What your virtual workers will appreciate
Before the pandemic, I think bosses saw office perks more like a thank you gift. From free snacks to group outings, the perks were meant as a celebratory gesture.
Now, I think there’s an opportunity to reconsider the office perk. It makes sense to tweak them into an acknowledgment that work-life got more difficult, due in large part to home-life getting more difficult. Here are a few ideas I love to recalibrate the office perk.
Budget for home office upgrades
Back in March, when many employees switched to virtual work from home, all we knew was that it was time to bring the laptop home for a long haul. The initial challenge was to make sure your team has the basic hardware, collaboration, and security tools they need to work at home. But with the basics covered, it’s time to consider perks to maintain or upgrade their home offices.
One idea is a monthly stipend used to make their home office environment more efficient, less expensive, and more ergonomically comfortable. A stipend could cover office supplies, a percentage of their home Wi-Fi bill, or additional computer hardware, such as a hi-tech keyboard, mouse, or headphones. A personal favorite: trading a kitchen chair for a well-constructed and comfortably padded office chair (heaven!).
Turn free office meals into home delivery credits
For all of the reasons your team loved getting restaurant-prepared lunch served at the office, they’ll love it even more getting it sent home. Plus, it brings back the much-missed support of local restaurants who relied on those lunching office workers.
Rethink Conferences and Events
In our pandemic-coping world, numerous industry events have been canceled or downscaled. Consider virtual alternatives. Be open to offerings your company hasn’t tried before. Let employees take the initiative to find reputable online alternatives.
Be mindful of bigger-picture benefits
As the pandemic continues to take its toll, undoubtedly all team members’ home lives are impacted. It comes as no surprise then that beyond perks, there is a shift in demand for the kind of benefits that focus on bettering your employee’s health and financial wellbeing. Consider being more flexible about work schedules, promoting wellness initiatives, and offering help to those responsible for the care of others.
While our world has turned upside down, the need to attract and retain good employees remains a priority. Adjusting perks for the ongoing realities of virtual work may require a few financial and budgeting adjustments as well. There are also tax considerations to any employee benefit. If your business could use assistance and advice in this department, don’t hesitate to reach out with your questions.