We are all fairly fed up of hearing about covid 19, but it’s undeniable that the changes it brought to our work lives has inevitably changed the landscape of employment going forward and today we are looking a little closer at the effects it has had on Benefits and Employee Perks. Flashy company cars and the latest laptops are swiftly moving down the desired ranks and climbing quickly is benefits that support wellbeing, personal security, and financial stability. 

Remote, Flexible and Wellbeing… 

The move to working from home, whilst unfavourable for some, brought a lot of positivity to others. So much so, that according to a recent survey by Perkbox where employees were asked what matters most to them following 2021, 37% said that remote working was something they would need and want going forward. A huge increase from life pre-pandemic. 

We also asked candidates on our own Noble Futures social media channels about the return to the office, and 59% of people said that they now had the flexibility to combine both home working and office time. Only 5% reported that they were returning to the office and couldn’t wait to be back.

Along with remote working, the lockdowns also saw a huge spike in flexible working due to the blending of home and work life. This caused working hours to shift and see many employees require an element of flexibility to their workday. 

The experiment of this over the last 18 months has been on the whole, very well received by many and it has given employers the opportunity to see the value of their employees’ work, even when it is outside of the usual 9-5 hours, and so increasingly we are seeing ‘Flexible Working’ being something that is both offered and requested as per normal contracts and not just for pandemic times. 

This rise in home working and flexible working has not been a constant success however and received some backlash with some reporting the feeling of an intense need to be online or available 24/7 during initial lockdowns as their employers adjusted to the new remote lifestyle. This plus the social movement in mental health awareness has resulted in a huge increase in the want for ‘Wellbeing’ as something staff wants their employers to cover and cater for.

Alongside staff requesting clearer boundaries on when they should work and close the laptop, the Perkbox study found that 41% of 25-34-year-olds following the pandemic wanted ‘mental wellbeing days’ included in their benefits packages. 

The top options to offer your staff flexibility and well-being include:

  • Remote or flexible remote working. Allowing staff to navigate their timetable in and out of the traditional office. 
  • Flexible hours. This can be structured with a certain degree of flexibility available in a working day or full anonymity as long as the work needs are met, then the hours are for the staff to dictate. 
  • Increased holiday allowances or holiday purchase schemes, that allow staff the opportunity to purchase more annual leave. 
  • Wellbeing days. From days off for birthdays, charity or volunteering days and quarterly team reward days, there have been many variations over the last year. 
  • Remote alternatives. For those who have gone fully remote, there are options such as care packages, fruit baskets and stationary bundles sent to staff. Alongside this is valuing their homeworking space and offering options such as improved home technology including laptop and work phone, covered internet expenses and bursaries towards home office furniture. 

Another knock-on effect from the Pandemic is the increase in desire for security. We’re not talking bouncers on the office doors, but more personal, health, and wellbeing security. A recent study by Metlife, reported that 74% of employees were concerned about at least one aspect of their well being following the pandemic (these include financial wellbeing, psychological needs, and medical wellbeing), and with 4 in 10 reporting they’re not currently being covered here by their employers, it is increasingly something that staff are relocating for to achieve.  

The top options to offer your staff stability and security include:

  • Healthcare stability
    • Private healthcare or insurance
    • Private dental care or insurance
    • Optical care and cover
    • Life insurance
    • Free Covid Testing available for staff
    • Gym membership or subsidised gym memberships
    • Access to mental health support professionals
  • Financial stability
    • Shares in the business
    • Childcare vouchers
    • Improved paid sick leave offering
    • Employee discounts or free products
    • Increased or above-average pension contributions
    • Financial support, access to a financial advisor, or training days

The other perks that are making waves following 2020? The kind that just makes your staff feel happy and appreciated. These may be the smaller ones, that are often overlooked but these are the ones that boost their mental health, continue to make them feel valued in the business, and usually these are the ones they’ll tell peers about and give a good share on social media!  

The top options for small extras and perks: 

  • Free breakfast/lunch
  • Bike to Work scheme 
  • Team reward days
  • Team charity days
  • Mindfulness/Meditation App subscriptions
  • Pets at Work allowed
  • Laundry services
  • Bonus days off, including moving home days, birthdays or paydays.