Zenefits January 21, 2021 – Employee Perks: Which Will Stay or Go After COVID?

Working from home was once a perk for only senior-level managers and white-collar professionals. In recent years, employers have given more workers the option of working remotely, but since the pandemic took hold, 42% of the labor force is now working full time from home.

A number of WFH perks predate the pandemic, with many offering Wi-Fi services and helping workers set up home offices. Employees also may receive company advice on working safely and ergonomically at home, meeting virtually with team members, and avoiding stress or burnout.

The XYPRO Technology Corporation, a California-based software company, provides its employees with a stipend and monthly reimbursement. They want employees to use these funds to improve their home offices and ensure they have an ergonomic setup.

“Our employee wellness and mental health efforts include virtual yoga and mindful meditation, a virtual psychologist’s presentation on managing through Covid, and benefits information and resources, which [have] been received very well,” Melodie Bond-Hillman, senior manager, HR & Administration at XYPRO, told Workest in an email.


“We have made every effort from the top down to normalize and emphasize the importance of focusing on mental health and wellness, especially during these challenging times.”

SHRM’s report identified other WFH-centered perks, including:

  • Extended vacation balanced with working hours
  • Virtual workout sessions
  • Well-being and performance platforms for managing stress
  • Virtual guest speakers

Miscellaneous perks

Workplaces are offering a range of perks to bolster morale, engagement, teamwork, and a sense of connectedness. These include:

  • Offering gift cards for electronic equipment
  • Providing streaming services
  • Matching employees’ donations to charities
  • Allowing more casual attire at work
  • Conducting more employee surveys for feedback
  • Giving workers a return-to-work option

To help increase engagement, XYPRO offers morning coffee chats and virtual happy hours and trivia events. The company also added a gamification element to its mandatory training program. Virtual team lunches are also delivered to team members’ homes. Bond-Hillman said employees especially appreciate the lunch perk, which has helped bring a sense of normalcy to the workplace.

Perks with staying power

How long the pandemic will continue to endanger the world’s health is a subject of debate among public health experts. But the uncertainty could make alleviating some of the costliest perks risky for some employers. Many companies want to continue keeping employees safe, engaged, and productive.

Labor experts agree that WFH is one of the COVID-driven perks with the greatest staying power. A research study concluded that with 42% of the U.S. labor force currently working from home, versus the 26% of essential service employees performing their jobs at the worksite, the U.S. is officially a WFH economy.

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