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Ah, good old employee benefits.
Used to be a surefire way to seal the recruitment deal, if you will.
You only had to utter ‘and you'll get an extra day’s holiday on your birthday' and the contract was as good as signed.
Not anymore, sadly.
It’s one big jungle out there, with employers everywhere vying to attract top talent, with seemingly never-ending lists of benefits on offer.
And that’s not even getting started on the headache of how to keep your existing staff onboard and happy with their current package. Employee retention is no joke.
So, all these benefits then.
Great news for prospective employees who are out on the job hunt and a timely reminder to employers in general that if they want the best (and keep the best), they might need to think about upping their game.
Let's dive in.
Couple this newly found job market competitiveness, with the changing experiences of workplace environments post-pandemic, and there’s been a very interesting shift in what exactly it is that workers are looking for in the world of workplace benefits.
Over the last two years, mental health and wellness-related benefits have risen to the top of the pile and arguably are needed more than ever.
Not only are employees dealing with the wake of a miserable Covid pandemic, but they are now also factoring in added uncertainty with volatile global political tensions, a cost-of-living crisis on home soil, and an economy on the downturn.
What a time to be alive. 💃🏽
Ultimately, when we break it all down, the soul of a company lies with its people.
And those very people currently need a bit more looking after. We all need a bit of extra TLC at the moment - even you.
Taking care of employees’ health and wellbeing can not only improve the holy grail of employee engagement; but can also lower rates of sickness-related absence, reduce burnout, combat mental health issues and reduce stress.
Not to mention the bonuses of promoting a healthy team culture and boosting productivity levels.
Before you rush to splurge your remaining wellbeing budget in one fell swoop!
Think carefully about what it is that your teams will want.
- What are they asking for?
- What will they actually use?
- What will make their life easier / more bearable?
Fortunately for us all, the helpful folk over at Remote have produced a fantastic report on exactly what employees want to keep them as engaged as possible in their roles.
By surveying 10,000 full-time employees across France, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US across different genders, job roles, industries, parental status and countries - they have discovered which wellness-specific benefits are deemed the most important to employees in 2022.
Pen and paper at the ready – let’s take a look.
This is a really interesting one, we feel.
As you can see in the results table above, 61.55% of employees [from both the UK and the USA] placed ‘access to hours off work each month for mental health improvement’ as their most desired employee wellness benefit. We know how important mental wellness is.
What’s interesting here, is how employees are clearly communicating that they expect support from the workplace to be able to prioritise time for their own self-care, whether that is time off for seeking professional assistance, or simply some time to themselves to practice their own self tools for mental health management.
A personal favourite of ours 👀
Food is a huge part of people’s lives, so it makes sense that there is an emphasis on seeking healthier foods in the workplace.
Again, it’s interesting that the employee would like their companies to take the onus here – a whopping 52.75% of people surveyed in the UK (and even higher in France, Germany and the Netherlands). Providing healthy food is a no-brainer – it ticks so many boxes, taking care of employees’ physical health, reducing sickness, boosting concentration and energy levels.
Also, it helps to set a precedent of positive lifestyle choices that can be carried across into the wider life of the employee.
What you can offer in this area all comes down to what budgets you have; it could be full-blown unlimited healthy meals in the workplace canteen (including breakfast, snacks and lunch) to something as simple as providing a fruit bowl to employees to snack on throughout the week. (Or arranging to cover the cost of it for them if they’re working from home/on the move.)
Coming in at third place we have confidential therapy or coaching. Pretty self-explanatory, this.
We’re in the midst of a significant mental health crisis across the ages, and people are really struggling with knowing where to turn. There is a lot for individuals to try and muddle through at the moment and really sadly, this is set to get even more acute.
Providing some level of external signposting to resources, support and guidance for employees could really make all the difference.
Do you have any current mental health support in place for your workforce? If so, think about how it’s serving employees - could it benefit from being made more accessible or more prominent in company communications?
UK scored the highest in terms of having this perk on the wish list, higher than the other 4 countries.
We’re a chilled lot, us Brits.
🤣 Who are we kidding?
It’s fair to say the stereotypical British traits of stoicism, coldness and maybe even uptightness could be some of the deciding factors here.
Perhaps we are realising we could use some relaxation, winding down and just generally loosening up a little.
Mindfulness is the awareness of ourselves and the world around us – and certain calming techniques such as breathwork, yoga and meditation can really help. Even colouring in.
Or simply sitting quietly and being present/ thinking. And evidently, Brits are tuning in to the benefits it can offer them (47.25% in the survey, that’s huge!)
There are so many great apps out there that can help with breathing, mindfulness techniques, and transport people to a calmer place in their mind. Our wellbeing platform is a great way to incorporate mindfulness and other techniques to bring balance.
Mindfulness practice is becoming increasingly popular in British society and is a great way for people to improve their mental wellbeing by feeling more able to cope with their day-to-day life. This in turn has a hugely positive impact on how they feel and perform when they show up to work.
We’ll be honest, we thought this one was going to be higher up on the list.
Isn’t it a telling sign of the times that virtual mindfulness is now more desired than a gym membership?
But look at the stats. 44.10% of respondents wanted this as a perk. That’s still a LOT of people!
And in France and Netherlands, the numbers are up in the high 50’s.
Well done everyone. You know it makes sense.
Exercise – sooo many benefits, too many to mention.
One consideration here is that with society changed (in terms of how, and where we all work), a lot of people are needing to be more creative with how and where they get their exercise fix.
Working from home? You might not want to drag yourself into town to go to the gym.
Got zoom fatigue and app sprawl from being at your desk all day? Then you’re most likely going to want to escape out into the fresh air at any moment you get.
Think creatively of ways you can encourage your teams to keep active – we all need it more than ever.
If they can use a gym membership and you are able to offer them, then that’s perfect.
For those who might like to try out different alternatives, exercise challenges apps can be great as a team-bonding experience to supercharge motivation. Similarly, you could try looking at home workout apps, and ways to encourage walking, cycling, swimming and running (or any other type of movement/activity).
Coming in hot at 43%. I mean, who doesn’t love a massage?
This was an unexpected one for us, as we’ve not traditionally associated physical therapy with workplace benefits.
But, hell, why not!
Anything goes these days. In fact, we were wondering if this newbie on the scene has maybe developed from the employee benefits one-upmanship we talked about earlier.
A lovely perk to have if it’s on offer. And a really nice one to offer out, if you can.
Physical therapy has many, many benefits, namely helping people relax, and reducing any strains/injuries. Fantastic for posture and alignment, which we could all do with after a long day sitting on a chair. Plus, it’s just nice to feel looked after, isn’t it?
Massages all round!
Last but not least we have virtual yoga on the desired employee benefit list.
This one is pretty easy to set up, with many different providers out there. Plus, the employee doesn’t need to really have anything, apart from a mat at home.
Ideal for bringing a sense of calm and balance after (or before!) a busy day, for de-cluttering the mind and for strengthening our bodies and enhancing flexibility.
In the UK, 32.35% of employees surveyed would like access to virtual yoga – that’s 1 in 3 so still very much a desirable perk. We’re pretty sure it will always be a solid win on the old benefits package breakdown when you’re holding your next interview rounds.
Whilst we can’t legitimately claim to offer healthy snacks and physical massages, we can help with the many other lovely perks on this list.
Drop by for a demo if you fancy chatting it through.
Thanks to the team at Remote for the fantastic research