Employers often dangle perks to valued employees to keep them happy and productive, but with a remote workforce, those perks may have to be reimagined.
Flexibility is the most valued benefit to remote workers, with 39% of workers saying it is their favorite remote perk, according to new research by lodging platform HotelsByDay.
However, employees also crave financial perks that recognize the unique challenges of tackling work responsibilities from home.
Working from home doesn’t come cheap
For many employees, remote working brings about work-life challenges, as workers perform job duties while taking care of children and managing the household. Working parents have particularly struggled during the pandemic as many children are home from school taking part in virtual learning.
As such, it’s not surprising that the No. 2 valued perk by remote workers, after flexibility, is the ability to take extra days off, with 27% of respondents looking for time to recharge and handle family issues.
Several other popular remote perks had to do with money:
19% desired reimbursement for internet access since they have to rely on a dependable connection for work assignments and collaborating via video calls
14% wanted a home office stipend, which would help workers pay for improvements to their workplace setup
12% craved reimbursement for working in an alternative workspace sometimes, such as a co-working space or hotel
10% wanted weekly gift cards for virtual team lunches
10% wanted snack stipends to buy their own snacks
10% would be happy with virtual happy hours and food tastings with colleagues
Office workers have different needs
Employees who work primarily in the office would need a different set of perks to make them happy, the survey suggests.
Team happy hours and events were the most valued type of perk, cited by 29% of workers. That was followed by:
Business travel (27%)
Free coffee and snacks (26%)
A flexible schedule (25%)
Professional development credits (21%)
Free lunch (21%)
Gym reimbursement (14%)
On-site child care (7%)
Employers can also gain more insight into remote employees’ needs by looking at what they miss most about being in the office. For many working at home, human interaction with co-workers has been sorely lacking.
When asked what they missed most about working in the office, nearly 4 in 10 remote workers — 38% — said the ability to talk to someone at work when they needed to. On top of that:
34% most missed the camaraderie of colleagues
33% said easier collaboration with colleagues
21% said meeting face-to-face with clients
Some workers simply missed being away from their homes. In fact, 17% said they most missed having a quiet space to work and take phone calls, and 16% said they most missed their office desk.
The need for a separate space outside of the house to get work done has been gaining traction lately, as another recent survey found that more than 6 in 10 remote workers would even consider buying a tiny office to work remotely.
Methodology: HotelsByDay surveyed 1,109 remote workers in October 2020. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.