November 01, 2021 by Andrea Rajic
For a growing number of companies worldwide, benefits programs are essential tools helping talent acquisition, employee retention, and workplace engagement. However, not all benefits are equally valuable for employees; this article will cover the perks distributed, hybrid, and remote teams want most and why.
Employee benefits and perks serve several purposes. The first one is to help the company attract the best talent in the industry, which means it needs to position the employer as competitive compared to other companies.
The second purpose of benefits is to help retain existing employees. Perks and benefits achieve this by enhancing the workers' feelings of appreciation, belonging, and satisfaction.
Finally, benefits help employees achieve a good work-life balance, reduce financial and other uncertainty, and enhance their health and wellbeing. Healthy and happy employees are more loyal, more productive, and more engaged at work.
The time when companies offered perks such as bean bag chairs and ping pong tables is finally coming to an end. Instead, employees, particularly remote, hybrid, and distributed ones, are looking for more substantial perks that bring value to them.
When we talk about benefits for distributed teams, perks and benefits get a new purpose: to help employees bond even though they don't see each other every day. So it's essential for HR and People Operations managers to stay in the know about which perks their remote teams want most.
We did some research and spoke to several managers and employees, and here are their top benefits choices:
After the past two years, it's hardly surprising that the undisputed #1 perk employees are asking for is flexibility. Flexible work hours allow people to work when they are most productive and find more time for caretaking, parenting, and personal appointments.
For some people, not having a 9-5 schedule helps with anxiety and makes them more engaged and productive. One example of the significance of flexible work comes from Hiba Amin, the Senior Marketing Manager at Hypercontext:
Flexibility is essential to employees when it comes to location, too. Hybrid and remote work is on the rise precisely because employees realized they could do large chunks of their work offsite, liberating them from long commutes and desk-bound days.
And while remote and hybrid work is the single most wanted perk in the new workplace, right after comes access to flex workspaces. In a recent study by Microsoft, 70% of workers said they want remote work to remain an option, while 65% want to see their colleagues more in person.
Offering a hybrid work model and access to flex workspaces for employees in all locations enables them to keep the upsides of connecting, collaborating, and working face to face while still being flexible. In addition, flex spaces are an excellent solution for employees who have less than ideal home office setups, lack of privacy and focus at home, or need to attend a team meeting once or twice a week.
Next on the list of the most sought-after employee benefits are home office stipends and budgets. Hybrid and remote employees who work from home at least partially don't have a standardized work environment; these vary based on their living arrangements, internet speed, desk setups, and so much more.
Companies need to step up and cover the expenses of setting up the home office, starting with a suitable desk and an ergonomic chair. Jordan Walker, the co-founder of Yac, shared how they approach the topic:
Along with home office stipends come hardware and equipment budgets, a perk many companies haven't adopted yet. Whether your employees are in one or 20 cities, they need essential equipment to get their work done.
Companies should purchase or provide stipends for employees to get laptops, headphones, printers, and all other peripherals they need for their role.
Investing in the physical and mental wellbeing of employees never goes out of style. With workplace issues like burnout, remote work isolation, and the inability to log off looming around, you'll want to make sure you have your people covered.
On the other hand, knowledge workers spend ungodly hours every day at their desks, so their necks, backs, and overall fitness can suffer.
Introducing wellness programs that encourage employees to connect, practice self-care, nurture their mental health, and exercise more is a much better choice than the old ping pong tables. They help employees live healthier lives and give a better ROI to the employers.
It's a strange benefit to be on this list, but here it is - paid time off. Taking vacations, holidays, and off days is absolutely critical for the wellbeing and performance of every employee.
Company cultures that rely on presenteeism and working long hours are encouraging exhaustion and increasing chances of burnout. It can be particularly tricky for hybrid and remote employees to log off from work, so it's essential managers encourage PTO and lead by example.
When we spoke with Rhiannon Payne from Remote recently, she pointed out the significance of PTO:
Finally, consider introducing gifts and acknowledgments for special occasions. Getting a birthday voucher, work anniversary card, or gift for a newborn baby can go a long way in making employees feel happy and appreciated.