast internet at home since they can’t enjoy your T3 line at the office. They will appreciate it, and you’ll reap the benefit of increased output.
5. Online Professional Development
Let’s face it — attending a graduate program in person or traveling to an industry conference isn’t going to be normal for some time. Why not offer your team members an online learning subscription and encourage them to pick up new skills and build their competencies at their leisure?
When we were plunged into this pandemic journey last year, many of us thought that it would be a blip — a few months of inconvenience and then it would be over. Since we’re still dealing with the effects of COVID-19 more than 12 months later, we’re seeing significant changes in company sentiment about remote working – and certainly employee adoption of remote working. You’ll need to make sure you show your remote team members that they are as valuable as anyone who does work in the office and that means rethinking those perks.
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