Working from home: Role of digital employee benefits in remote working environment

Updated: May 08, 2020 2:54 PM

Work From Home: Domestic interruptions or family and home-related tasks can be a massive deterrent for remote employees. For instance, cooking or organizing food, house help, and other chores can take a ton of time and energy.

Work From Home, digital employee benefits, remote working environment, Harish Seshadri Sarma, sodexo cardsAlthough standard benefits exist for all team members, there should be reward programs to incentivize top-performing ones.

By Harish Seshadri Sarma

“Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think the one that you build first is with your employees” – Angela Ahrendts (Senior VP, Apple)

Organizations today try to attract and retain top employees with attractive compensation packages and additional perks and benefits. With more and more employees joining the remote workforce in these evolving times, there needs to be an evolution in the approach that employers take to attract and preserve talent. Remote work is not just a trend anymore. In the current dynamic world, it is a norm that is here to stay. Therefore, organizations must take proactive steps and brainstorm strategies to reward their employees and inspire them to deliver their best every day, despite not functioning from a regular office cubicle.

Before exploring that further, organizations should do their homework about what their employees truly need from them. A Glassdoor study found that 4 of every five workers need other benefits over and above a salary increase or a promotion. Some organizations have been trying to ramp up by offering benefits like tasty meals, access to gyms, cinemas and even massages in the workplace. Be that as it may, these advantages would need to be adapted for a remote workforce. Organizations have their work cut out as they try to offer benefits that satisfy and motivate an organization’s remote representatives.

Think out-of-the-box

Having a remote workforce spares expenditure on office space, furniture, hardware and even office supplies. A portion of the same could be reinvested into paying for employees’ access to better technological support and equipment. It could be in the form of a better Internet connection, laptop, printer, online tools, and applications etc. as per the employees’ work requirements. This will not just boost employee morale but also assist in better productivity.

Domestic interruptions or family and home-related tasks can be a massive deterrent for remote employees. For instance, cooking or organizing food, house help, and other chores can take a ton of time and energy. Hence, organizations can consider investing in Meal benefits, laundry, house cleaning and other such services to their work-from-home employees to keep them focused on office tasks. More so, this service could also be extended to the employees’ families and loved ones by offering educational assistance or resources for their children, old-age support for their parents, concierge services etc.

The more employees adapt and grow new skills and competences, the better it is for an organization’s growth in the long run. Thus, companies can aid their remote workers’ learning and development by organizing training for teams or letting employees pick webinars, courses, and certifications about their roles. Monthly subscriptions to educational and informational magazines or even recreational software like Amazon Kindle or Audible could be great additions to employee perks. Although standard benefits exist for all team members, there should be reward programs to incentivize top-performing ones. Digital gifting solutions in the form of gift cards that can be used at various retail outlets, online portals as well as utility payments can be a way of doing so. These are sure-fire ways to achieve employee delight.

Health and well-being of employees, be it physical or mental is rapidly becoming the most sought-after benefit for employees across the globe. It is additionally the most significant one for organizations, as a safe and sound workforce can deliver optimal results. Hence, employees can have access to a monthly health allowance or periodic health check-ups to ensure their minds and bodies are in shape. Similarly, employee mental health can be prioritized by providing them with online counsellors, meditation resources, and apps to keep their stress levels in check. Generous vacation policies could also be a significant perk for remote workers as they end up working more than traditional, office-bound employees devoid of commute or any other distractions.

Hence, the need to be rewarded with an open paid vacation policy and flexible work hours as
compensation for achieving their targets and being available around the clock. The best way to determine perks for remote workers is to find meaningful ways to align company goals with their core values and hence accordingly show employees that they are appreciated and cared for. As the renowned business leader Doug Conant once said, “To win the marketplace, you must win first in the workplace”.

(The author is Vice President – Marketing at Sodexo Benefits & Rewards India. Views expressed are personal.)

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