Employee Benefits

5 Tips for Supporting Hybrid and Remote Employees

Happy woman smiling and looking at a laptop.

As businesses plan for the future, many are adopting hybrid work arrangements, giving workers a mix of in-office and remote workdays. A hybrid or fully remote job is attractive to today’s employees, plus it attracts new talent. Keeping and recruiting top employees is a primary concern for American companies. They struggle to compete for workers as many leave jobs during the Great Resignation.

An effective strategy to keep and find great workers is to offer a competitive salary and meaningful work. But employees also are looking for benefits packages with plans and perks they value and meaningful experiences. Often, the benefits package influences whether employees accept a new job or stay with their current employer. Review these five tips for supporting hybrid and remote employees.

  1. Offer the right benefits

    Employees value employer benefits. They especially appreciate the security of health coverage to take care of their well-being. They expect medical coverage along with dental and vision insurance that pays for annual exams.

    As employers adopt hybrid work schedules, employees who have worked from remote locations also want benefits that support their financial, mental and physical well-being. That’s why most employers plan to increase their employees’ benefits and perks. These include virtual health and wellness programs, telehealth, mental well-being, student loan repayment assistance, stress management, budget planning, retirement savings or other savings options, caregiver support and generous paid time off.

    As inflation increases, employers are looking for ways to keep health insurance premiums affordable. Many companies are offering health insurance with affordable basic care options. They are also increasing voluntary plan options so employees can create a benefits package that meets their needs.

    During the pandemic, many employees put off scheduling dental and vision checkups. But now, they’re noticing changes in their dental and vision health and trying to get caught up. During these preventive exams, the doctor also may detect signs of other medical conditions. Spotting these health changes early is another reason regular dental and vision care is essential.

    Tip: The best way to keep dental and vision costs low is for employees to take care of their teeth and protect their vision daily. And, schedule their yearly dental and vision exams.

  1. Prioritize flexibility

    Flexibility is the key to successful hybrid work. Designing the right work setup can build strong teams. Employees are empowered to work together to complete projects, enhancing team success and productivity.

    In anticipation of employees’ return to the office, employers recognize the need to change the work environment. Some businesses have redecorated offices with new colors and desk arrangements to make workspaces more exciting and purposeful. Some also are eliminating the office headquarters. Instead, they’re setting up hybrid office spaces in different locations where employees reserve time to use an office or team workspace.

    Since many employees have worked remotely, they’re used to flexible schedules so they can juggle multiple work and family responsibilities. As employers ask associates to adapt to a hybrid work situation, they need to continue to support workers’ flexibility needs. Business experts recommend setting guidelines to ensure all employees are treated equally, whether in hybrid or remote offices. Whenever possible, give employees flexible schedules to determine their work hours. It’s one of the best perks companies can provide employees to encourage a healthy work-life balance.

    Another essential benefit for employees is to help them with resources for their remote workspaces. Provide quality laptops, software, backpacks and tools to ease work frustrations. As employees transition between offices, they will need the tools and equipment for a seamless process. Some employees may not have a set place to work in the office, so make sure they know the process for reserving a spot.

  1. Provide new work expectations and experiences

    The pandemic caused businesses to reset work goals and priorities. These days, most employers find it challenging to connect with their scattered workforce.

    Ask employees for feedback on work-style preferences, concerns about work-life integration, dependent needs and other issues. Listen to their feedback and look for ways to support employee well-being. These may include offering new work experiences and re-setting schedules and expectations.

  1. Discuss opportunities for cross-training and upskilling

    Many employees yearn for new learning experiences. They have worked remotely for months (maybe years) and are frustrated by the lack of career growth opportunities. Most workers say they feel stuck.

    Offering cross-training and upskilling learning experiences can help keep employees connected to their jobs and teammates. Set up pulse surveys to find out topics of interest to employees. Then develop paths for training, internal growth and mobility. Research shows that 80% of American employees want professional development and training opportunities, and it’s a big factor in whether they stay at a company or look for another job.

    New work experiences and opportunities enhance employee training and learning, and break down department and job silos. A few ideas include mentorship programs, stretch projects and job shadowing.

  1. Communicate with transparency

    In times of uncertainty, employees can become stressed about unexpected disruptions in their work and personal lives. Employers can help workers cope by being transparent and explaining how changes affect business operations and employee projects. Encourage employees to ask questions. Respond quickly, even if you don’t have all the answers.

    Be proactive in offering information as situations change and decisions are made. Explain decisions, product changes and sales goals. Also, make sure to communicate changes in customer needs and share feedback on products and services.

    Being upfront helps calm employees and reassures them that their employer cares. As a result, workers will feel more connected to their jobs and be less likely to jump ship for a better employment experience.

Many employees are struggling to adapt to the hybrid work model. Here’s how employers can help employees adjust to the post-pandemic world.

Sources:
Society for Human Resource Management
World Economic Forum
The Wall Street Journal
McKinsey & Company
Yahoo! Finance
Inc.