With Australia now experiencing a new wave of COVID-19 outbreaks, companies continue to feel the pressure of the pandemic. Unfortunately, this also means that employees may have to keep waiting for their promotions and pay rises due to constrained resources. This, of course, is likely to lead to lower employee morale.
But there are ways for companies to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic. One of the best solutions is to consider expanding your benefits offerings. These additional offerings can support your employees in key areas during this challenging time and also provide some financial relief to make up for the lack of a pay rise. Below, we share four categories of benefits to consider:
Flexible work benefits
According to a study, a flexible work arrangement is one of the ‘must have’ benefits for Australian employees. This is especially prevalent now, as employees are feeling the stress of balancing their work and home lives once again. Here are some flexible work benefits to consider:
- Flexible working hours. The 9 to 5 schedule doesn’t work for all employees – especially those with families and children. Allow your workforce to choose their own hours so they don’t have to stress about being online at a time that’s inconvenient for them. This will not only relieve stress but also demonstrate to employees that you understand and respect their individual needs.
- Work from home options. Whether your employees have recently returned to the office or are still remote, it may be a good time to either extend or offer up work from home options as an alternative to being in the office. As COVID-19 cases escalate again, you want to make sure everyone feels safe while they work.
- Home office setups. If you do have employees working from home, relieve some of the burden by paying for their home office set up. This can include covering the cost of a new desk, chair, monitor, or whatever else they need to work comfortably from home.
Even if you can’t directly provide a pay rise, there are other ways to financially support your employees – while staying within your HR budget. Below are a few ideas of the types of financial benefits you can offer:
- Employee discounts. At Flare, we have an exclusive benefits and discount platform. that provides your employees with discounts from hundreds of leading retailers, including Amazon, Woolworths, and Foot Locker. Giving your workforce access to these types of benefits can ease some of the financial burden they’re feeling right now.
- Novated car leasing. Offering employee benefits like novated car leases and salary packaging can help your employees reduce their taxable income and therefore reduce their income tax. Flare offers novated car leasing to customers as part of employee benefits.
- Real time pay. Imagine if employees could access their pay after each day’s work rather than waiting for the weekly, fortnightly or monthly pay cycle? This could soon be a possibility. Flare will soon be offering real time pay as part of employee benefits so that employees can access their pay for a small fixed fee for when they really need it.
- Equity. If you can’t afford to increase the salary of your employees, consider giving them more equity instead. This is an investment that can pay off many times over in the long run, and it gives workers more stake in your organisation – which, in turn, can boost morale and engagement.
- International payment transfers. You may have employees with family members outside of Australia that they’re providing financial support to during COVID-19. If you want to help them save on expensive transfers, consider offering WorldRemit as a benefit – they offer much more affordable international money transfers. They’re also a partner on our own benefits platform!
Physical and mental health benefits
Your employees are dealing with many stressors right now – from feeling anxiety around their job security to worrying about the health and safety of their family members – which can come with negative physical and mental health side effects. To help them combat these potential problems, you may want to consider the following benefits:
- Wellness budget. If you have the funds to do so, consider giving each employee a wellness budget. They can use this money to invest in self care. For example, they can use this budget to cover the cost of a massage, new running shoes, or an online meditation course – anything that helps improve and maintain their sense of well being.
- Fitness subsidisation. Staying active can go a long way. And the great news is that there are tons of virtual fitness classes these days. So whether it’s an online yoga course or a cycling class, pay for your employees to indulge in their favorite exercise routines – it gives them one less thing to worry about cost wise and encourages them to get moving.
- Healthy snack delivery service. If you want to make healthy eating more accessible for your employees and boost their morale, provide them with delicious snacking options! Companies like Snacks With Bite will deliver healthy snacks directly to your employees’ homes. It’s one less decision they have to make, and it’s something they can share with the rest of their family.
As schools start to close down again due to the new wave of outbreaks, parents are scrambling to figure out how to balance work and family life for the second time. Not receiving the pay rise they were expecting can further exacerbate your employees’ stress levels. To help, here are a few benefits you can offer:
- Childcare support. If your working parents do find themselves back at home with the kids, give them the funds to hire additional childcare support. Maybe they can have a trusted babysitter take care of the kids in the morning, when they’re the busiest with work. Or they can hire an in-home chef to prepare healthy meals for the family if they don’t have time to.
- Fun family activities. It’s challenging for parents to always think of new, stimulating things to do with their children. To help, send your working parents “family care packages” that contain fun activities – such as puzzles, at-home scavenger hunts, or s’mores kits. This is one less thing that your employees have to think about and gives them a reason to spend quality time with their families.
Even though your employees will be disappointed to not receive the pay rise they’ve been waiting for, they’ll appreciate your efforts to compensate them in other ways in the meantime. Take care of your employees’ needs during this challenging time, and you’re likely to see a more engaged and productive workforce.
Want to give your team access to more employee benefits and discounts? Flare Employee Benefits gives your workforce access to an exclusive benefits and discount platform of leading retailers like Woolworths, JB Hi-Fi and Amazon. If you’re looking to implement more employees benefits in your company, reach out to [email protected] to learn more.