The morale of your remote employees is crucial for productivity and engagement but for many people, that morale it is slipping. Pandemic fatigue and the stress of juggling personal and professional lives at the same time, day in and day out, is getting to many remote workers. Companies are scrambling to find ways to help people stay in good spirits while they deal with the complications of remote work life, and one of the various methods being pursued is monthly perks that show employees they matter.
There are small things companies can do every month to let their people know their work is appreciated and their happiness matters. Below are monthly perks to show remote employees you care.
Showing people that you care does not necessarily involve spending a lot of money, but it does require some insight into what matters to them. If you want to convey to your employees that their work and their company loyalty is appreciated, monthly lunch allowance, gift cards, book allowances, bankable flex hours, exercise allowances, online learning allowances, an occasional celebrity shoutout and, for employees who commute every day, help with the monthly gas bills can all go a long way to letting people know their contributions are valued.
Between the time constraints of working from home surrounded by family and a desire to avoid grocery stores and crowded places, people are ordering out a lot. Companies like Uber Eats and Door Dash have done phenomenally well during 2020, and the trend is likely to continue into the coming years. With that in mind, one thing remote employees can always use and are sure to appreciate is a monthly lunch allowance—a fixed amount of money that they can put towards ordering lunch on a daily/weekly basis.
Alternatively, if most or all of your remote team lives in the same or similar geographic area, you can use a corporate food services company and come up with a menu that people can then choose from and it gets delivered right to their door. There are a lot of affordable, delicious staff lunch ideas out there that are sure to please all types of palettes.
It can be hard to shop for people, especially if you really only know them as employees, so a safe alternative is to let them do the shopping themselves, but you provide the money. These could be gift cards for anything, from electronics to food to the Apple Store. People are always happy to get gift cards that they can put towards purchases they have been wanting or needing to make.
One option is to give people a list of gift cards they can choose from every month to allow them further choice and to ensure that they are making the best use of the money. A 25–50-dollar gift card once a month for your team is a small gesture but lets them know you are looking for ways to give them meaningful pick-me-ups.
If you are interested in providing perks that are edifying, a good option is to make them usable for things that are going to add intellectual value to their lives. Fostering a culture of reading, particularly if the objective is to have your employees stay as up to date as possible on the latest industry trends and topics, is always a good idea. Reading is also one of the primary ways by which people become better writers and communicators—skills which, in addition to always being valuable, are even more essential in a remote work world in which the majority of communication is written, taking place over Slack and other communication apps.
Flex hours are those which an employee can redeem at any point (within reason) if they would like to--for instance, too come in (or virtual report in) late, leave early or if it is not absolutely vital that they be there for a meeting, skip out on it. It is up to you as a manager or business owner how many hours you would like or can afford to give employees each month but, like paid vacation, these days can be rolled over into the next month.
It is a good idea to lay out whatever stipulations you find necessary when providing perks like these so that people don’t feel slighted or misled when it comes time to redeem them. These could include conditions such as they are not allowed to be cashed in during any critical quarterly or yearly events or periods for your business, or during meetings in which important company and industry news and information will be discussed.
Like the reading allowance, the exercise allowance is meant to give employees a little something extra for their dedication and hard work while also letting them know that their physical health is important to the company. Employees who engage in regular physical exercise are usually much more alert, engaged and productive, and many studies link regular physical activities to cognitive ability.
This allowance can be for a gym pass, a running club, home exercise equipment, workout clothing, intramural sports fees and the like. The important thing is to get your people out exercising and making physical activity part of their daily and weekly routine so that they are mentally prepared to take on everything that comes at them, personal and professional.
An online learning allowance is another way to show people that you value their development as people and professionals. This could be money that you contribute towards an online course or certificate that people are completing in their spare time or subscriptions for various podcasts and boot camps they have signed up for or would like to at some point in the future.
Celebrity shoutouts have become all the rage in the business world, with annual general meetings and office functions featuring greetings and messages from celebrities using a new service called Cameo. Cameo lets you search by celebrity and then request specific video messages that you can present to your employees. If your team has a favorite show it watches or there is a celebrity with a lot of industry relevance, a short, unannounced shoutout once in a while can really buoy employee spirits.
Another well-received monthly perk is gas. This obviously only makes sense if most of your employees drive, but gas, especially for daily commuters, is usually a big monthly expense, and having the company take on some of that burden, if it is not already part of their benefits packages, is guaranteed to be appreciated.
If you would like to support Open Sourced Workplace:
You don’t have to break the bank letting your employees know they matter and emphasizing that there are perks to working for the company. Having monthly perks you offer to people is a nice way to end the month because it gives people something to look forward to and count on. It is often not the size of the gesture, but the thoughtfulness of it that people appreciate more than anything. Keep the above monthly perks in mind as you plan ways to show your people you care and help drive engagement and bolster job satisfaction.
1. Are these perks more or less effective when people are working in-office or remotely?
2. Should the above perks be included as part of benefits packages or used as extras in addition to what employees already receive for working at the company?
You must be logged in to post a comment.