Employee perks and benefits are often the things that get left behind at times of fast growth or rapid change. And what employees are after right now is a bit different than it was 12 months ago.

These days, companies are offering lots of forward-thinking (and often expensive) benefits – think egg freezing or access to counselling – but you don’t have to break the bank or reinvent the wheel to pull together some perks that will be appreciated across the board.

Here are some tweaks to typical benefits to make them more useful for the way we work today:

1. Switch free snacks for WFH upgrades. 

If you've moved to WFH, you won't be spending money on tea and coffee, fruit bowls or regular team lunches. Consider putting those savings towards small stipends for employees to update their WFH setups. Providing choice on what to spend it on is key. Items like a second monitor, space heater or even some art to brighten their workspace might seem like small things, but can make a world of difference to an at-home office. 

2. Offer flexitime in the place of commuter benefits. 

Commuting may have disappeared, but employers shouldn’t assume that being at a desk by 9am is easier for everyone. Consider leaving start and end times up to employees – as long as they work the right number of total hours, do what’s needed of them and are around for key meetings.  

3. Give people options on retirement contributions. 

Retirement planning is essential, but employees might be more focused on short-term financial obligations like student loan repayments or childcare. So, consider offering options for your team – you’ll likely still be able to make similar tax savings on these alternative contributions as an employer. 

4. Create company holidays instead of more PTO. 

More paid holiday almost always trumps other benefits, but not during a pandemic. Instead, why not do company holidays where everyone on the team takes a day – or more – off at the same time? Knowing they’re not falling behind on work, missing meetings or worrying about a growing inbox of internal tasks will make it easier for employees to switch off and recharge.

A version of this article was published in the Courier Weekly newsletter. For more insights, analysis and inspiration, sign up here.

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