Over the past decade, summer benefits have become increasingly popular in companies of all sizes. Summer Fridays, flexible work schedules, company picnics, and other perks have become traditions at many organizations. With the arrival of COVID-19, many workplaces have been forced to pivot, and many perks have been subject to change. Although this summer will be different due to COVID-19 disruptions, with a little planning, employers can keep their employees engaged and valued some with traditions both old and new.
Summer Fridays are a great way to end the week with a show of appreciation for employees’ time and hard work - and an easy perk to start (or continue) this summer. Organizations can opt to give employees the option of leaving work early or taking the entire day off on Fridays during summer. A 2019 survey by Gartner found that 55% of businesses in North America were offering Summer Fridays to employees – a number that has undoubtedly increased as a majority of individuals are working from home. Drops in productivity are not an issue either. The Gartner poll found that productivity, loyalty, and employee retention all increased as organizations sought to improve work-life balance. If your organization isn’t set up to absorb this amount of time away from desks, why not declare a “summer holiday” and give employees one special day to themselves to celebrate summer with family and friends.
Flexible working hours consistently come up as the most valued benefits for employees today. Millennials, working parents, and older workers all have different needs, and all of these groups value life and pursuits outside the workplace. Organizations that weren’t already considering flex-time are now starting to re-evaluate as employees have moved to home-based offices. Research by Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom found that remote work increases productivity, work hours, and employee satisfaction. In his investigation, Dr. Bloom found that employees on flexible schedules performed 10% more work overall, were less likely to leave the company, and reported feeling more fulfilled professionally.
Healthy Snacks Delivered
It’s no secret that employees love workplace snacks; many say this is one perk they couldn’t live without. The fact that your employees are working from home does not have to mean their healthy snacks stop. If it fits your budget, consider sending contactless gifts of healthy snacks to employees’ homes for them to enjoy during the workweek. Summer is a great time to offer CSA subscription boxes to employees - a wonderful treat that supports local farmers.
Investing in Health and Wellbeing
It might not be easy to get to a gym these days, but that doesn’t mean employee health and wellness has to fall by the wayside. Virtual health programs are available so employees can exercise, meditate, or be active in the comfort of their own homes. Instead of offering reimbursements for gym memberships, organizations could move towards offering stipends for virtual fitness sessions, mental health apps, yoga mats, or cycling equipment. Despite what company you are in, employee health should be an essential focus. A Harvard Business Review study found that employers who invested in health and wellness initiatives saw a nearly 3:1 return in money saved.
Benefits for Working Parents
With COVID-19 forcing many camp closures, working parents are continuing to struggle to balance caring for their children while working. In the U.S. alone, over 50 million children have been out of school for months, and with remote schools no longer in session, ad-hoc online classes can be a lifesaver for both parents and kids. Among many options - Outschool.com is what EverythingBenefits has chosen to offer its employees. We like that there are many types of classes available for kids of all ages - and it provides them something engaging and social to do while their parents work.
Picnics have traditionally been a great way for colleagues to interact outside the workplace and a fun day out for the whole family. It allows your team to have a chance to spend time together out of the office and build stronger relationships with each other. As COVID-19 regulations are still in place, a socially-distant update on the company picnic could be an organized company hike and other fun activities that allow individuals to stay a comfortable distance from others. If planning a picnic, it is advisable to have individually wrapped foods and snacks to keep everyone safe from potential COVID spread.
Summer benefits are all about employee recognition and rewarding people’s hard work throughout the year. Happy, healthy employees are more productive, more likely to go the extra mile for customers and companies with engaged teams have 12% higher profitability. Staying connected with your employees and finding out what matters to them will help employers deliver benefits that will foster employee loyalty and engagement.
What has your organization decided to do for summer perks this year? Let us know and we may add it to this list. We wish you all a happy and healthy start of summer!