The new decade has kicked off with a bang and as predicted, remote work took the win. Almost every organization has a scope to allow its employees take some time off every now and then, save the hassles of coming to work and work from home. But as for the teams that are working from home full time, remote employee perks are the dealbreaker.
Why Special Perks for Remote Employees?
Not only is your remote team working in complete isolation from other teammates, but every individual is missing out on a key element of life at work. The face to face interactions, the appraisal-related jokes, nodding at each other while passing by and the likes of it. Working from home comes with a huge cost of its own and that is—loneliness.
Loneliness is the biggest struggle that comes with working remotely. -Buffer
Effective communication is key to ensure that there’s no break in social connection between remote teams and the HQ. Remote teams have an engine which has to be well-oiled with communication and mutual respect to and from the people who are working in the office. As it’s already been proven that in a battle of carrot and stick, carrot takes the win, it’s the same in case of remote employees.
However, it’s not just about the bad things as remote employees have a monetary advantage of their own. There are a number of benefits of working remotely for employees with a fair degree of savings, flexibility, home-cooked meals and working from the couch.
The average remote worker saves $444 on gas and spends roughly 50% less on lunches. -The US Bureau of Labour
Isn’t that a perk on its own?
If we consider the pros and cons of both in-office and remote work, we can’t declare a clear winner. No matter how much the in-office vs. remote work is weighed up against each other, it’s safe to say that each of them have different traits and hence have to be treated differently.
Now we are going to level it up and move onto perks for remote employees that’ll make them feel at home. Read away!
19 Crucial Perks for Remote Employees
1. Lifestyle spending accounts
Your remote squad is working as a single unit even when the unit is fragmented into geographic dimensions. They miss out on post-work happy hours; lunchtime talks and coffee breaks. But it doesn’t mean that they don’t have a personal life of their own that they want to take up. A crucial perk or remote employees are dedicated accounts for remote employees to spend on lifestyle.
Be it a weekend visit to the park nearby or a gaming arcade expedition, these lifestyle spending accounts encourage your remote employees to have a life outside of work, hence constituting as one of the most important remote employee perks. Employees working from home deserved to be pampered with a gift or two.
A prominent real-life example of the lifestyle spending account is Airbnb, that offers every remote employee a $2,000 yearly stipend to travel anywhere in the world. These perks for remote employees give them a reason to look forward to work, which can get pretty mundane if there isn’t a push. Incentives for remote employees can also give them a push to work hard.
2. Wellness initiatives
Everyone has worked from home at a certain point and one of the biggest disadvantages is the lack of physical activity. As working from home mostly doesn’t involve setting up a formal home office (it’s mostly about minimalism and doing everything from the couch), there’s hardly any activity beside lunch hours and cooking, (that is if one does cook).
Dealing with the effects of a newly sedentary lifestyle was cited as a problem for 45 percent of Americans. -G&S Communications
A healthy mind only collaborates when a healthy body wants it to and that’s why wellness initiatives are substantial in keeping your employees attentive even when they’re working from the couch. Microsoft is often considered to be a quintessential benchmark as it offers annual fitness club memberships to all its employees—remote and in-office.
This practice has become highly dominant and has proven to deliver results especially in case of remote employees. Xoxoday, in partnership with CureFit, offers its employees free membership to its health centres, encouraging them to guard their physical wellbeing. There are remote Yoga and Wellness sessions every now and then to encourage the employees’ participation in groups. Also, fun activities for remote employees can work as a healthy exercise.
All things said and done; wellness initiatives are that one basic perk for remote employees that’d eliminate the possibility of a burnout while staying at home—a phenomena not uncommon with people working remotely.
3. Workstation Upgrades
As the above point signifies, the split between work and personal life is rather blurry and it comes down to a very primitive point of difference—the place of work. As most remote employees love curling up in their favourite spot with their laptop, mobile phone, and a cuppa joe, they lose purpose in drawing the line between work and personal life—something that’s a huge cause for employees frying their mental circuits.
This remote employee perk is an easy streak—assign a budget to each employee for workstation upgrades where they can create a little setup of their own, set up a sturdy internet connection if needed and get an ergonomic chair to keep that back straight. This home-office vibe would really bring meaning to the phrase “going to work” every time your remote employees get on the chair and “getting off work” when they step away from it.
InBev—the Belgian liquor giant sent out office chairs to their 400 Indian employees who recently transitioned to remote work after the pandemic arose. This has resulted in employees being happier, content, and their eyes widening out when they see that bright-green chair at their home-office. These remote employee perks really improve their productivity in the long haul, and it’s an essential upgrade to have for managing remote employee engagement.
4. Virtual Wellness Amenities
Let’s make something very clear standing up for mental health isn’t just a perk, but a mere necessity. When remote employees stay at home, the possibility of falling prey to mental disorders and illness ghastly increases. The organization should phase out a proper employee virtual wellness package to assist them through it. Some of the things that must be included in it are:
- Employee assistance plan (counselling and support groups)
- Mental health coverage
- Substance abuse coverage
- Mental health information sessions
- Stress management
More than 50% of the working class will go through an episode of mental illness or disorder at some point in their lives. -Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
Ernst and Young (now EY) has exemplified how mental health should be treated at the workplace with their trademark “R U OK?” program. In fact, the program gained such traction that in no time did EY made it an open-for-all service. After all, a conversation is all it takes to heal mental health—that too, virtually.
Mental health is one of the biggest barriers to a happy, productive, and engaged employee—be it remote or in-office. Hence, this remote employee perk would not only keep your employees in top shape when it comes to productivity, but it’ll save lives too.
5. Freedom from Chores
This remote employee perk often brings controversial statements when brought up by the HR. “Why should we assist employees in cleaning up their room?” or sometimes less raucous statements are often used to express displeasure for helping remote employees reduce their chores. However, this perk for remote employees can be obtained without any disarray.
With points-based rewarding systems, a prominent method of handing out perks to remote employees, there are several chore-assistance services that’d be of great help in making their lives easier. From car wash services to a deep-clean house fumigation, they can be procured by your remote employees through a catalogue of deals, perks, and benefits.
This would allow your remote employee perks portfolio to widen up without specifically adding anything new than what’s to be added in the points-redemption catalogue.
Working from home brings with it a habit of snacking on munchies, assorted snacks, and lots of peanut butter (author’s apologies to the allergic). A prominent remote team perk is sending them snack-boxes with a little message from the boss once every month or quarter. Not only does it show that the organization cares for the ones working from home, it reduces their spends on snackables.
The key to happiness at work is free snacks.
Another way to go about is to offer your remote team points to spend on vouchers that can be used while shopping for groceries and essentials. This expands the purview from just snacks to necessities. Studies suggest that happiness levels at work shoot up just at the thought of snacks being available at employees’ disposal—let alone if they wish to consume them or not.
7. Remote Work Stipends
Unlike workstation upgrades and lifestyle spending accounts, remote work stipends are monthly, quarterly, or sometimes bi-weekly release of payments towards remote employees for their basic expenses while working remotely. Internet bills, phone bills, learning and development are three places where remote work stipends are generally cashed in.
Webflow—an organization with more than 70% of its workforce on remote, offers a $250-a-month incentive as remote work stipend. This of course covers up for the expense which employees wouldn’t incur if they were working from the office premises.
8. Send them some SWAG
If any of your employees yearn to feel at home, it’s the ones working from home. Not only are they devoid of any personal interaction that’s not virtual, they might feel that they don’t have any connection with you except the employer-employee relationship. To make them feel like one of your own, send them your branded merchandise box with tees, sippers, pens, notebooks, and stress-balls.
Company merchandise improves employer’s reputation and eNPS along with brand-effectiveness by 44%.
SWAG is embossed with the organization’s sigil and brings a feeling of being part of the team. This one’s considered to be a great remote employee perk for the new joiners and it really binds the team together—spiritually and virtually.
9. Child Care Assistance and Parental Perks
Remote employees juggle between work and personal life at the same time as it's impossible to stop the kids from wreaking havoc and asking “Mummy, who’s the gentleman in the black shirt?” when they are on call. Child Care assistance should be synonymous to remote employee perks if they have kids.
Facebook is pioneering in family perks that are unequivocally directed towards kids, with a $4,000 baby cash reward and maternity/paternity leave(s) to new parents. This comes to show that not only does the organization care for employees but their families too.
10. Shorter Work Weeks
Remote employees barely have time offs as their working hours are seldom ever set unlike a nine-to-five employee who works in the office.
Remote workers work a whole extra day every month as compared to those working in-office. -Nicholas Bloom, Stanford University
Considering those organizations which divide their work progress in terms of sprints, remote workers can be given perks of one short workweek every month if they are compliant on their deadlines. This would encourage better results from someone working from home and already exhausting more efforts by saving up on commute, long lunch breaks and chit-chats.
11. Sabbatical on Tenurial Achievements
For the members of your remote team who’ve been by your side a long time, reward them with monthly sabbaticals as a perk. It’s the worst of a remote employee to go on vacations as the old habits of mixing work with daily life doesn’t die easily. Approving a month’s worth of sabbatical leave would give the eligible remote employees a huge lift.
Research states that sabbaticals give employees space to generate new ideas for the organization, gain confidence, and take up new responsibilities.-Harvard Business Review
Another benefit of sabbaticals that employers reap is that the person who fills in for them turns out to be much more effective and polished when the permanent person is back from the sabbatical. Not only do sabbaticals raise your organization’s image, they improve the employees’ productivity too.
12. Virtual Mentorship Programs
The sorcerer’s apprentice theory can be gulped in cases where the mentor-mentee relationship goes around at the workplace—but how to run virtual mentorship programs as a perk for remote employees?
In truth, remote workers have a better chance of hitting off successful mentor-mentee relationships as people can catch up anytime, don’t have to meet up at designated places, skip the awkward introductions, and all they need is a stable phone/internet connection.
Remote employees tend to feel isolated more than ones who work in the office and as the above fact states, lonely workers don’t come cheap. By assigning virtual mentorship programs with the senior personnel in your organization, they’d become better at what they do without losing out on opportunity costs that might happen otherwise.
13. Day care Reimbursements
Many employees are caregiving adults who are either catering to their kids or elder parents (or both). In situations like these, reimbursement on day care would make their lives a whole lot easier and this is a major cost that goes out of a responsible adult’s pocket.
Cost of adult/child day care ranges from $2,000 to $5,000 a month. -Eldercare Locator
14. Free OTT-Music Streaming Service
Every person working from home knows that music is nothing short of an escapade from the mundanities of what’s around them. A great perk for remote employees would be to set them up with a streaming service subscription and a pair of decent headphones to reduce their stress levels.
79 percent of employees would benefit from listening to music at work. -Deezer
You can offer your employees remarkable deals by offering music streaming services from a reward-redemption storefront like Xoxoday Plum, where they can pick out the streaming service of their choice.
15. Special Discounts for Remote Employees
It’s always one of the most delightful remote employee perks to cop a deal or two every now and then that’s exclusive to just employees. This is probably the best answer for how to reward remote employees. These special discounts are given out to employees on necessities, leisure, and gifts as well. As they are exclusive deals from the organization’s behalf, they have a positive impact on attrition and productivity.
16. Open Library and Knowledge Bank
True wisdom imparts from text, and text I found in scriptures, books, and publications. Ironically, a knowledge bank or library is barely seen as an explicit perk for remote employees. An online knowledge bank is a must which should be a collection of best books to read for personal grooming, organizational growth, or simply for the love of reading.
The HR can maintain a shared folder for remote employees where the remote employees can get e-copies of books to read. In times when books are one of the few credible sources of information, a knowledge bank would directly enhance your workforce’s wisdom.
17. Annual Learning Stipends
Many employees wish to upskill themselves through a myriad of online courses and learning resources. One of the most prevailing remote employee perks is an annual learning stipend which is unlocked as a reimbursement to course(s) completed. Many organizations also offer to reimburse college fees in the events when the remote employee completes a specific tenure with the organization.
18. Points for Perks
A points-based rewarding system proves to be substantial in cases where employees have to be regularly rewarded for all the good work done. Cash payment brings a lot of hassle along with it and when the points-based system has a formidable redemption structure, it can drive engagement and flexibility through the freedom that employees have when it comes to getting their perks. If you are looking for a platform for rewards and recognition for employees, explore Xoxoday Plum.
Luminous India catered to their six-thousand-plus employee base by taking up Xoxoday’s end-to-end reward and recognition program by driving their culture of collaboration. The rewards which were made for points could be redeemed for any of the options in Xoxoday Plum’s catalogue which has something for everyone to choose from.
The spike in engagement levels proved that points-for-perks system is really handy in times when flexibility is to be provided to the remote employees for them to choose some of their perks.
19. Intra-Company Townhall
No matter how remote they might be, but every remote employee wants to catch up with the people s/he works with. This perk can be offered to remote employees by arranging all-expense paid townhall meetups possibly at the organization’s HQ. The meeting up links names to the faces and faces to the voices while developing a camaraderie that goes beyond a screen panel.
Looking for the One-Stop Shop for All Perks?
The hardest part of procuring perks for your remote employees is stacking them up from n number of different places, keeping them all in track and ensuring that the balances are topped up in case your employees redeem their perks.
What your organization needs is a one-stop shop where your remote and in-office teams can procure their favorite perks from. Xoxoday Plum solves your problem.
With the biggest catalog of options to choose from, Xoxoday Plum is the ultimate destination to digitize perks and benefits for employees-- both in-office and remote. Experiences, gift vouchers, perks, benefits, offers, and premium deals exclusive for your employees-- the Xoxoday Store has it all.
Get rid of all the hassle while managing your employee perks program. Give Xoxoday Plum a whirl and see for yourself.
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Now that we are positively marching towards the future of remote work, it’s safe to say that we have to gear up on all fronts to welcome our remote employees. These were some perks for remote employees that must be put on the table for their well being as well as the organization’s. Happy homework!