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What steps have you taken to support your employees in the midst of a global crisis? Whether you are a two-person team or a large-scale operation, the coronavirus has forced businesses of all shapes and sizes to completely shift their perspectives on where, how, and why we do the work that we do.
The best example of the radical transformations brought about by COVID-19 is remote work, with many businesses completely abandoning their office spaces for 100% off-site teams. Although these organizations may have initially anticipated a brief pause before returning to normal working conditions, the past 6 months of quarantine have made employers and employees alike question just how “short-term” these remote arrangements will be.
Why exactly does this matter for your business? With only 36% of the total U.S. workforce staying actively engaged in 2020, businesses have been forced to find new ways to recognize their employees, maintain high productivity levels, and keep team members competitive within off-site work environments.
The most effective method for retaining your top talent and attracting new team members is to offer benefits and incentives that consider the new challenges and uncertainties your employees have faced over the past several months. If you haven’t already started to revamp your benefits package, we’ve included a few key pieces of advice to get you started.
Due to their abrupt switch from in-person to online work, most employees went from working in fully equipped offices to finding a small, unused corner of their bedroom to dedicate as a temporary workspace. The unfortunate reality for many workers is that they were not prepared to work remotely, and as a result might be missing equipment that is critical to their success. These difficulties with remote preparedness could entail everything from a faulty Wi-Fi connection to lacking access to a printer.
Because the needs of your new remote team members will vary on an individual level, there isn’t one single solution or benefit that will completely solve the issue of an undersupplied home workspace. That’s why some organizations have instead opted for a remote office stipend or reimbursement package, where employees are allotted a sum of cash that they can use as they see fit to accommodate their unique home office needs.
If your employees have already personally covered their office or other work-related expenses, it may also be worthwhile to educate your team on certain tax deductions that come with working from home and financing your own work equipment.
Employees often enjoy a wide array of benefits as they work remotely—such as greater flexibility with their work schedule—but it also means that they are spending the majority of their time during and after work stuck at home. Since remote work shows no signs of stopping anytime soon, many at-home workers have started to reconsider what it is they look for in a home.
In fact, as many as 1 in 5 Americans have reported that either they have moved or personally know someone who has moved due to the pandemic. The cause of the mass migration isn’t simple to boil down to a single explanation. But for many employees facing long-term remote employment, the virus has proved to be the opportune time to move into a home with designated working and living spaces.
If you find that your current workforce or prospective hires are looking for homes that can accommodate their new lifestyle, consider offering them perks to support their relocation. Job relocation packages have historically been reserved for those looking to switch offices in order to keep their best employees, but that doesn’t mean the same benefits can’t be translated into a remote-friendly alternative.
On a smaller scale, offering educational courses or resources on the logistical implications of buying a new home might be equally enticing to your team. These types of seminars often cover the mortgage approval process, negotiating the final offer, and how much home you can actually afford. With this information in mind, your employees will be better equipped to make the best decision for their living needs and their wallets.
Gone are the days where managers can interact with their team members over a coffee in the kitchen area or during a Friday happy hour. In the era of virtual offices and distributed teams, creating a cohesive, collaborative, and engaged workforce is often more challenging than ever before. Combine this with the emotional toil many people have faced getting through the pandemic, and it’s clear that employers need to brainstorm creative alternatives to their traditional engagement tactics.
This typically means investing in new technologies or tools that are designed specifically with a distributed work team in mind. A primary example is sales gamification software, which works just as effectively at home or in the office. Gamification relies on the same mechanics as video games and other rewards systems to transform everyday tasks into satisfying activities.
Gamification can also help unify a team that is currently grappling with their geographical distance from one another. Features like leaderboards and progress bars give everyone across the company equal visibility to individual accomplishments and achievements. These head-to-head contests often boost productivity and motivation, but they can also help employees reconnect with colleagues they haven’t seen in the past several months.
Perhaps the most obvious of the bunch, health benefits in periods of widespread illness are imperative to the well-being, success, and safety of your employees. Even before 2020, healthcare, dental care, and other wellness packages were already one of the main decision factors for a majority of workers when selecting an employer. But with limited opportunities to visit physicians in person, businesses must seek out new alternatives to their existing health provider plans.
As the latest booming trend in the healthcare industry, telemedicine technology has created a safe, socially distanced platform for patients to consult their doctors and get the medical help they need. By meeting over a video meeting instead of in-person, telehealth has drastically reduced the risk of spreading the virus and made it even more accessible for everyone to seek out the advice of professionals.
Despite its importance, only 22% of employers with over 1000 employees currently offer telemedicine as a benefit. This has left many workers no avenue for getting the physical or mental health assistance they need when in-person appointments aren’t an option. To ensure that your health benefits are competitive and truly aid your employees in this time of need, you’ll need to shop for a new, telehealth-capable provider. By putting stock into better health options for your employees, you are at the same time putting stock in the people who embody your organization and drive its success.
If you have the means to implement these competitive benefits, you’ll encourage a dedicated team of professionals who are completely prepared to tackle any challenges that come their way.
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