There's no denying the impact that a quality benefits package has on acquiring and keeping top talent. Everywhere you look, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to Glassdoor and beyond, the research says the same thing: compensation alone isn't motivating workers. Employees are more engaged, more productive, and more likely to stay at an organization where they feel like their individual needs are being met.
If your workforce is fully or partially remote, you've got a unique challenge here. The usual perks, like coffee, snacks, and casual dress codes, don't really benefit someone who's working from home, and even health insurance offerings may not meet the needs of someone who lives across the country.
Before you rack your brain for ideas, though, let's set you up with some inspiration. Check out our eight employee perk ideas specifically for a remote workforce -- you might find exactly what your organization needs.
8 Employee Perk Ideas for your Remote Workforce
With a fully or partially remote workforce, you’re opening your organization up to acquiring talent regardless of location – pulling in the best no matter where they live. It’s a great prospect, but you’ve got to take the steps to ensure you grab their attention first. With that in mind, we’ve got a few employee perk ideas lined up to help you offer the best package for current and potential employees.
1. Home Office or Tech Stipend
To do their best work, employees need a dedicated workspace, and it doesn't have to be the company office. A proper setup can be had just about anywhere, and helping your employees establish or maintain that space with a home office stipend will make them feel appreciated while you ensure they have what they need to complete work tasks effectively.
A home office or tech stipend establishes a budget -- sometimes monthly, sometimes yearly, and occasionally, for electronics, every two years -- that employees can use to pay for things like office supplies, desks and chairs, laptops, phones, printers and printer accessories, and even internet or utilities. Compared to the cost of renting and running a dedicated office space, you may find that this option nets your organization some savings in the long run, as well.
Need more convincing? Look to the giants! Google, Twitter, and Shopify are just three of the many major companies offering significant home office stipends to their employees.
2. Coworking Stipends
According to a 2019 survey from Buffer, 19% of remote workers consider loneliness one of their greatest work struggles. A coworking stipend, which reimburses an employee for the costs of working in a public or coworking space, can help to combat those feelings while being a great deal more budget-friendly than setting up a branch office.
What does a coworking stipend look like? Sometimes, it’s a monthly or yearly reimbursement specifically for use of a dedicated coworking space – often found in larger cities, these spaces contain typical office tools, like printers and workstations, but are shared by multiple people working for different organizations.
A coworking stipend doesn’t need to look exactly like that, though. Buffer, itself, offers a stipend of $200/month for drinks and snacks purchased while coworking in coffee shops.
3. Telemedicine Benefits & Broader Healthcare Networks
Having access to healthcare is a major concern for all employees, but a remote workforce adds some unique challenges on top. Ordinarily, an employer might provide health insurance options that incentivize utilizing healthcare providers near the organization's HQ, but that doesn't serve when your employees don't necessarily live in the same city as your main office.
What, then, is the alternative? Consider these solutions:
Healthcare plans with a large regional or country-wide network of providers will be more valuable to a remote workforce because it ensures that your people are more likely to find in-network care.
Telemedicine offerings can make a wide variety of care options available when they may not have been otherwise. Whether that’s mental health services like virtual therapy sessions for someone who doesn’t have a mental health provider nearby or simple things like access to prescription refills for rural employees, telemedicine can close the gap in doctor accessibility.
4. Varied, Flexible Work Schedules
Depending on the needs of your business, you may not necessarily need all hands on deck every Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. If this is the case for your organization, giving your employees the freedom to set non-traditional work hours – whether that’s replacing weekday work with weekend work, adjusting hours to better fit their timezone, or switching to evenings – has pretty significant appeal.
Worried that too much flexibility might affect productivity? Consider this case study from Buffer. Even with completely flexible hours and no traditional work week, Buffer’s employees reported that they still worked slightly more than eight hours a day, 40 hours a week.
5. Professional Development
Invest in your employees by providing them a stipend for personal and professional growth. A professional development stipend can be established to reimburse employees for conferences, classes, books, and certifications to help them improve their job skills. With so many virtual offerings available now, both on-site and remote workers can benefit from this sort of stipend.
6. Childcare Assistance
Childcare is costly. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that childcare costs for a 4-year-old run as high as $1,258 per month in states like Massachusetts, and even on the lower end, parents in Mississippi likely spend upwards of $400/month on childcare.
Employer assistance like babysitting, daycare, and afterschool program reimbursement could have a significant positive impact on an employee's life and your organization's bottom line. By lowering the stress of childcare costs and ensuring children are occupied while their parents work, your employees are better able to focus on their job tasks.
7. Home Delivery Services
Whether it’s for a single meal or an entire grocery order, home delivery services are an attractive perk for remote workers, further freeing up their time and improving work-life balance. It’s not just reimbursements for meals or grocery deliveries, either. Plenty of subscription services now offer B2B plans to bring perks employees would’ve gotten in the office, like coffee, snacks, and lunches, right to their front door.
SnackNation offers an employee wellness box packed with healthy snack and drink options delivered directly to your employees’ doors, while meal delivery service Freshley recently introduced a B2B option to deliver fresh meals to your entire team.
8. De-location Packages
Looking for a really unique idea? Zapier is a San Francisco-based company that is paying its employees $10,000 to leave the city, freeing them up to live where they want. A relocation reimbursement in reverse, if your organization is committed to remote work, especially if it is headquartered in a city with a high cost of living, a de-location package is very appealing to employees who may want to live somewhere more affordable or just closer to family and friends.