Working from home is here to stay. How can employee benefits support with employee health and wellbeing?
With the exception of Covid-19 itself, working from home has been the big story of 2020. Nearly half of the working population in the UK is working from home, with 80% of those doing so specifically because of the pandemic. With uncertainty on how the world will continue to live with the pandemic, and tech giants like Facebook, Google and Apple introducing measures to support remote working, it is safe to say that working from home is likely to be a long term initiative. However, this radical change has shifted the way we would have previously kept a work-life balance and is having a huge impact on employee health and wellbeing.
Does your company have a long-term plan for remote working?
Remote working isn’t a new phenomenon and a lot of companies had already started integrating it into their teams before the pandemic struck. However, there are plenty of businesses who had to do it out of necessity and have had to work it out as they’ve gone along. Many employees are relishing in the possibilities of flexible working, allowing organisations to rip off the metaphorical band aid of incorporating remote working into future policies, where previously such an approach may have been the exception, not the rule.
It now means that employers who have fallen behind on working from home policies will have to put clear strategies procedures and programmes in place to manage and support employees with long-term working from home, and make the transition a success. Alongside concerns on employee health and wellbeing, there will also be challenges for rebuilding employee engagement and ensuring a healthy organisation when lockdown ends.
In the words of Vijay Mistry, head of employee experience research for Harris Interactive and Toluna,"Employee engagement has taken a major hit as a result of the pandemic, even more so than the financial crisis of 2008."
How can you improve employee engagement remotely?
Over the past few years, there has been an increased focus on employee engagement and how it produces positive results for businesses. Many organisations attribute their success and growth to increased levels of employee engagement; Hubspot took the accolade of 2020’s ‘Best Place to Work’, which alongside its approach to empowering its teams, also came down its strategic and purposeful investment in culture, people and mission, with an emphasis on teams’ health and wellbeing.
Employee engagement is the connection employees feel towards an organisation. A highly engaged employee in your organisation is likely to have:
- Greater employee satisfaction
- Better employee health
- Higher retention levels
- Increased job security
Job retention is an area that may not be one that organisations can influence by choice at the moment, but it is also one that you should not take for granted. Studies have shown that employers who actively and strategically invest in their employees’ overall wellbeing and satisfaction, come out top trumps in KPIs and are more likely to stay in their roles.
So, how can you continue to keep employees engaged when the main interaction they have is behind a video conferencing screen?
What are employee benefits and how can they impact your employees’ wellbeing?
A strong employee wellbeing and engagement strategy can mean introducing employee benefits that make your employees feel valued and looked after, even remotely, especially as employee happiness is at the forefront of all HR departments minds.
Introducing benefits packages and programmes within your business can encourage health, fitness and nutrition which can have an impact on overall mental health, energy and routine for those working from home.
What are employee benefits?
Employee benefits no longer hold the same reference as they did once – such as private medical, health or life insurance. Although still very pertinent to company offering, modern day employee benefits offer a more holistic approach of perks and fringe benefits and include programmes such as gym memberships, additional holiday purchases or even schemes that allow for employees to buy the tech they want.
Employee benefits can play an extremely important role in defining what your employees and your teams mean to your business and how safe and valued they feel within it.
How can employee benefits improve employee wellbeing?
Early research into the health effects of lockdown included findings of fatigue, musculoskeletal conditions, poor work life balance, reduced exercise and increased alcohol consumption. In relation to mental health specifically, employees were reporting reduced motivation, loss of purpose and motivation, anxiety and isolation.
This shows that now more than ever, employee benefits and wellbeing programmes not only have a bearing on employee engagement levels but can also play an extremely important part in keeping your employees productive, healthier, fitter and more energised.
How do employee benefits work?
By creating a powerful proposition for employees and investing in comprehensive employee benefits packages, your company can create a focus and substantial effect on employee happiness.
Employee benefits do not just act as a great tool for your employees’ wellbeing but can also support with improving motivation as well as rewarding employees for their hard work over challenging times.
Here are a few examples of our modern day employee benefits and the role they have in aiding a healthy and balanced workforce:
Cyclescheme is the UK’s most popular cycle to work benefit. It allows your employees to save from 25% - 39% on a new bike and accessories and spread the cost via salary sacrifice Employees have access to any bike they want, with a choice of over 2000 retailers to claim the scheme at.
With a behaviour change programme like Cyclescheme, you can nudge your employees to get into cycling and improve their overall health and fitness, whilst also allowing those commuting to the office a safer alternative than public transport.
Cyclescheme is a total cycle-to-work solution, it's who we are and what we do. Because of this we've gone the extra-mile with every aspect of our scheme design and service to offer an intuitive user experience with minimal admin.
What are the advantages of Cyclescheme?
- Free marketing portal with customised posters
- Free events support for all employers
- Freedom to ride - schemes over £1,000
- Cyclescheme's any bike guarantee
- Weekly, monthly and seasonal sales and offers
- Save-on-sale retailers - employees save twice
- Easy to access finance option available
Techscheme is the UK’s most desirable technology benefit and lets employees get the latest tech from Apple or Currys PC World, through their employers. By spreading the cost across 12 payments from their salary, employees can own the products from the beginning and save between 2-12% on their purchases.
Even better, the scheme is not limited to just employees. Employees can also buy the latest tech for friends and family which provides a great option to buy those all-important birthday or Christmas gifts.
The scheme can hold a lot of value for employees who need a proper set up when working from home, or even noise-cancelling headphones to block out unnecessary distractions!
What are the advantages of Techscheme?
- It is relevant, your staff love it and are more loyal
- It upskills your workforce, increasing creativity and productivity
- Simple to set up and easy to manage
Pure Card is a Mastercard® prepaid card, that helps your employees’ pay go further. As a dedicated card for their everyday shopping needs, it acts a handy budgeting tool, while earning the cardholder money back every time it's used.
Available to use at a vast network of selected retailers, Pure Card can be a great way to allow employees to gain between 3% and 15% rebate on purchases. As a flexible benefit, employees can either top up their account manually, or they can sign up to have a chosen amount paid onto the card from their salary on a monthly basis.
56% of cardholders agreed that their card made them feel valued, loyal or engaged with their employer*
The initiative covers a majority of retail categories, promoting choice for the cardholder, such as:
- Food retailers
- Dining out
*889 Cardholders surveyed
Why are employee benefits important for you?
Employee benefits are crucial to an organisation’s survival. A robust benefits programme can boost employee engagement levels and harness a complete wellness strategy within your business. It can showcase to your employees that you genuinely care about their wellbeing, especially in the current climate, and can support in retaining talent. Happy and satisfied employees are more likely to work more efficiently, be more productive and take fewer sick days.
The Employee Benefit Research Institution found a direct correlation between employee satisfaction of a benefits package and job satisfaction. In fact, at the time of research, 82% of respondents who were extremely satisfied with their benefits package also cited that they were extremely satisfied with their job, versus just 4% who said they liked their benefits but did not experience any job satisfaction.
Implementing benefits such as Cyclescheme and Techscheme can make a significant difference to your employees’ overall health and wellbeing and can extend improvements in their:
- physical fitness and mental health
- financial wellbeing
- lifestyle choices, and
- work-life balance
Talking with an employee benefits specialist to learn more about the benefits packages and results your business is committed to providing can support you in creating a strategy that is not just geared towards a short term solution, but for the long-term.
Want to discuss how employee benefits can support your workforce’s wellbeing? Fill in the contact form on your right and we’ll be in touch to chat about the ways we can support your wellbeing strategy.