Benefits and perks are just as important for remote employees as they are for team members who come into the office daily. While some of the most common in-office perks — like communal break rooms packed with snacks — aren’t feasible for those who work remotely, there are still plenty of great benefits and perks to offer that can help boost motivation and engagement for employees who work outside of the office.
Learn which perks and benefits employees want the most.
Work Environment Perks
When you bring new hires into the office, it’s expected they’ll spend some time setting up their workspace. Adapt this practice for remote employees so they have the ability to personalize the area where they’ll be working as well.
Send employees some company swag items they can use in their remote workspace (think phone chargers, leather padfolios, desk lamps, posters with the company logo, etc.).
Establish a purchase or reimbursement allowance for new remote employees to purchase office furniture or equipment they need to ensure their remote workspace is as productive as possible.
Provide employees with a reasonable amount of time to set up their remote workspaces, which could include tasks like creating their own customized Zoom backgrounds and personalizing the other remote team collaboration tools they’ll use on the job.
Consider hosting team- or company-wide workspace competitions, where employees show off their remote workspaces and coworkers vote on winners in a few categories (most creative, best use of a small space, etc.).
Be sure to give some thought to how workplace wellness perks can be incorporated into your offering. This is especially important, given that many of the jobs that can be done remotely are fairly sedentary. While remote workers can’t meet up in the conference room for yoga at lunchtime, there are other options to help support their wellbeing.
Provide a company subscription to online fitness classes or apps that employees can access from wherever they are. Justworks offers Classpass memberships that enable employees to book fitness classes, massages, meditation sessions, and more.
Establish voluntary company fitness challenges that employees can choose to participate in, such as steps-per-day or daily exercise goal milestones.
Partner with a local guide or use a popular app to lead a regularly scheduled guided meditation. Justworks holds weekly sessions via Zoom that are open to employees and the public (register here!).
Consider providing fitness trackers to team members who wish to participate in wellness challenges so they can easily keep up and share their progress with coworkers.
Sponsor or reimburse employee memberships to a mediation app. Justworks recently partnered with Headspace to offer memberships to employees.
Set up a virtual fitness buddy pool so remote employees can partner with a peer to help hold them accountable for wellness goals.
Organize virtual workout sessions over Zoom so team members can join their coworkers for virtual exercise as a group.
While there’s no communal break room to stock when your employees work remotely, snacks and meals are still part of the workday for remote employees. Consider incorporating some food-related perks just for them, as well as options that work for in-office and remote-based team members alike.
For some virtual meetings, try paying to have a meal delivered to employees at home or whatever location they’re working from.
During virtual meetings or “lunch and learn” sessions, award prizes to the attendees who brought the most creative lunch, as voted by their coworkers.
Provide team members with a coffee or tea delivery subscription (per their preference) so they’re able to enjoy company-provided beverages while they work.
Establish a crowdsourced virtual recipe room where all employees (remote and in-office) can share their favorite workday food recipes and photos. This could be set up as a shared Trello board, a Slack channel, a folder on Google Drive, or via the company intranet.
Gamify workday snacks or meals with monthly or quarterly cooking challenges! Choose an ingredient and challenge employees to create a workday snack or meal that incorporates it and submit photos for voting. Award company kitchen swag (like storage bowls or cooking utensils) to those who win the challenge (or to everyone who participates).
More Ideas for Remote Perks
Not every remote work perk or benefit falls neatly into one of the above categories, so get creative with options that could be particularly appealing to your remote team members.
Set up individual learning allowances that allow employees to select their own training or professional development programs or materials outside of what your company already offers.
Encourage work-life balance by periodically providing employees with a gift certificate or reimbursement for spending a workday visiting a new attraction, taking a local tour, or enjoying another form of entertainment that accounts for social distancing.
Set up virtual book clubs or movie viewing groups so that employees can interact and bond with others who share common media interests.
Considerations for Inclusive Remote Perks
Some perks, like allowing budget or time for home office set-up, can be fairly easy to provide to everyone. Other perks — like ones that require participation in challenges or activities — should be structured so they’re open to everyone and everyone can participate. Ultimately, the employees will decide which activities they’ll engage in, but it’s important that all perks (and benefits) are set up in a way that all employees have the option to enjoy them. This can help ensure that you’re providing something that’s inclusive while also being respectful of individual differences.
Get Creative With Perks and Benefits
These are just a few of the many potential options for delivering benefits and perks in a remote work environment. It’s key to consider the needs and interests of your employees, and to be aware that not everyone will find the same things appealing or accessible. Take it a step further and encourage employees to submit their own suggestions so the benefits and perks you offer are even more tailored to your workforce.
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.