We went through a tough year last year, with the Australian bushfires, BLM protests, Brexit and the bloody pandemic. On top of all that, most of the year was spent in lockdown. Some businesses had to close their doors for a period of time and most offices switched over to working remotely. The novelty of working from home has since worn off and now everyone’s just sick and tired of the whole situation. As we enter 2021 and our third national lockdown, I think it’s important that companies start thinking about employee benefits to keep their employees’ morale up and to keep them engaged and motivated whilst working in this post-apocalyptic type world.
With a lot of the workforce now working from home, companies are having to think of alternative work perks that they can offer their staff as extravagant Christmas parties or team bonding events just can’t happen at the moment. The pandemic has meant that lots of companies are starting to think about their employees’ mental and physical health more. Heineken, has added a new workplace saving initiative to its 2021 benefits package. The brewing company understands how the pandemic has led to worries of financial insecurity, which can also lead to bad mental health and affect performance in the workplace. The new scheme automatically deducts an agreed amount from their staff’s salary and puts it into an individual savings account. This is a brilliant example of a company adapting its work perks to fit with the times. Offering perks like this will show staff that you care about them and their financial wellbeing.
At Pimlico Plumbers, we’re also recognising the current financial hardships and using cash rewards in a different way. As with many key workers, working from home is not an option for plumbers who still need to go into the workplace and do home visits. It can be tough knowing others are working at home, although for me working from the office is always better! Nevertheless, motivating staff to come into work in the current circumstances can be difficult. But that’s where employers and HR departments can play their part and offer alternative incentives and rewards. For example, we are offering all our employees a £20 per day bonus and a free lunch and parking for those who come to work.
Although I think it’s good when companies move with the times, I hope that sometime in the near future companies are able to go back to offering classic types of work perks. Pre-pandemic companies would boast about all the different work perks that they offer their employees. I know that big corporations offer work perks such as annual ski trips and overly generous travel discounts. At Pimlico, I would always throw a massive Christmas bash for my staff, the bigger the better in my eyes. We also have an onsite gym and canteen which are free to all employees. Perks like these help my staff engage with the company culture, which leads to a happy and healthy workforce.
What now baffles me is how some companies, such as Twitter, have announced that it will let its employees work from home forever. As much as I believe companies should be able to do what they want, how can you build a company culture when all your employees are working from home! That’s why we’re incorporating a ‘no jab, no job’ policy to our employment contracts to ensure staff can continue to come into work safely whatever the circumstances and can continue to provide a COVID-secure service to our clients. It might seem controversial now but soon it’ll be a non-issue as the vast proportion of the population will of course be vaccinated very soon.
Ultimately though, beyond the vaccine and this pandemic, I think the key to keeping staff motivated at work is to offer them more than just a job, but a culture to be a part of. I want companies to see working from home as a temporary arrangement and to start thinking of ways and new workplace benefits that they can offer their workforce, to get them back into the office and get our cities and businesses working again!