Changing Benefits for Employees in Remote Culture
February 23, 2021
Remote work was the order of the day for millions of employees in the spring and summer of 2020. Yet even as the country started getting back to work, a fair number of companies invited their workers to continue working remotely. Some are even offering to continue it permanently. This new remote culture is changing everything from employee benefits to how daily tasks are done.
The thing to understand is that remote work doesn't have to kill a company's culture. In fact, it can actually extend the culture if adopted and practiced with the right attitude. The company's task is to find a way to make it happen.
Interestingly enough, a recent Dell Technologies survey among employees in Singapore shows that workers view remote work quite favorably. Some 84% say they are prepared to work remotely for the long term. On the other hand, survey respondents also noted a greater need for training, communication, and remote-focused benefits to continue working effectively.
At the top of the list of remote focused benefits, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (USCOC), is child care assistance. Parents are not the only ones staying home. Their kids are, too. It's not easy to make sure the kids are doing their schooling and get your own work done at the same time. Many parents are struggling right now, and they could use some assistance in this regard.
Amazon and Netflix are just two examples of companies now offering childcare benefits to remote workers. For instance, they might pay membership fees so that workers can access services that provide emergency childcare.
For other employees, childcare is not the biggest adjustment. They struggle more with getting used to the remote lifestyle. They may be suffering mental health issues due to feelings of isolation, a lack of face-to-face socialization, and so forth. The answer in some cases is found in additional wellness benefits added to employee healthcare plans. The USCOC says that Target, Salesforce, and PwC are among the companies that began offering mental health wellness benefits as a result of coronavirus-related remote work.
With more workers planning to continue working remotely for the foreseeable future, the home office is becoming one of the most popular rooms in the home. However, workers are spending their own money to equip their offices. Some companies are responding, either by providing financial allowances or directly providing the equipment workers need. Equipment examples include laptop computers, printers, noise canceling headphones, etc.
Flexible scheduling was already on the table before the coronavirus crisis hit. Remote work only accelerated the transition to more flexibility. Now that companies know their employers can function just fine from home, they are also coming to understand that work-related tasks do not have to be completed during normal business hours.
Offering more flexible schedules allows workers to adjust to life at home. It makes it possible to allow for dealing with the kids, running errands, etc.
Last but not least are those companies looking for ways to provide some of the same on-site benefits at home. An example cited by the USCOC is home food delivery. Companies that would normally provide free catered lunch in the office are, instead, having food delivered to employee homes. This seems like such a small thing, but it means the world to stressed-out workers trying to make the best of remote work.
Remote work appears here to stay. As a result, expect your clients to want access to more benefits options catering to the remote culture.