Picwell Blog

Remote Work and the Future of Benefits: A Message for HR and Leadership

Feb 23, 2022 9:00:00 AM / by Picwell

The way people work has changed forever. Technological advancements, shifting attitudes, new priorities, and the pandemic have ushered in an era where more and more people fulfill their professional roles at home. And, this era is here to stay - indefinitely. In fact, a recent study from SHRM revealed that more than half of employees want to work remotely permanently.

That means much of your existing workforce and the majority of your future all-stars will look to you to provide a remote-friendly collection of benefits. The bottom line: Your company must ensure your suite of perks supports every member of your staff — wherever they report for duty.

If this task sounds vague and overwhelming, don’t worry. We’ll share how to modernize your benefits package and communication strategy so you can build and maintain a team of happy and productive employees.

The Rationale

Before we get into what you need to do, let’s make a strong case for change. Your office-based workers have wildly different lifestyles and needs from your remote employees. So, continuing to offer both groups the same benefits package is a recipe for dissatisfaction and turnover. 

Each segment of your employee population (in office and remote) needs a tailored array of perks that aligns with their circumstances. That way, they’ll feel cared about, appreciated, and included, which will boost their satisfaction, productivity, and commitment.

What to Move Away From

As you retool your benefits package, there are several benefits that will no longer incentivize your remote workers, including:

  • Commuting or parking allowances
  • Catered lunches or free, in-office beverages and snacks
  • Office parties and events

Remember: A benefit your team member can’t use isn’t really a benefit. So, if a perk has anything to do with an employee getting to the office or requires an employee to be in the office to enjoy it, it won’t help in a remote-friendly benefits package.

What to Lean Into

Once you’ve evaluated which perks make sense for each type of worker, consider offering benefits like:

  • Stipends for home office equipment 
  • Professional development programs
  • Wellness stipends (including nutrition coaching, gym equipment or spa services) 
  • Reimbursements for cell phone and internet bills
  • Lunches and snacks delivered to home
  • Paid or discounted memberships for grocery or meal delivery services
  • Family care benefits including child care and aging adult care
  • Pet care assistance or insurance
  • Flexible work schedules

Today’s workforce is more concerned than ever about their mental and financial health, so you can’t go wrong offering related benefits to both your in-office and remote team members. For example, consider implementing an employee assistance program (EAP) so workers can receive free counseling sessions. You could also consider contracting with virtual financial advisors so employees can get money management guidance. 

Additionally, with remote work, the line between work and home often gets blurred and many employees may begin to feel like they are always on the clock, which can lead to burnout. To combat this, many companies are beginning to offer minimum PTO requirements where managers are notified if an employee hasn’t taken any PTO in the last 6 months so they can urge them to take some time off to recharge. 

Pro-Tip: It’s important to remember that your employees are all dealing with different situations while working from home. Some may be caring for an aging family member, or adjusting to a new pet. Knowing the various needs of your employees can ensure you’re reaching everyone with meaningful benefits that they will actually use and appreciate.

How to Communicate Your Company’s Perks

So, you’ve updated your benefits. That’s great! — but it’s only one step of the process. Now, you need to communicate your newly improved suite of perks to your geographically dispersed workforce. Here are a few best practices to follow for an effective benefits communication strategy:

  • Create benefits-related content across multiple mediums to cater to different learning styles. Think informative written messages, engaging sound bites, and eye-catching videos.
  • Share content regularly — and repeatedly. Employees get bombarded by emails all day, every day, so there’s a good chance they’ll miss something the first time you send it.
  • Include an interactive component. A webinar that encourages audience participation can be a fun and memorable way for employees to get the information they need.
  • Have an open-door policy so workers can come to you with questions at any time. Consider offering regular office hours (in-person or virtually) specifically to discuss benefits, especially during virtual open enrollment.
  • Make sure all benefits-related information is available in a virtual, universally accessible location, like a company intranet. That way, employees can do their research any time, anywhere.
  • Put on a virtual benefits fair, complete with vendor booths. Software for virtual events has improved significantly in the past couple of years, so you can give your workers an educational and entertaining experience no matter where they are.

Pro Tip: Don’t underestimate the power of snail mail. With much of life digitized, a well-designed physical mailer sent to their homes could spark your employees’ interest.

Great Benefits Create a Great Workplace 

While you’re busy creating an amazing benefits package, it’s important to remember that your employees will still need help understanding and choosing benefits once it’s time to enroll. After all, what are great benefits if your employees aren’t using them?! Luckily, we have a solution.

Picwell is here to help you and your employees successfully navigate the benefits world. In just a few minutes, our sophisticated benefits decision support tool points each team member to the right benefits for their unique situation - saving everyone time and money in the process. The best part? Picwell can be accessed anytime, anywhere, so it doesn’t matter if your employees are at home, in the office, or on the go - benefits decision support will always be right at their fingertips.

Plus, we offer a range of educational resources and email templates to make benefits communications faster, easier, and more effective for your team too!

Just because employees work from home doesn’t mean they stop needing a connection to, and support from, your organization. In fact, those team members probably need it now more than ever. You can make sure every team member feels cared about by providing the benefits that matter to them, communicating those perks clearly and often, and giving them access to tools that can help them make sense of it all. When you do all of these things you will have a happy, healthy, and productive workforce who is ready to face all the challenges of their personal and professional lives.

We’d love to share more about how we can help your firm. Schedule a demo today.

Topics: Open Enrollment, Health Insurance, HR Tech, company culture, virtual open enrollment, benefits communications, remote work


Written by Picwell