A frazzled employee slouches in an old kitchen chair, her face aglow from the cool blue light of her laptop. The bags under her eyes look like something out of a Tim Burton movie. She glances at her watch — it’s 12:46 AM and she’s been crashing on this data analysis project all day with intermittent breaks to ensure the kids were on their school Blackboard sessions, the dog went out for a walk, people were fed, the house was straightened, laundry in the machine, and the bills were paid. Only one more tweak on this report and then she can send it off and finally go to bed where all she’ll be thinking about are the tasks and chores of tomorrow before she blacks out and the day repeats.
With America’s always-on work mentality and offices now being a few steps from the bed, our employees are working more than in decades past. According to a survey from Owl Labs, remote workers say they work greater than 40 hours per week, which is 43% higher than on-site workers do. Workers are burnt out, as they are stressed and stretched in ways they have never imagined, pushing it to the edge every day as they strive to manage it all. U.S. employee stress levels are at an all-time high, as nearly 7 in 10 workers claim the coronavirus pandemic is the most traumatic time of their professional career, according to on-demand mental healthcare leader, Ginger.
In the month since COVID-19 first emerged, it has become clear that remote work for many of our companies is here to stay. So, what should companies do to better support workers as they manage the new work-life blend?
Cookie-cutter benefits are fundamentally challenging as they assume all workers’ needs are the same when what workers want are diverse, personalized benefits. The rewards and perks of old that focus on age and gender — in-person social events, gym memberships, event passes, and transportation reimbursements — are missing the mark in providing services that improve employees’ overall health and wellness in this new remote reality. Benefits and perks that do not provide any intrinsic value to the employee-employer relationship are often why worker motivation drops or workers outright leave, according to a survey from Randstad US.
So, how can companies replicate the services and experiences of prior in-office life that foster wellbeing and sustain a corporate culture with a remote workforce? A University of Oxford extensive study into happiness and productivity found that workers are 13 percent more productive when happy. The researchers observed that happy employees do not work more hours than their discontented coworkers but are merely more productive and efficient.
Where do Human Resources and Benefits Managers start?
Blaze a new trail and provide employees a break from their quotidian grind in unique ways. Businesses have been modernizing and digitizing like crazy over the last few years, but one area where many have overlooked are their rewards, perks, and benefits packages. Here are some modern digital options to get you thinking about what to offer your workforce today that will make a real-world positive impact tomorrow.
Click here to buy now. Who doesn’t love getting that box with an Amazon smile on it? Employees at home are relying more and more on getting things in the mail to save time, energy, and keep safe. Reward their hard work with an Amazon Prime yearly membership. Not only do they get free shipping, but they also get access to streaming video, music, and books!
What’s to eat? Planning meals can add stress and more time to your employee’s day. Monthly meal subscription box services provide employees a healthy meal option at a click away. Another environmentally friendly food option is market boxes with a cause. Services like Imperfect Foods or Misfits Market aim to fight food waste by delivering organic produce and sustainably sourced pantry stables to your employees’ doorsteps.
Escape reality. Virtual reality has come a long way and technology like the Oculus 2 offers employees a way to unplug and escape their reality to engage in an immersive experience to connect with others, maintain wellbeing and physical fitness, or just have fun.
Give them the break they need. Many workers just need a break from their everyday demands and time to engage in hobbies, activities, or past times they enjoy. Identify online courses and sessions, such as Bundle Benefits, that provide a meaningful and thoughtful online engagement that allows them to take a mental and physical pause from life’s everyday pull.
Stream and chill. Streaming media is all the rage, and what better way can you help employees to wind down after a long day than with the reward of streaming media. With Disney+, Peacock, Hulu, Netflix, and more, the options are growing and so are your employee’s interests.
Personalized virtual fitness. Many employees don’t have the time or feel comfortable using their gym membership in the time of COVID. So rethink your gym perks by providing employees unlimited live and on-demand workouts with digital solutions like Peloton, Mirror, Tonal, and more. Your employees can get a personalized cardio, strength, yoga, boxing, Pilates, and barre experience in their own homes. Improving their overall health and wellness.
The future of work is changing at an ever-quickening pace and our benefits, perks, and rewards need to keep up. To attract and retain top talent, companies need to recognize that workers’ expectations have evolved. Employees feel more competent and valued when their needs are met at all levels, including physical and mental. Strive to meet their demands with benefit solutions that make a positive business difference.