How Will Covid-19 Change Employee Expectations For Workplace Benefits?

COVID-19 RESPONSE – Issue 2 date 26th March 2020
March 26, 2020
Workplace Benefits: 5 Tips To Help You Set Up Benefits
April 27, 2020

How Will Covid-19 Change Employee Expectations For Workplace Benefits?

Covid-19 and its impact on all aspects of life will clearly have a profound impact on our future. Social interactions might be different from now on, the normality we took for granted might not return in a hurry.

In the workplace, there have been huge, profound changes. Many businesses have been forced to shut down or temporarily close while others have carried on but with vastly different working practices.

Working from home is now the norm for many, in-person interactions replaced with Zoom meetings and virtual offices and work spaces.

While changes might have been forced upon us all, that does not necessarily mean that everyone will want a return to precisely how things were. 

Many employees have wanted to work from home more for years only to be told it is impractical. Now, it is the new norm, so will people readily accept a return to spending approaching 40 hours per week in the office?

What will be the impact on what employees expect from their employers? Employers have had to adapt, many have had to be accepting of the fact that workers are juggling childcare and work with the schools shut. If work is still getting done, might employees expect expanded flexibility in future? 

At Enjoy Benefits, we focus solely on workplace benefits, helping workplaces provide suites that appeal to employees, help attract quality new recruits and also work in the businesses’ best interests.

Like everyone else, we have never seen changes as profound as they brought in by the Covid-19 pandemic – and these changes coming in just a few weeks. Work practices that might have been unthinkable six months ago are now established.

How else might workplace benefits change? What will employers and employees’ attitudes be?

We can’t answer with certainty, but here are a few thoughts.

  • Employees might want increased flexibility both on hours worked and place of work.

    Will the idea of a solid 9 to 5 Monday to Friday (already outdated in many professions) appear outdated in the post Covid-19 workplace? Employees have been working from home, they have been getting the work done even if it means starting earlier, carrying bits over to the evening and weekend and generally finding a schedule that works for them.

    People have shown they can get the job done, they can be trusted to deliver from home. Will this lead to a profound attitude change, with those insisting work is done in the office becoming less appealing places to work?

  • Work-life balance reassessed.

    The pandemic will inevitably lead many to evaluate whether they have the work/life balance quite right. People have been seeing far more of their children, they have been helping out with education and childcare when they might otherwise have been in the office.

    With thousands affected by Covid-19 and life virtually put on hold, many might take solace in the close bonds of family and friends. People will still need to work of course and most people enjoy and take pride in their work.

    However, there could be a general societal trend towards valuing time away from work that bit more. Has covid-19 made us all wake up and stop taking small things for granted?

  • People Have Had Time To Reflect

Many people will have had time to consider both how they’ve been treated by their employer and also what they want from an employer in future. 

What has the attitude been towards work, have they been understanding or looked to lay off staff at the first opportunity? What has the impression been from senior leaders – we’re all in this together and reassurance, or something less considerate.

People will be assessing whether their workplace is somewhere they want to stay long term and, if not, what would draw them to somewhere else? Salary is a factor, but other aspects can be equally important. The ethos of the employer and what they do to show they value staff.

One example is Employee Assistance Programmes, these providing confidential help and support for all employees, this a vital service during current troubling times. Any company with an EAP in place will be showing it has employees’ interests at heart.

Employers who have taken the time to set up suites of benefits that are truly beneficial to all will also stand out – a further example a workplace nursery scheme. 

This is relatively straightforward for an employer to set up, it pairs them with a high quality local nursery, but for employees the impact is profound. They can get their childcare as a salary sacrifice, the fees coming out before tax and this leading to savings of thousands of pounds per year.

It might be impossible to consider salary rises for staff in the immediate future but benefits can effectively give this salary rise by helping people to save money on items they are required to pay for. Many people save thousands of pounds per year through workplace benefits – as outlined in a previous blog post

 – Healthy Lifestyles

The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that people of all ages can be susceptible to life-impacting health problems. Many will reflect that being that bit healthier and fitter will be hugely beneficial and they will take steps to make this change.

Some of the easiest workplace benefits too establish are gym memberships and cycle to work schemes – both accessible to large numbers of the work force.

If people are intending to focus on their fitness, helping them to make that change shows an employer has their interests at heart. A gym membership scheme helps them get membership at the very gym they would have joined only at a reduced rate.

 

About Us

At Enjoy Benefits, we have great experience in helping companies of all sizes introduce benefits that are suitable for their workplace. 

Benefits are easy to set ups and ongoing administration is then run through a hub, this allowing employees to manage their own benefits while the employer can see which benefits are proving popular and what level of take-up each has had.

If you would like an obligation free chat to discuss which benefits might work for your business and your employees, please contact us by calling 0800 088 7315 or using our Contact Form.

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