If there’s one thing from the pandemic has shone a light on, it’s how our workplaces don’t really, well, work for the vast majority of employees. Long hours, a lack of flexibility, little support for parents and in many cases, a demanding corporate culture that only led to burnout – it’s been a time of reckoning for companies across the globe.
And it’s fair to say that Covid is forcing employers to be nimble and move fast in shifting the perks and benefits they’re offering – and in creating new policies that align with what we’re all going through. Here are just a few of the changes we’re seeing emerge out there in the market.
Health and wellbeing is a priority
Multiple studies show that stress, anxiety and burnout is on the rise due
to Covid. And in our own research, we’ve found that 46 percent of employers in Australia are overwhelmingly starting to invest in innovations that support the mental health and wellbeing of their staff.
What we’re seeing across the globe are companies offering at-home Covid testing for staff, and in some cases, free virtual doctors’ visits. Emergency leave for employees, plenty of sick time and unlimited vacation time are other initiatives we’re starting to see employers considering. Others are also providing better mental health support, resources and subscriptions to mental health apps
so job-seekers feel able to seek help when they need it.
Flexibility is the name of the game
Whether it’s a company that allows employees to work from home some or all of the time, offers policies to support parents, or is just flexible about when and where work gets done, there’s a lot more thought being given to how to make the workplace fit around our lives better, rather than the other way round.
This bodes well for women who’ve long been left behind in workplace benefits
due to the need to prioritise care for elderly family members or the need to be there for their children. Other benefits and perks we’re seeing are companies looking to increase childcare benefits, or offer new parent support. Bring it on, we say!
Reimbursements for things that matter
While paying for things like gym memberships and fancy work trips may have been the norm once upon a time, other things matter right now, and companies are starting to shift accordingly. Some employers are offering digital fitness memberships or subscriptions to wellbeing programs.
Staff who’ve had to pivot and work from home – and possibly kit out a home office – are being offered cash payments to cover home office expenses, and work-from-home stipends. We’re also seeing a trend towards companies sending care packages to keep staff motivated when they’ve had to work from home for long stretches.
The pandemic has forced employees to rely more on their employers, and for companies employers to look closely at the perks and benefits they give employees.
Many employers have had to make changes (in a hurry) in order to support their staff, and that’s only going to continue as we start to work out a way to navigate around Covid, and how it’s changing our lives and our work.
And here’s hoping the new perks and benefits we’re seeing – especially the ones that support staff in ways that really make their lives easier – are here to stay.