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01 Nov 2022
by Andrew Simpson

9 trending employee benefits that can support workers

From a four-day week to financial advice, here are some of the top employee benefits

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Benefits play an essential role in many organisations’ reward and wellbeing strategies.

Not only are they the foundation of employee support and a driver for long-term employee engagement, but they are increasingly becoming vital in differentiating your employee value proposition.

Below are some employee benefits that leading organisations are currently exploring to help support their people and business.

1. Four-day working week

Several companies have trialled a four-day working week without salary cuts. According to research, the advantages include improved wellbeing, better focus, and fairer sharing of childcare between partners.

However, this approach might not be suitable for every role and sector.

Disadvantages include the widening gap between flexible homeworking professionals and front-line ‘always-on’ staff. Also, it’s important to ensure employees are not expected to work longer hours over the four days to compensate for one free day.

To balance these dynamics, shorter working hours distributed across five days could be an alternative option worth considering.

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2. Hybrid working

While hybrid working has become a reality for most office workers, employers are still debating how an office can best supplement the working from home environment.

Companies are developing guidelines and rules for their employees in a hybrid working setup to avoid potential conflicts, such as shifting from fixed desks to hotdesking, offering multiple types of options to suit different needs, from individual/noise cancelling pods to large and adaptable seating ensembles.

Many technology companies, however, are offering innovative hybrid working environments and solutions.

3. Flexible working hours

Many organisations tested flexible working hours during the pandemic when employees had to juggle several tasks, such as teaching children at home during working hours. While this option may not be suitable across the board, it can work in many areas and enable a better work-life balance.

4. Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I)

Inaction in this area can cause serious damage to a company's reputation. Consequently, the business may struggle to attract and retain talent. Research shows that diverse teams lead to greater innovation. Some areas being considered around DE&I include neurodiversity, fertility, male and female specific health (menopause/andropause) and maternity/paternity/adoption policies.

5. Flexible bank holidays

As part of the diversity and inclusion initiatives, employers are considering offering flexibility as to when staff can take bank holidays, recognising different religious events (swapping the western New Year’s Day for the Chinese or Jewish New Year’s Day, for example).

6. Working from a location of choice

While a work from home (WFH) or ‘work from anywhere’ culture widens the talent pool for companies and cuts travel time for employees, gaining increased productivity, better focus, reducing stress and can lower some overhead costs, many roles and employee groups are not suited to remote work.

There are important considerations when introducing remote working policies. For example, time zone differences may introduce complexity and working from home can create feelings of isolation and loneliness.

In-person communication and collaboration can also be hard to achieve when colleagues and clients are in different locations. This means the tools and strategies to harness a healthy culture and strong engagement with employees need to be thought out

7. Employee wellbeing

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of mental and physical health. As a result, many new digital tools are available on the market for employers wanting to support their staff.

Wellness technology is, and will continue to be seen as, an enabling tool as businesses settle into a hybrid working environment. Identifying the most appropriate support for an organisation and people can be challenging, but a specialist broker or employee benefits provider can help. Many benefits like employee assistance programmes, group income protection, life assurance, PMI or cash plans offer additional specialist services that support employers and employees.

8. Electric vehicle salary sacrifice scheme

Offering electric vehicles to staff through salary sacrifice can be particularly attractive to Generation Z and it will support a company’s environmental, social and  governance strategy and, in many cases, its values.

An electric vehicle salary sacrifice scheme lets an employee pay for an electric car each month using their gross salary.

9. Financial wellness support

Rising inflation will depress the population’s purchasing power. Any help to reduce financial stress will positively impact an employee’s mental health and help improve their performance at work. Support can come in many forms, from generic recommendations to reduce expenses to financial education to individual advice for debt restructuring.

While every organisation has different needs and specific employee benefit goals, the employee benefit decisions an organisation makes should ultimately be relevant to a business, worthy of investment and offer value to people.

In partnership with Lockton People Solutions

Lockton provides creative people solutions that make life better, for your business and your people.

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