How To Build An Employee Benefits Programme In The Age Of Remote Working

Help your team continue to thrive in a remote working environment.

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An employee benefits package helps you attract the top talent and maintain a positive company culture. With more and more companies moving to remote working, it can be hard to implement benefits that still provide value to your team, away from the office.

What are Employee Benefits?

Employee benefits are various types of non-cash provisions that are provided to employees in addition to their salary package. These benefits are of financial cost to the company but they allow you to attract the best talent when advertising for new roles and give you a stronger chance of employee retention. 

The impact of a carefully considered benefits package can be very significant, from improved productivity to long-term employee retention. While this comes at a financial cost, a company will often see an ROI from stronger team performance.

Why Every Company Needs A Benefits Programme

Recruitment is expensive. Have you ever had to replace a senior employee that resigned with very little notice? It’s very hard to replace good people and the interview process can take time away from more meaningful activities to grow your business. 

By offering a competitive benefits package, you can retain your top talent for longer and reduce the chance of competitors snatching your team. Staff turnover can become unmanageable, leading to financial loss and a poor working environment. 

By providing benefits, you’re showing your employees you care and you value their efforts. This is a great foundation to build loyal and hardworking team members that are keen to put their best work into your business. 

Employee Benefits Aren’t A Remedy For A Poor Company Culture

Too often businesses use benefits packages to make up for a stressful working environment, low salaries or a poor culture. This isn’t a good approach. Benefits will never substitute a healthy working environment and top employees will see through the benefits package and quickly move on from your company.

Spend some time establishing your culture and building the fundamentals. As your business grows and you have the financial stability required to offer benefits, you can start attracting the top talent. 

Best Employee Benefits For A Remote Company

Listed below are some examples of employee benefits that could be incorporated into a benefits package, even for a fully remote company.

1. Flexible working hours: If employees are clocking in from home, why not let them stick to their own schedule, working at times they are most productive? Many companies achieve this by using ‘core working hours’ that everyone needs to be online for (e.g. 11-3pm) and employees can start/finish around those hours.

2. Gym/Fitness membership: When working from home, we tend to find ourselves moving less and becoming less active. You can help your employees overcome this by providing them with a free gym membership (many gyms have affordable corporate packages). This may also improve the physical and mental health of your team which is beneficial for everyone!

3. Training budgets: To retain top talent you need to provide constant opportunities for training and development. High-performing employees won’t stick around if they don’t feel they’re progressing. Setting aside some budget for training courses or even conference tickets will be really appreciated by your employees. Plus, you’ll only be upskilling your own team.

4. Mental health days: This is essentially an extension to your standard sick day allowance. Mental health days are a set number of paid sick days (usually 2-3 per year) that employees can take to manage their mental health. We all have tough days or stressful periods in our lives, allowing your employees some time to deal with this without worrying about work commitments will be forever appreciated by that individual.

Extra reading on mental health days https://www.westfieldhealth.com/blog/why-employees-need-a-mental-health-day 

5. Rewarding good performance: We all need targets to work towards. Outlining a career path for your employees and offering financial incentives for achieving them will help your company grow and help your employees grow. You may also want to implement an employee of the month award (this often works best when it’s based purely on employee nominations).

6. Cycle to work scheme: For companies that still have some part-time office commitments, try and make it as easy as possible for your employees to commute. One example of this is the ‘cycle to work scheme’ which allows employees to purchase a bicycle tax-free and pay for the item directly from their monthly pay package.

7. Free eye tests: Lots of time behind a screen isn’t ideal for eye health, that’s why it’s recommended to advise your team to take regular screen breaks. In addition to this, you can provide your employees with free eye tests (some opticians have dedicated corporate services for this) which will allow them to put more money towards a quality pair of glasses. 

8. Sabbatical leave: A very common reason for employees handing in their notice is they feel they can’t pursue other avenues while maintaining a full-time job. Some people may want to complete a new degree, spend more time with family or even spend some time travelling. Instead of forcing employees to quit to free up their time, sabbatical leave can be offered. This is usually a short break from work where the employer will reserve the position for the employee’s return.

9. Discount schemes: Various corporate discount programmes are available which allow you to sign up your employees to exclusive discounts from a number of high street brands.

How To Build The Ideal Benefits Package

The best possible approach is to simply ask your team what they care about and what they’d like to see in a benefits package. You may be surprised by the responses! A good way to get this feedback is to send out an anonymous suggestions form, this will take away any pressure of employees feeling like they’re asking for too much. 

Once you have started to draft some ideas and you have some benefits in mind, you could even set up an anonymous poll to see which benefits are deemed most important, ensuring you’re building a package that’s right for the vast majority of the company.

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