One of the myriad changes brought about by the pandemic is that employers are rethinking the benefits and perks they give their employees.
From flex schedules to food delivery, from home office allowances to child care assistance – employers are experimenting with ways to make life easier for their remote employees.
“Plenty of employees who previously worked standard 9-to-5 jobs at the office now work those jobs at home,” writes Sean Ludwig for the US Chamber of Commerce. “With this dramatic shift to work-from-home, companies should think about changing benefits to accommodate remote workers. For example, if a company’s benefits included a catered lunch during select days of the week, then it would make more sense to replace this with something more relevant for at-home workers.”
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6 Ways to Make Your Remote Workers’ Lives Easier and Better
The following suggestions are from Ludwig’s article for the US Chamber’s online publication CO (all quotes are his):
- Flexible schedules. “Having the opportunity to work earlier or later can help parents, caregivers and others with less traditional schedules still contribute to their teams,” says Ludwig. “Additionally, companies can also experiment with offering more paid or unpaid time off as a way to help workers who need more flexibility.”
- Child care assistance. “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, parents who work remotely are strugglingto do their jobs, watch their kids and, in some cases, help teach their children if they are participating in online learning. Companies can help parents alleviate the load somewhat with child care assistance. This can be in the form of offering a stipend to parents who have a child who is either too young to go to school, has had their school closed or is immunocompromised and can’t return to school yet. Some notable companies that have added child care as a benefit during COVID-19 include Amazon, Netflix and Nvidia.”
- Telehealth and digital wellness services. This type of benefit can take lots of forms. It can be a stipend towards a gym membership or virtual yoga classes. Or it can be access to free workout apps, specialized counseling or online support groups.
- Food delivery. If your office previously provided food and snacks for employees – whether it was a well-stocked fridge in the cafeteria or free pizza on Friday, consider continuing that perk in novel ways. “Shift from office food to food delivery,” says Ludwig. “Workers can be given a stipend that can be used for grocery delivery or restaurant delivery services. Alternatively, businesses can offer a free subscription to a meal kit delivery service in order to help workers make quick meals at home. One company doing this is New York-based business app Teampay, which instead of an in-office catered lunch is giving home workers a $20-a-week lunch delivery stipend.
- Home office allowances. Many of your remote workers didn’t have a dedicated or properly-equipped home office before the pandemic. To help them adjust to the new normal, consider following the lead of Google, Shopify and other companies by offering a stipend for “home office furniture including desks, chairs and accessories that can help workers be more comfortable and productive. Some companies are paying for new equipment such as laptops or desktops for newly home-based employees as well.”
- Noise-canceling headphones. At first glance, this suggestion might seem trivial, even counter intuitive, considering the fact that these devices are sometimes provided by employers to eliminate distractions in the office. But at-home workers have distractions too, including barking dogs, screaming kids and roaring leaf-blowers. Headphones or white-noise machines might help remote workers focus better. It’s a little touch that could go a long way.
Jay Reeves is author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World. He practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. Now he writes and speaks at CLEs, keynotes and in-firm presentations on lawyer professionalism and well-being. He runs Your Law Life LLC, a training and consulting company that helps lawyers add purpose, profits and peace of mind to their practices. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-619-2441.