When the COVID-19 pandemic gained steam in the spring of 2020, it set off what has been called the world’s largest remote work experiment. Millions of workers suddenly had access to flexibility in where, when and how they worked—an approach that, before the crisis, was viewed as a perk. And for many, that experiment has become permanent, reshaping benefits design in the long-term.
Flexibility is the future
Many organizations are finding that remote or hybrid working arrangements are actually working for their employees. According to the McKinsey Institute, before COVID, 62% of employees surveyed wanted to work on-site full-time—a figure that has since dropped to 37%. Now, more than half of employees desire a hybrid schedule and 11% want to be fully remote. As employers strategize for their post-pandemic workplace, flexibility appears to be the key to attracting and retaining top talent.
Responding with benefits
To maximize that effort, employers can build the evolving needs of their workforce into their benefits design. Flexibility itself is becoming a cornerstone of benefits packages—with more and more job listings touting the flexibility of positions in their job listings and recruiting process. However, allowing employees to work from home is just the start of the reshaping of benefits post-pandemic.
After more than a year of at-home work because of the global pandemic, health and safety has likely become a workplace priority for many employees. Organizations opting for a hybrid environment in which employees will be on site part of the time should consider enhancing the safety of their workplaces with redesigned spaces, enhanced ventilation and installation of hands-free doors. When it comes to healthcare benefits, employees today may expect extended leave, particularly in the case of COVID exposures, as well as modernized options like telehealth, which has skyrocketed in light of the pandemic.
Thinking outside the benefits box
More forward-thinking benefits that facilitate flexible work can also be on the table. For instance, as employees face rising utility costs from their at-home work—a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that remote workers have seen a $40-$50 monthly increase in energy bills since going remote—employers can ease that burden with work-from-home stipends. Apart from helping with utility costs, organizations can also foot the bill for outfitting work-from-home setups; Google, for example, gives all employees $1,000 to cover expenses associated with setting up a home office.
Efforts to address employees’ overall financial wellness can also be built into benefits packages, with financial counseling, access to on-demand pay and more. Many employees have faced unprecedented financial challenges since the start of the pandemic, and employers can respond with robust benefits to offer needed support.
As the pandemic continues to evolve, employee expectations for their employers will as well. Organizations that want to remain competitive, particularly in the hot labor market, will need to strive to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to benefits. With our commitment to advancing opportunities for associates, Integrity Staffing Solutions is attuned to what today’s workers need. With a partnership with Integrity, you can find talent who are the right fit for your brand and offer them the employee experience they deserve.