Whether your business began implementing remote work in response to the pandemic or you've been doing it for years, one aspect of building and maintaining a remote workforce is obvious: you must foster employee happiness. And you can achieve it by providing special remote employee perks and benefits.
Benefits for remote workers shouldn't just get restricted to working from home, having flexible hours, and not having to commute. That is obvious. Offering remote employee perks that enhance productivity, career advancement, and, ultimately, employee happiness allows businesses to go further.
If you're saving money on overhead, think about how you may put that money into remote work benefits. Let's look at what you may provide as remote employee perks and benefits.
What are traditional perks and benefits?
Traditional or usual perks and benefits offered by employers to their employees may include
Retirement benefits (401k, pension plan)
Transportation allowances, or subsidies for commuting
Paid time off (vacation, sick, and personal leave)
Professional development opportunities
On-site amenities such as a gym or coffee shop
Bonuses and Employee assistance programs (counseling services, wellness programs)
On-site meals or catering services
On-site events and team-building activities
Note: A company's perks and benefits can vary depending on factors such as company size, industry, and location.
Perks and benefits to offer to remote team/workers
Remote employee perks and benefits may include:
1. Reimbursement for equipment and supplies
Offering reimbursement for equipment and supplies for remote workers can be one of the valuable remote employee perks and benefits.
By providing financial support for the necessary tools and resources, you can ensure that your remote workers have the resources they need to be productive and successful.
This can also help reduce stress and increase job satisfaction for remote workers, leading to improved morale and retention.
But, you need to consider your budget and financial resources when offering reimbursement. You should communicate the details of the policy clearly to your employees.
2. Health and wellness benefits such as virtual fitness classes, wellness program subsidies, or mental health resources
Supporting the health and well-being of your staff will improve their productivity at work. Remote workers experience feelings of isolation, which can negatively impact their mental health. It can be difficult for them to exercise or maintain a healthy diet.
Offer a stipend that your employees can use to pay for fitness courses and workout apps. Offer them gym memberships or a subscription to healthy food service to counteract that.
A holiday present might also include a health and wellness product. For instance, you may gift them a smartwatch with which you can help them track their exercise routine.
3. Communication and collaboration tools for virtual teams
Yes, offering reimbursement for communication and collaboration tools for virtual teams is one of the best practices.
These tools can help virtual teams stay connected, communicate effectively, and work together seamlessly, regardless of location. Some famous examples of such tools are video conferencing software, project management tools, and team chat apps.
By offering reimbursement for these tools, you can show your commitment to supporting remote workers and help ensure that their virtual teams have the resources they need to be productive and efficient.
But, it's essential to set clear guidelines for what tools are eligible for reimbursement.
4. Professional development opportunities such as online training or conference attendance reimbursement
You may support your staff's professional development by giving them the resources they require.
You can discuss courses that can aid them in achieving their goals and discuss the prospects for growth within your organization.
To encourage advancement beyond an employee's job description, provide stipends for MasterClass, Upgrad, EdX, or other online learning platforms.
And the holidays are a terrific opportunity to increase your remote employee perks.
5. Flexible scheduling options
Flexible scheduling allows employees to balance their work and personal commitments, which can lead to increased job satisfaction and improved well-being. Some standard flexible scheduling options include telecommuting, compressed workweeks, and job sharing.
You can also offer flexible start and end times or allow employees to work several hours per week from home. By offering these options, you can show your trust in your employees. You can create a more supportive and inclusive work environment.
But it would be great if you considered the impact of flexible scheduling options on your operations. You must ensure they have the resources and processes to effectively support remote work. You should also clearly communicate the flexible scheduling policy to your employees. Be transparent about any restrictions or expectations while offering remote employee perks.
6. Generous paid time off, including sick and personal leave
Offering generous paid time off, including sick and personal leave, is a valuable benefit that you can provide to your workers. This leave allows employees to take time off for their health and well-being. They can fulfill their commitments without having to worry about financial consequences.
Having a comprehensive paid time off policy can help to reduce stress and improve job satisfaction for remote workers. It leads to increased productivity and enhanced employee retention. You can offer a range of paid time off options, such as paid sick leave, paid personal days, and paid holidays. This way, you support your remote workers and meet their needs.
But, it's essential to consider the impact of paid time off policies on your projects. Ensure that you have the necessary resources and processes to support remote work.
7. Offer a coworking, home office stipend, or work from other locations
Possessing the freedom to work from the location where your employees are most productive is one of the leading remote employee perks and benefits to offer. While some people prefer to work from home, others prefer a coworking area or cafe.
By providing a monthly coworking stipend or a yearly home office budget, you can assist your team in making the best decision for them without placing financial stress on them.
If you want to offer a monthly or annual budget, think about how much you currently spend (or would spend) on office space for each employee.
8. Collaborative virtual events and team-building activities
Offering collaborative virtual events and team-building activities is a great way to support your employees' social and emotional well-being. It builds a sense of community among virtual teams. These types of activities can help to foster a positive work culture. They also help create a more connected, supportive, and inclusive work environment.
Examples of collaborative virtual events and team-building activities include virtual happy hours, online games, virtual team-building exercises, and virtual social events.
However, it's essential to consider the impact of these activities on your budget.
9. Subsidies for high-speed internet and other remote work-related expenses
Offering subsidies for high-speed internet and other remote work-related expenses can be a valuable benefit for remote workers. Remote workers may incur additional costs due to their work-from-home arrangements.
Examples of remote work-related expenses that you may subsidize include high-speed internet, home office equipment, and telephone or cell phone expenses. You may provide a fixed budget for these expenses or offer a flat amount for each expense category.
You may also need to consider the tax implications of providing these subsidies. Seek the advice of a tax professional if necessary.
It's important to note that these benefits may vary depending on the company and its budget. But the goal is to provide support and resources for remote workers to help them thrive in their roles.
Why do you need to offer these perks and benefits to your remote team?
Offering perks and benefits to your remote team is vital for several reasons:
1. Attraction and retention:
Offering comprehensive remote employee perks and benefits is crucial for attracting and retaining remote employees, who may face unique challenges and expenses due to their work-from-home arrangements. These benefits can help to create a more supportive, inclusive, and flexible work environment for remote workers, which can improve job satisfaction and employee morale.
2. Employee satisfaction and a sense of belonging:
"A sense of fitting in or feeling that you are an important part of a group" is the definition of belonging. Belongingness is a sense of worth, appreciation, and comprehension.
Making people feel like they belong is crucial for humans, but it also greatly benefits your company. According to a recent Center for Talent Innovation study, employees are 3.5 times more likely to be productive, inspired, and engaged if they feel like they belong. Remote employee perks and benefits can contribute to employee satisfaction and well-being, increasing motivation, engagement, and overall job performance.
If it still isn't enough to foster a sense of community, consider a time when you felt at home. How did it feel to fit in? What did that sense of belonging enable you to achieve? Now think what your team could accomplish if all your remote workers shared these sentiments.
3. Health and well-being:
Perks and benefits can contribute to the well-being of a remote team. They provide support for their physical, mental, and emotional health. Some examples include:
Health insurance and wellness programs to help team members stay healthy.
Virtual mental health resources, such as counseling and meditation services. This will help your remote team manage stress and maintain its mental health.
Tools and equipment, such as ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and noise-canceling headphones. These will help team members work comfortably and efficiently.
Social events and activities, such as virtual happy hours and game nights. This will aid the remote workers in building good connections and fostering a sense of community.
4. Professional development
Opportunities for professional development, such as online training or conference attendance, can help remote workers grow and develop their skills, leading to career advancement and increased job satisfaction.
5. Bridging the gap:
For remote teams, providing benefits that facilitate virtual collaboration and team building can help bridge the gap and foster a sense of community among remote workers.
If your employee lacks a solid community (in work or outside of it) to lean on, the loneliness that might come with working alone at home may become a problem. By encouraging your staff to have a sense of belonging through reimbursable benefits and community-driven benefits (such as Slack groups, video hangouts, and hobby-based work communities), you can both combat employee loneliness and show how much you care.
On the other hand, by praising them, their efforts, and their significance to the entire team, you can prevent this feeling of isolation.
6. To establish a fair system and good work culture
Your remote employees do not have access to the same resources as your office staff. Naturally, you should not expect them to do the same amount of work and take part in the same amount of work-related activities despite not having access to the same resources. All this might create an environment where resentment starts to develop because remote workers don't have the same benefits as in-house workers, such as lunches, wifi, a desk where they can work, or monitors.
Setting up a remote work stipend to assist your remote team members is a genuine help. Help them with setting up a home office. Or you can pay for high-speed wifi or buy a second monitor for them. This could be a straightforward solution to address this equity issue among your distributed team members.
Offering a comprehensive benefits package can help remote workers feel valued and supported. This leads to increased job satisfaction, employee retention, and overall productivity.
Comparative analysis between traditional and remote perks and benefits
Traditional perks and benefits
Remote work perks and benefits
• On-site amenities such as gym, café, parking, etc.
• Face-to-face interaction with colleagues
• Access to company-sponsored events and activities
• Consistent and structured work schedule
• Flexibility in scheduling and location
• Reduced commute time and costs
• The ability to create a personalized work environment
• More relaxed dress code
Both traditional and remote work offer benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, and performance-based bonuses. They offer employees professional development opportunities and opportunities for career advancement.
In the end, the choice between traditional and remote work will depend on personal preferences. It also depends upon individual circumstances, such as job requirements and family responsibilities.