Now that the dust of the pandemic is seemingly starting to settle, it’s time for businesses to grapple with the many consequences it has left us. Many articles have addressed some of the most common ones: remote work, office space, business strategy, and digital acceleration, among many others. But few have tackled another crucial challenge awaiting companies – the employees’ expectations around perks.
One of the definitive aspects of the corporate culture over the last decade, traditional perks are now under scrutiny. Unlimited coffee, casual Fridays, or pet-friendly offices are all nice and dandy but given the taxing year we just went through, people are now expecting other types of perks in their respective companies.
Though they might not seem like perks at first glance, the following 5 things will surely become paramount for your company to retain and attract talent in a post-pandemic setting. How do I know? Because at BairesDev, the software development company for which I work, we have been offering these perks for our distributed teams with high levels of success. If the post-pandemic business landscape is a mixture of remote and in-house work, then you’ll be fine by offering these.
1. A better work-from-home experience
Let’s start with the obvious one. According to a recent poll by Gallup, more than half of US employees (53%) who are working remotely right now would like to continue doing so in a post-COVID-19 setting. So, it’s only natural that the WFH model, which was hastily adopted during the first days of the pandemic, will become another common feature of the post-pandemic landscape.
As such, a lot of employees will appreciate companies that go out of their way to offer them certain perks to upgrade their home workspaces. From providing computers and mobile devices to subsidizing the purchase of ergonomic furniture, there’s plenty a business can do for their employees.
2. Comprehensive healthcare plans
The other huge elephant in the room is the health concerns brought by the pandemic. A lot of people surely from subpar or no health coverage during these troubling times, which unveiled the long-standing problems with healthcare systems around the world (and especially in the U.S.). It’s only natural to think that, after a health scare as massive as a pandemic, people will aim to be better covered in everything health-related.
Companies can take a step forward in this respect and start offering comprehensive employer-provided healthcare plans for their employees. What’s more – this move won’t just be a perfect perk for your current employees but also a talent magnet for future job openings you might have.
3. Wellness-related perks
Research shows that during the pandemic, about 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder. Many people are also reporting other negative effects, such as difficulty sleeping (36%) or eating (32%), increases in alcohol consumption or substance use (12%), and worsening chronic conditions (12%), due to worry and stress over the coronavirus.
This comes to show that, while a comprehensive healthcare plan is a fantastic perk, you shouldn’t forget that human health goes beyond feeling physically well – it also encompasses mental, emotional, and even financial health. That’s why businesses should start implementing wellness initiatives, such as offering yoga memberships, economic seminars, and support groups to help people cope with the impact of the pandemic.
4. Increased transparency
Some people might argue that conducting your business transparently isn’t a perk but a strategic decision, but I beg to disagree. Since not all companies want to disclose the real state of their businesses or the reasons behind their decisions with their employees, being transparent can certainly feel like a perk that will be of the utmost importance for teams moving forward – especially remote teams.
Given how changing and challenging the business environment is and will be for the foreseeable future, providing your employees with an honest assessment of where you’re standing, where you’re heading, and why you are using the paths you’re using can create a stronger bond and increase their comfort level.
5. Working hour flexibility
This perk was already present in certain industries before the pandemic (I know for a fact that many software development providers had adopted it a long time ago) but it isn’t a common perk for many. But that should change soon, especially because workers have been expecting a flexible schedule for quite some time. That’s according to a 2018 survey that found that 80% of employees would choose a job for their flexibility with working hours. Additionally, 30% preferred flexible work over more vacations and 35% said they’d choose that flexibility over a higher-level position.
There are many misconceptions around work, and hour flexibility is one of them. If you educate yourself about them, you’ll see that you can benefit from this new approach – and your employees will love you for it!
Perks have always been a way to retain and attract talent, and the pandemic hasn’t changed that. But what did change was the kind of perks people are looking for. As the new normal arrives and modifies the business landscape, you should be aware of the new expectations of employees and offer them irresistible perks that can tip the scales in your favor. Starting with these 5 will surely get you a head start.