Starting with the shift to remote jobs, we all have learned what pros and cons come with working from home nowadays. For extroverts, there is no doubt that they are facing challenges with working alone. On the other hand, introverts might be quite pleased with remote jobs. However, especially during pandemic times, it is crucial to keep both types of employees motivated and encouraged.
Care.com developed a survey called “The Future of Benefits”, while SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) also built up a benefits survey, analyzing 2.054 responses of HR professionals. We can notice that during pandemic a large number of employees and businesses showed a decrease in productivity, retention, and a decline in mental health, according to Harvard Business Review.
The truth is, besides Teams or Zoom meetings, it’s really hard to keep in touch with employees and to spot who is truly engaged and who needs an extra boost of motivation.
Thus, we researched this topic and we found the best 8 benefits that are proven to draw attention and maintain employees motivated, even at home:
1. Health and Family-Friendly Benefits
Alex Alonso, SHRM-SCP, SHRM’s chief knowledge officer, said that everyone needs more support and assistance as COVID-19 began triggering states of emergency across the U.S. in March 2020, “whether for managing remote work, caring for family members, or protecting their physical and mental health”.
Without care services, we can’t discuss developing and sustaining high performance at work. If assuring the employees’ health was important for employees before the pandemic, it became an absolutely indispensable benefit nowadays.
Following “The Future of Benefits” report, made by Care.com, one of the HR leader respondents at the survey claims that “Senior care is just as important as child care.” We are talking about both physical and mental health. Over the last year, nearly 3 million women (women of color in particular) have been dropped out of the labor force, as a consequence of their wish to take family leave. That raises an important question: Is it even a choice between caring for their own children and paycheck?
Nicole Mason, president and CEO of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, stands for the importance of paid sick leave or family leave for mothers who shoulder caretaking responsibilities.
For instance, a big company that acts this way, like Deloitte, offers employees the advantage to take parental leave for up to 16 weeks, so they can bond with newborns or with their adopted children. Moreover, this leave is not only related to babies. Especially during pandemic times, Deloitte employees can use it to take care of a sick relative (a sibling, a parent, a spouse, or a domestic partner).
2. Mental Health
As soon as you help your employees to find solutions to their mental issues, as soon they will be more enthusiastic and resilient at work, whether it is remote or not. Look after their both mental and physical health. “Mens sana in corpore sano” has never been more relatable than nowadays. While some employers might ignore it, every good result in the company comes with a good mindset of employees. “Make sure the benefits you offer really add value to their life — not just their working hours.” – Perkbox
Not all your employees need to be interested in the gym, juice bars, and healthy alimentation. Although, if you offer them a gym membership and access to mental health classes, they will notice that you care for their wellbeing and health.
Undoubtedly, mental health has been discussed more frequently during the pandemic, especially because of the anxiety and fatigue that were provoked by COVID-19. As the “ The Future of Benefits ”
survey reports, 59% cite improved mental health as one of the most important outcomes of caregiving benefits.
Moreover, not only do employees need mental health support, but also their children. According to the same report, “The Future of Benefits”, there has been noticed a decline in children’s well-being – 72% and both physical health and behaviour – 68%.
Talking about the importance of mental health at work, Tom Oxley had such a useful speech at TEDxNorwichED. You can watch down below:
3. Four Day Work Weeks
One of the most valuable benefits is having a work-life balance. What if the employees worked only four days a week instead of five? This is a new method that companies are adopting, as they give employees the chance to be more flexible and productive with their time, in the long run. Not only that they become happier but it also raises and maintains the level of efficiency of the company.
For instance, Treehouse, a tech start-up, never works on Fridays. Moreover, once in a while they end working at 4 p.m., which is a benefit that cheers employees up.
4. Flexible Schedule
Michele Floriani, chief marketing officer at Sequoia Consulting Group claims that “companies are being more mindful of how employee experience and flexibility can be successfully integrated into their policies and culture.”
Results of the SHRM Benefits Survey report that having a flexible schedule at work is 2 of “Top 6 Benefits Employers Viewed as Most Important”.
Scott Gregory, CEO of Hogan Assessments, wrote an article on thehrdirector.com about five tips very good to know about employee engagement in 2021. Regarding having a flexible schedule, If employees get the chance to modify or tailor their work schedule, they can also be available for those non-work responsibilities.
Thinking twice about this benefit, it’s more than just motivating people to work efficiently. It is more about listening to their needs and wishes. It is about an understanding and empathic environment for employees. You cannot “do” engagement, but you can earn it, as Scott Gregory claims in his article.
5. Performance bonuses
A survey reports of SHRM prove that this benefit was two of the top five during 2002-2016. Things haven’t changed considerably since then. Performance bonuses offer employees a sense of ownership over their efforts. Also, they are gaining recognition in the company, as this kind of benefit offers them validation.
“37% of employees consider recognition most important for feeling engaged at work. And since this is about them, it’s time managers start listening” – Perk Box
6. Turning managers or employees into coaches
There is a method that offers the chance to both employees and managers to get engaged at work: teaching and learning simultaneously. It’s a double win. The way leaders communicate to employees reflects significantly on the company’s growth.
Perk Box supports HR leaders to consider creating training/ mentorship programs. Managers or some employees from other departments might coach the company’s people. Also, this can be a great method to internalize the organization’s values and to share them to others (team spirit, empathy, transparency, and the list might go on).
7. Giving back
Beyond having access to a flexible schedule, there are some big companies that support employees to volunteer. Tech behemoth Google, “a brand that has long led the field of big-name companies with the best employee benefits”, contributes financially to NGOs, for every five hours of employees’ volunteering. (Katharine Paljug, Business News Daily Contributing Writer). Timberland offers employees every year 40 hours of paid volunteer.
8. Noticing the burnout
There always has been a tendency among some employees to become workaholics. It’s not only an issue that stands out at the office, but also during remote work. Initially, they might be seen as very motivated and productive employees. In fact, their results are only in the short term. Moreover, the consequences of burnout can be so devastating for people, that they can become way too disengaged and companies suffer a serious decline. According to Scott Gregory, “Actions that employers are taking to boost employee engagement in 2021 tend to fall into three categories: technology, social, and employee wellbeing.” All of these actions can considerably increase the employees’ motivation, engagement and make their work easier to manage.
Nobody, no HR professional has ever thought that there will come a time when employees will face so much anxiety, stress, fatigue, and such serious health issues. More than ever, assuring well-being, supporting caregiving, family leave, and offering access to a flexible schedule are no longer “benefits”. They have become indispensable for every employee, no matter the race, title, or gender.
Don’t forget, if you want to keep your team engaged, listen to their own and their families needs. Show your support and Make sure your employees come to work with emotional stability and good health.