New Benefits for Employers for the Post-COVID World
The tremendous effects of the pandemic have changed the way, time and place of work for millions of people. Companies that did not allow remote working under any circumstances changed their minds and offered flexible working options.
As part of this larger shift, companies also changed the benefits they offered to new and existing workers. As the pandemic subsides and the economy recovers, businesses will need to stay competitive by attracting and retaining the best talent, who will have ample employment opportunities. Benefits need to be broadened to keep these workers happy and engaged.
Here are some suggestions for benefits administrators, human resources managers, and department heads to choose which post-COVID benefits resonate:
Ergonomic workstations and home work allowances
Companies like Facebook, REI, Infosys, Slack and many more allow some or all of the employees to work remotely all the time. These businesses have changed during the pandemic and have seen the long-term benefits in terms of productivity, employee happiness, and lower capital costs.
As this move to the home office continues, employers are also offering home-centric benefits, including:
- Expanded reimbursement policies for items such as office supplies, printers and laptops, home internet service, office furniture, and other expenses that make remote working more productive;
- Periodic delivery of food covered by the employer to mimic “free Friday meals” and other traditional benefits in the office;
- High quality webcam and microphone configurations to enable sharper, more professional virtual conferences; and
- Monthly or annual allowances for employees working remotely to provide them with additional funding for their home office and electronics needs.
Student loan repayment
As COVID-19 continues to constrain the economy, many workers are feeling additional pressure from student loans. Student loan debt has more than doubled in the past 20 years, and by the end of 2020, U.S. borrowers owed an estimated $ 1.7 trillion in loans – an amount that dwarfs all other forms of debt outside of Mortgages.
Despite the burden of student debt, few US employers offer repayment assistance. Companies can use reimbursement as a competitive differentiator that shows they care about the financial health of their employees and hope to improve employee loyalty and retention.
Flexible working hours
Remote working has changed the “where” for workers, but hasn’t always adjusted the “when”. Many employees still expected their staff to follow traditional working hours and expect online activity and correspondence during those times. As remote working becomes mainstream, more and more staff will want flexible hours, giving them time to pick up their children from school or go to the dentist without taking a day. official illness.
More flexible arrangements are already underway in some companies, such as British accounting giant PwC, which gives employees the ability to set their own hours. They can choose to condense their week into fewer days, start earlier, and make arrangements that make work fit their personal life. Salesforce has gone so far as to declare the traditional 9 to 5 workweek “dead” and instead offers a flexible arrangement suited to the modern economy.
Mental and physical health offers
COVID-19 has sparked a mental health awareness and treatment movement. The pandemic has caused isolation and depression, but it has also opened people up to discussions about mental health. Employers are stepping in to provide free or discounted access to therapists and mental health apps that are part of a larger workplace health program.
To improve the physical health of remote workers, some companies offer allowances for the purchase of training equipment such as Peloton bikes or treadmills. They may offer access to virtual platforms such as Trainiac, which provides one-on-one online personal training, or other services that offer video-based yoga or fitness routines.
Protection for Bella, Luna or Baxter
The term “COVID Puppy” or “quarantine dog” has become part of the cultural language in 2020 and 2021. People stressed and stuck at home have sought to adopt dogs at an accelerated rate, but many of these owners have overlooked pet insurance during their excitement.
Employers can offer pet insurance as a perk, which is especially appealing to millennials, who are the largest group of pet owners and are willing to spend large sums on their dogs. they see them as members of the family. Some employers incorporate pet health insurance into the supplemental insurance enrollment process so that it becomes a monthly deduction like traditional human health and dental plans.
Businesses changing their benefits in response to COVID-19 are showing sensitivity to the new cultural and professional reality. This empathetic approach will pay off in improving employee retention rates, as workers will feel respected and valued while enjoying the flexibility of working from home. Improving and expanding benefit offerings also foster the creation of a strong, modern brand presence that can attract new high-profile hires who will position the company for innovation and growth.