One of the many impacts that the COVID-19 situation has led to has been the rapid adoption of remote work. With remote work, companies have had to change policies quickly. Understandably, leaders haven’t ironed out some of the more complicated topics.


A common issue that can arise when companies adopt remote work is concern over losing the existing culture. When adopting a remote work policy, partner with the human resources team to plan how to keep the company’s culture effective, even when everyone is out of the office.


One way to protect the culture is to offer an array of benefits suited for a remote work experience. A robust benefits package attracts top talent and helps retain strong talent, too. It is important to make sure your employees feel supported through their benefits package. Here are some of the best employee benefits to improve the virtual work experience.



Employee Benefits That Matter


While most in-office wellness programs are temporarily on pause due to COVID-19, remote wellness plans can now be built through other methods. Companies do not need to sponsor a corporate 5k run or organize diet challenges to promote employee wellness. Instead, think of alternative ways to promote healthy living amongst employees.


1.   Subscribe to Mental Health Applications

Many employees that have recently gone remote have reported heightened feelings of stress and burnout. These employees have reported having issues disconnecting and unplugging completely during non-work hours. Traditional activities that employees were using as stress-relievers may not be available. Providing subscriptions to some top mental health applications, such as Calm, would be a great way to improve employees access to mental health resources.


2.   Provide Access to Counseling

When choosing a new healthcare package to offer employees, consider choosing one covering visits with psychologists, counselors, and other alternative medical treatment options. These programs often offer 24/7 support to any employee in need. With a general sense of uneasiness being experienced by most, investing in an employee’s mental well-being will be important moving forward.


3.   Offer Virtual Gym Memberships

While traditional gym memberships are not entirely possible to provide to remote teams, companies can provide employees with other ways to stay in shape. Many gyms and workout brands have recently launched online-based options. Consider offering memberships to online platforms, like FitPros, as an alternative to traditional exercise programs.


Addressing employees’ health and wellness solutions is the first step in maintaining a strong culture when moving to a more remote workforce.



Updated Insurance Plans


Employer-offered health, life, dental, and vision insurance plans are all extremely important factors for building a strong company culture.


Right now, with a heightened focus on the effects remote work has on health and well-being, updating corporate insurance plans is important. Offering competitive benefits will keep employees happy. What’s more, it signals that the organization cares about its workforce and their family’s health and well-being.


Keep in mind that anytime new insurance plans are introduced, there are going to be a lot of questions for the human resources team to answer. A few questions employees may have that your organization may need to answer include:


Does my new health insurance plan cover costs associated with COVID-19?

The human resources team will need to be well-versed in the specific details of this plan, especially considering that it is very likely an employee may need medical care or diagnostic testing as a result of exposure to COVID-19. Employees will want to make sure that the coverage will be suitable for them and their loved ones during the current health crisis.


What options do I have if my life insurance coverage amount isn’t sufficient?

Sometimes, employees will feel that the offered insurance will not fit all of their needs, particularly when it comes to life insurance during the pandemic. The most commonly explored options are private life insurance plans that can be used to supplement the employer-issued life insurance offered. When your human resources team is knowledgeable about additional supplemental insurance options, your employees will appreciate the company’s willingness to go the extra mile.


Does vision insurance cover blue light coating?

The current remote workforce is more digitally connected than ever, and they are facing some of the side-effects associated with increased screen time. To combat the health issues that increased screen time is causing, many turn to blue light lenses and want to know if their new vision coverage includes this.


Anytime there is a significant change to a company’s benefits, the human resources team needs to be ready to handle anything and everything thrown their way. Employees are particularly concerned with their benefit offerings during the current health crisis, so being able to answer questions about new insurance policies will ease any concerns they may have and help promote a culture of transparency and inclusivity.


Make sure that if your organization updates its benefit offerings, that there is a focus on picking well-rounded plans that account for both in-office employees and remote individuals.



More Flexible Work Schedules


Adopting a remote workforce will come with a slew of benefits and a laundry list of questions that will need to be addressed.

  • How will remote workers connect to in-office workers?
  • Can in-office workers move to be remote?
  • How does time-off work?


One of the biggest concerns that employees have had when working from home is how to balance work and home life. If an employee has a child at home and a spouse working out of the house, it can be nearly impossible to work uninterrupted. This has led directly to employees heightened feelings of stress and anxiety.


To best combat the adverse effects of working from home, many companies have adopted more flexible work-hour arrangements. The current situation allows businesses to show compassion and work together with their employees despite the ever-changing landscape.


A flexible-home work arrangement can look a few different ways, and the agreement will be directly influenced by the size of a company and the industry that it serves.


When adopting a more flexible work schedule, try to find a middle ground between being too lenient and too strict. Employees need to have some work structure, but the days of working 9-5 are gone. Introducing a policy where employees are allowed to start within a given timeframe as long as they work eight hours a day is a good starting point.


Flexible scheduling combined with the fact that travel has become more difficult and riskier means that employees are taking less time off than previous years. It is important to stress to your workforce the importance of taking PTO, even if they aren’t taking traditional vacations. Offering more days off, even if unpaid, will prove to employees that the organization cares about their employees’ well-being and doesn’t mind letting them miss work occasionally.


Additionally, consider adopting an unlimited vacation time policy. Offering employees this type of benefit shows that the organization has an immense amount of trust in their work ethic and that they understand and value their time. Moreover, offering unlimited PTO days can help attract and retain top talent within the company.


Leading a more remote workforce can be exciting, but it can come with a load of logistical business issues if not handled properly. If your organization is considering adopting a remote work policy, be sure that everyone works together to ensure that the transition goes smoothly.