What we believed to be a short stint of remote working before returning to the office stretched out over several months and may be extended into Q4 and beyond. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies made small adjustments to their benefits to help support their employees. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that bigger, more permanent changes will have to be made to account for the changes we’ve seen taking place in the offices and organizations across the country.
As the budgeting season draws nearer, it’s important that you’re taking a look at how you’re allocating funds towards employee benefits and how you can continue to do so, taking into account their changing wants and needs. Check out some of the voluntary benefits that are likely to become the most sought after perks for employees.
For the parents in your office, a perk related to childcare might be the best thing you could offer. But even prior to the pandemic, childcare was not a commonly provided benefit for employees in need. In 2018, only two percent of employers offered some sort of assistance for the cost of childcare. Now, as employees scramble to remain productive while dealing with their children’s’ care and for some, children’s at-home learning, some kind of support is desperately needed. Consider your budget to determine what type of support you can offer. At the very least, a more flexible schedule for employees can allow them to juggle work and childcare. But if you have the room in your budget, options like partially or fully offsite subsidized childcare, onsite childcare, or back-up care providers are all fantastic ways to support your employees and their families during this difficult time.
Physical and Mental Health and Wellness
We have all dealt with the difficult impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in different ways. For many, the pandemic and its resulting quarantine have been incredibly hard to handle, putting a strain on the mental and physical health and wellness of thousands—including your employees. In recent years, wellness benefits were a popular offering for employees. Now more than ever, it’s important to show you value your employees and empathize with their hardships. How can you do this, given the restraints of a tight budget? Look into various options for providing some kind of wellness benefit. Options like at-home fitness subscriptions, mental health apps, and licensed tele-therapists are all growing in popularity for employers who want to support their employees’ physical and mental wellbeing.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 7 million people were already working remotely. While reports covering the full number of employees who have moved to part- or full-time remote working due to the coronavirus haven’t been conducted yet, we can only assume that number is significant. If you’re one of the thousands of companies who have moved to some type of work-from-home situation, it’s important to consider how you’re supporting your employees experiencing this sudden change—not only intangible but also tangible support.
This means things that can increase productivity and make a work-from-home set up more feasible. For example, what kind of technology are your employees outfitted with at home? Do they have a quiet space that encourages them to focus? Is their internet connection strong enough to support the amount of work they’re doing each day? If you’re unsure, one of the best ways to find these details out is through a quick, online survey that your employees can fill out, explaining their needs and how their current working environment helps or hinders them. If you don’t have the capability to outright purchase and lend office supplies and technology to employees, consider offering them a small stipend or discounts for what they need.
No matter the budget you’re working with, recognizing your employees is a must. At its core, recognition helps reward those who perform above and beyond what is expected of them. It helps promote your company’s values and creates a culture of appreciation throughout your workplace. But beyond that, recognition doesn’t just exist to reward the highest performing employees. It also works as a tool for communication and compassion. Not to mention, end-of-year bonuses won’t provide the immediate financial support employees need right now, while real-time recognition can. It can produce stronger confidence and higher productivity in an employee’s work, and tying your recognition to a monetary reward is a great way to help those employees dealing with financial stress and instability.
How Can You Offer All These Perks With Your Budget in Mind?
So, you understand the perks your employees want. But you may be asking yourself, how can I possibly manage to fit all of this, plus other unmentioned perks like much-needed financial assistance or fun, healthy snacks like they used to get in the office, into a budget that’s already been tightened thanks to COVID-19? PerkSpot might be the solution you’re looking for.
As an employee discount and recognition program, PerkSpot is a cost-free and effective way to help your employees save money right now, when it really matters most. We offer thousands of discounts in more than 25 categories, allowing employees to save on small purchases, like groceries, meal-delivery, and home entertainment, as well as big-ticket buys, like automobiles, home services, and more. Best of all, as a cost-free program, PerkSpot works with any type of budget. When you sit down to adjust your benefits and determine what portion of your budget should be directed towards new and existing perks and benefits, be sure to keep PerkSpot in mind.