We’re sure you’ve heard the latest news, remote work is here to stay.
With more companies offering fully or partially remote work opportunities to their team than ever before, how is a company supposed to support employees who aren’t in the office? Should they leave them to fend for themselves or come up with a way to provide perks that make sense for remote team members? Wherever you sit on the spectrum, one things stands true for employees: they all want equal love and appreciation, no matter where they are geographically.
This is where the power of strong company culture comes into play, to connect in-house and remote employees. At the core of company culture, is the unification of employees through their shared values.
Why offer perks to your remote employees:
There are many benefits of remote perks, so below we have pulled together the five most salient reasons. Note that executing on this can also help you attract and retain top talent around the world as competition is more fierce than ever.
1. They make remote employees feel like they belong
Belonging is defined as “a sense of fitting in or feeling like you are an important member of a group.” Belonging is feeling appreciated. It’s feeling valued, understood, and even worthy.
Making employees feel like they belong is essential for us as humans, but it also has a great impact on your business. A recent study from the Center for Talent Innovation found that employees who feel as they belong are 3.5 times more likely to be productive, motivated, and engaged.
If that’s not enough to create an environment of belonging, then think to yourself about a time that you felt like you truly belonged somewhere. What did it feel like to belong? What were you able to accomplish because of that sense of belonging? Was feeling connected to the people around you impact your motivation to do great work? Now just imagine what your team could accomplish if all your remote employees felt this way.
2. They help remote employees fight loneliness:
Sure when employees work from home, they might have a commute they count in steps, but that doesn’t mean there aren't big drawbacks. One of those is loneliness.
Feeling lonely is one of the top disadvantages to working remote, as 19% of telecommuters listed it as their biggest struggle with working from home (Go Remotely, 2019).
The loneliness that can be associated with working alone at home can become an issue if s/he doesn’t have a strong community (in or out of work) to rely on. Supporting your employees to have a community through purchasable perks and community-driven perks (think Slack groups, video hangouts, hobby-based work communities) can help your employees fight loneliness, and even more, highlight how much you care.
On the other side of the coin, you can combat this feeling of loneliness by acknowledging them, their work, and their importance to the whole team.
We know you want to make all of your employees feel valued, relevant, and important. Offering remote employees perks helps remind them that not seen does not mean not heard.
Their contributions are not only important, but it’s also encouraged and needed to create the full company culture.
3. They extend a company’s culture:
Just like on-site team members, your telecommuters need to know what behavior is supported and encouraged by the company. Offering perks and culture initiatives in line with your company’s mission and values - and making them just as easy to access remotely as they are in-office - can further reinforce this bond.
Perks, along with open and constant communication, video conferences, and yearly get-togethers work to bridge the culture gap between in-house and remote employees.
Read more tips to make remote work successful in our comprehensive remote best practices guide.
4. They give remote employees the support that in-house employees are already getting:
To put it simply, remote workers don’t get access to the same resources your in-office team gets. And naturally, it likely isn't a great feeling to not get the same tools as your coworkers but still be expected to complete the same level of work and giving the same level of engagement in work-related activities. It could almost make it seem like a competition where remote employees don’t get snacks/coffee, lunches, Wifi, the space to work (a desk), a monitor, or whatever else you offer your in-house employees, or at least be a situation where resentment could creep in.
A simple way to approach this inequity among your distributed team members could be to set up a remote work stipend to help your remote people set up a home office, pay for high-speed wifi, or buy a second monitor.
Read here for more information on top tools that can best support your remote employees.
5. Your competitors are doing it too
If the reasons above weren’t enough to change your mind, maybe the fact that your competitors are likely already doing it will. And that’s who you’re competing against for talent -- those companies who are willing to go the extra mile to support the needs of their employees.
The top employee-rated companies with excellent employer brands are already offering their remote employees perks. From Webflow to Compt (hi!) to Zapier, many remote-friendly companies are aware of the importance of integrating those who telecommute into the company.
Read more on how other remote companies offer perks and benefits:
- Buffer- “How We Do Team Benefits As a Remote and International Company”
- “5 of The Best Remote Companies to Work For”
At this point, you might be wondering, “do I have to offer perks?” No, you don’t have to offer your remote employees perks, but the benefits far surpass the effort. And also, let's get things straight - no, being remote is no longer a perk in itself. It used to be, but not anymore. With people in the U.S. alone spending on average 35 minutes a day or 19 days per year commuting to work (Knoblauch, 2019) employees aren’t picking to work from home for fun -- it’s to satisfy their basic human needs and the market has started to adapt.
Go the next mile, and read here for more helpful resources to help your remote team work successfully.
How to offer remote employees company perks:
With the countless reasons as to why it's important to offer perks, you're likely wondering how you can best do this at your company. We want to help you become a hero for your in-house and remote employees, so here are three ways to offer perks to all your employees.
There are many ways to offer your remote employees a variety of perks. Here are some:
1. Send them perks to their house
Who doesn’t love getting gifts to their doorstep? There are a variety of things you could send your remote employees to let them know you’re thinking about them. First and easy thing you could do: send food to your remote employees.
You can imagine how sad it feels to be on a company call where employees who are centrally located just got lunch delivered to them, while those who are working from home are just watching their coworkers enjoy their food (as they themselves eat whatever food they've prepared for themselves in their own kitchens). Taking the time to send lunch or food to remote employees is a simple thing that could make them feel so much more valued and included.
You can send them gift baskets, flowers on their birthday, pizza to their house, balloons & cake on their birthday, or a dinner gift card for their work anniversary.
Another great solution - one that puts ultimate freedom and choice into your individual employees' hands - is giving your remote employees a meal stipend or custom perk stipend that they can use to get their favorite things delivered to them, whenever they want.
2. Create a “remote work set-up” stipend
Think about it: normally employees walk into the office and everything is there for them to work. A desk, chair, wifi, mouse, monitor, office supplies, etc. But the same doesn’t apply for people who work from home.
Some remote workers need to create a dedicated space in their homes to be able to do their best work, and some others - who may not have the means to do that - end up having to regularly use up precious time trying to find a suitable space amidst their living quarters for them to focus and work. Prevent this by creating a one-time (when an employee first goes remote) “Remote Work Desk Set-Up” stipend.
The goal of this stipend is specifically to create an environment of balance and belonging wherever they plan to work from. You can give them the dollar amount you find adequate for them to feel ready to work. This can boost their morale by knowing that you care enough to make their at-home experience as comfortable and productive as possible because they now have the perfect environment for work.
3. Offer a remote perk stipend
This is our personal favorite. Remote perk stipends offer your employees a personalized experience where they can choose the things they want and need most. Perk stipends help you accomplish this in a simple and budget-sensitive way. A remote work stipend can better extend culture and support teams, all while streamlining and minimizing the work needed from the HR/People Ops.
Keep in mind that remote employees could be very different from each other -- one can live by the beach, another in the mountains, one could enjoy working during the day and others at night which is why a traditional one-size-fits-all perk approach might not work best for your team. Perk stipends award them with more diverse, comprehensive, & personalized perks.
While you can set up a remote work stipend, you can also set up a remote perk stipend that includes a health and wellness stipend, continuous learning stipend, or general perk stipend so that you're equally serving your remote people as much as your on-site ones.
One company that is already doing this is Webflow. Where their SF-based team receives daily catered lunches, snacks, and more -- Webflow wanted to support and resource their remote employees which is 70% of their company. That’s why they set up a $250/month remote work stipend through Compt.
With their perk stipend, they’re able to say yes to everyone’s needs because they don’t have to pick between people’s preferences for work from home perks. As Heather Doshay, Webflow’s VP of People, said “Compt lets us say “yes” to the varied requests we get for perks, by putting the choice in the individual team members’ court." Through lifestyle spending accounts, Webflow can now offer more perks with less money, support their remote employees, and have better tracking & management for HR.
See the full Webflow case study here.
Imagine if all your workers could choose the perks they each want and need. How would that change your workflow? How happy would they be? And how mindful would their spending become? Schedule a call with a Compt team member to learn more about what a perk stipend might look like at your company.
Now that you’ve read about why and how to offer remote employees perks I’m sure you realize how crucial it is to keep telecommuters feeling on an equal playing field as your in-house employees. Providing all your employees with perks allows you to attract and retain top talent by showing them that you care about their personal needs.
Want to stay in the loop with the rest of our Remote Work/Distributed Team content? Read below: