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The COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly changed how many people go through their workday. Many skipped their daily commutes, opting to work at home instead. Conference calls, Zoom meetings, and remote access have become the new normal since the pandemic started.
More than 18 months since the beginning of this corporate “new normal,” companies have begun to bring their workforce back into the office. The major shift back into the work environment is primarily due to the rise of vaccinations and companies taking precautionary measures, such as mask mandates and diligent office cleaning efforts.
As businesses continue to adjust, many workers seek and anticipate workplace adjustments that put employee well-being at the forefront of business priorities. If employers want to increase productivity companywide, they should consider adopting the following changes for their staff post-pandemic.
1. Flexible Work Hours
One of the benefits many remote workers enjoy is flexibility. They spend less time commuting, which is especially ideal in high-traffic office markets such as Atlanta, and more time at home with family, and the at-home working environment often means remote workers can better balance personal and professional to-dos.
Having flexible work hours is a perk many people want for post-COVID employment. According to a 2020 study from JLL, many workers prefer a stable work-life balance over working long hours in-office to generate a high salary. About 50% of workers desire a hybrid approach to work, preferring to go to the office several days a week with the option to work from home.
Going further, more and more companies are adopting a “core hours” scheduling approach. Instead of dictating a firm start and end time to the workday, this model allows employees to choose their working hours while maintaining enough overlap with team members to allow for collaboration. For example, consider setting core hours between 10 am and 4 pm. This ensures that employees can choose hours that fit their schedules.
Though some jobs cannot offer remote work due to the nature of the work, the pandemic has proven that some industries can function well with hybrid work models. By allowing employees the option to work remotely when possible, companies can help their staff achieve a sustainable work-life balance.
2. Remote Work Allowances
During the height of the pandemic in 2020, when lockdowns were a common occurrence, many workers took their work home with them. Almost 70% of full-time employees participated in remote work.
Though the change in work environments gave people a way to earn money while reducing their exposure to COVID-19, many had to make financial adjustments to accommodate their new work-life balance. Some people had out-of-pocket expenses for office equipment and supplies, reliable internet, and utilities to perform their daily tasks.
Employees want their employers to embrace equity and fairness. In a post-COVID work environment, many are hoping employers provide remote work allowances as compensation for work-related expenses, including those that stem from remote work. Examples of remote work allowances include company-based equipment stipends, coworking space stipends, and virtual perk access (such as online fitness classes, digital learning, and more).
3. Health and Wellness Perks
COVID-19 continues to impact businesses and workers alike. A 2020 survey showed that 50% of workers were hesitant to return to in-person work due to health concerns. This concern is still prevalent in 2021.
Employee well-being is essential for company productivity and morale. Mental and physical health issues impact employee performance, leading to a lack of collaboration among colleagues, high turnover rates, and increased sick days.
Employers can make arrangements to protect the physical health of their workers through increased sanitation efforts and social distancing. However, that alone is not enough.
Workers are taking their health and well-being more seriously these days. Companies can protect their bottom line and take care of their workers by offering specific perks, like:
- Health insurance that provides coverage for mental health issues
- Additional personal days or sick leave
- Company-sponsored wellness support programs to help manage stress
4. Childcare Assistance
One of the unfortunate consequences of the pandemic is a lack of childcare for many working parents. Many daycares, schools, and afterschool programs closed indefinitely during the pandemic. However, parents working remotely can spend more time at home to care for their families, in most cases.
As many jobs now require on-site personnel once again, many parents wonder how to arrange for affordable and safe childcare while they return to the office. With these concerns, it’s no surprise many families desire improved childcare options for jobs that require their staff to work on-premises.
For many people, returning to work as a parent is a catch-22. Parents need to work to pay for childcare, but they require childcare to go to work. Childcare shortages due to the pandemic and the uncertainty many schools face make it difficult for people to find affordable resources.
On-site company daycares for employees are a possible solution. Having childcare facilities on the business’s premises reduces the stress working parents feel, allowing them to engage more in their employment obligations.
Childcare benefits for working parents also benefit businesses. It’s a perk that helps the company establish an appealing brand and caring image. Offering the amenity to current and future employees will show workers that the company cares about their work-life balance, which will help the business retain hardworking personnel.
These Four Perks Employees Will Want After Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to reshape how people manage their daily lives. A strong focus on mental and physical health and wellness, childcare, and healthy work-life balances are at the forefront of many full-time employees’ minds.
The employment industry has changed for many people. Flexible work hours, improved insurance for mental health, childcare solutions, and remote work benefits are among the perks workers want in a post-pandemic world.
By listening to the needs of workers and making appropriate policy adjustments, employers can give their workers the support they need to be successful within their respective companies.