August 17, 2021 | 4-minute read (787 words)
The pandemic has wreaked havoc on worldwide workplaces in ways that no one could have predicted. COVID-19 caused many of the estimated 30.7 million small and medium-sized companies in the United States to lay off employees, close their doors, or seek assistance under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
Considering that the virus is expected to spread further this year, according to the World Health Organization, businesses must continue to ensure that their staff remains healthy, motivated, and engaged throughout this challenging time. During the pandemic, it is a sensible economic decision for business owners to continue to modify their benefits to match the changing demands of employees.
Employers are being pushed to reinvent what sorts of perks, bonuses, and incentives will keep employees engaged and provide a competitive edge. Now, work from home is the new model for many. Benefits that made sense only when long commutes and face time were the norm may be losing their luster.
In a recent Care.com survey, over 98 percent of 500 HR professionals and C-suite executives indicated they intend to offer or enhance at least one employee benefit to prioritize those workers perceive most important, such as child and senior care benefits, work flexibility, and improved mental health assistance. In addition, 63% of respondents said they want to expand existing child care benefits.
Meanwhile, many firms are developing a range of creative initiatives to satisfy their employees' evolving demands.
During COVID-19, how are companies managing workplace culture?
COVID-19 has produced a "we're all in this together" working culture in many businesses, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Many companies have responded by implementing programs to help employees struggling with physical and mental health difficulties, child care issues, financial stress, and isolation from coworkers.
Many employers have begun to offer the following services to handle pandemic-related problems:
Others have introduced a variety of benefits aimed at improving quality of life, such as:
- Health-care services available online.
- Virtual counseling.
- Extended annual leave.
- Food discounts.
- Virtual wellness courses.
- Children's activities (for workers' kids).
- Cooking lessons.
- Virtual contests.
- Team-building activities.
- Discount programs and virtual celebrations.
- Virtual yoga/workout sessions.
- Extended vacation matched with work hours.
- Stress management programs.
- Virtual guest speakers.
- Over-the-top media and streaming services.
- Gift cards.
- Matching workers' charitable donations.
- Allowing casual clothes at work.
- Employee surveys.
- An alternative to returning to work.
In HR's opinion, which perks are the most important to today's employees?
According to HR experts, there are four employer offers that will resonate in the modern workplace. Many are already in use at a variety of businesses and are increasing in popularity. According to experts, these initiatives have the most potential to contribute to employees' happiness and well-being.
Managed fertility benefit: Employees are more interested in family-building benefits, as some choose to establish a family later in life and are more likely to use assisted reproductive technology. Bridging funds built into the employment contract, directly paying for the selected network doctor and any medication required, enrolling employees in a medical coverage program provided by a locally managed care organization, or enrolling employees in a specialized hospital service that includes a medical care team for infertility treatment are all options.
Mental health benefit: Stress isn't always something that can be "controlled," and mental health may impact many aspects of one's life. During the pandemic, several businesses began offering meditation and yoga courses to their employees to help them cope with depression and anxiety and improve their mental health. Some companies use video consultations from certified clinical psychologists, personal trainers, dietitians, and rehabilitation specialists.
Pet insurance:Companies with more millennials and Generation Z employees are becoming more inclined to provide pet insurance through the workplace. Pet insurance has become synonymous with giving family medical insurance to employees who do not have children.
Sponsored tuition:At certain companies, tuition aid is fast becoming a core element of HR. Sponsoring an employee's education for a specific curriculum minimizes their expense burden while also allowing them to focus on developing job-relevant abilities.
Employees want the following incentives the most in 2021, according to a survey:
Employees frequently cite numerous perks that they feel would increase their satisfaction in 2021, according to a poll conducted by London-based Perkbox:
- Employee discounts would make 52% of respondents happier.
- 42% responded that getting higher recognition for their efforts would make them happy.
- 74% indicated an increase in income would make them happy.
- For the sake of the company's financial security, 24 % desire that their employer keeps office cost savings earned by workers working from home.
- Money toward home costs was the most sought incentive among remote employees.
- The most sought-after perk among non-remote employees was complimentary breakfast or lunch.