While many businesses save money on employee travel and office needs, their employees’ mental health has taken a hard hit during the pandemic. To make up for that, some business managers are offering ‘pandemic perks’ to show their workers they care.
An Inc.com piece recently wrote that businesses are rethinking their benefits packages to provide additional benefits to their remote workforce. Some have adopted practices which aim to recreate cozier office environments in their employees’ homes; others are giving employees home office funds and discounts on equipment.
Some have started offering benefits we could not have imagined before the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some things Inc.com says fall into the latter category:
Enhanced child care
Child care is something we’ve seen many companies offer for many years — but usually, school is an excuse to have kids out of the house and accounted for. With many areas not offering in-person schooling and still many more parents still uncomfortable sending their kids to school, parents have needed the problem of daytime child care rectified.
Companies have responded with more flexible work hours, partial coverage of babysitting costs, providing subscription boxes aimed at kids, and general child care stipends.
According to the Inc.com piece:
Businesses accustomed to lunch meetings and well-stocked office pantries are redirecting that budget to feeding remote employees. Companies like SnackNation and SnackMagic will deliver packaged treats to workers’ homes, while Fringe’s platform, which allows employers to allocate points to individual workers that can be redeemed for a wide variety of benefits and discounts, offers food-delivery services, grocery boxes, and even coffee and tea subscriptions.
Alternatively, you can let employees expense meals or groceries. Wilbur Labs, a “startup studio” in San Francisco that launches and invests in tech companies, ordinarily provides at least one meal per day in its office, co-founder and CEO Phil Santoro says. Now, each remote employee instead receives a $35 daily food stipend. The company encourages staff to use it at local small businesses, especially Black-owned restaurants and grocery stores, Santoro says.
Focusing on wellness
Subsidies for therapy and meditation apps were pretty immediately offered as companies realized how stressful the situation was becoming. But thought-leading companies also provided extra time off to prevent burnout — some even shifting to a four-day work week.