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The transition to remote work hasn’t been easy. Yet, there is no denying the positive effect remote working has had on increased productivity, employee well-being, and access to global talent.
With over a quarter of the global workforce expected to continue working remotely into 2021, it is time for companies to reevaluate the benefits and perks they offer for their remote employees.
There is a grey area, however, for what benefits and perks remote workers are entitled to. It becomes even more difficult to determine if this is a company’s first time working with a remote team.
As with any employee benefits package, what you decide to include will have long-lasting impacts on your employee’s health, happiness, and output. Plus, it plays a huge role in your recruiting efforts and employee retention.
What are you considering giving back to your remote employees after all the progress of last year?
We conducted thorough research on 100 companies with a remote workforce, and analyzed their employee benefits.
We made sure to include both large companies like Gitlab and smaller ones like Remote Year and Sticker Mule to have a diverse sample size.
Below you’ll find the five most relevant and beneficial insights we found from our research. We were surprised by the results.
Most of the companies we surveyed, especially the larger and more profitable ones, did not provide any remote workplace for their remote team members. Of the 100 companies, only 38% provided home office equipment.
From that 38%, the majority only offered a laptop and the necessary hardware/software to perform the job.
We expect this to change. Just look at states like California, and countries like Mexico, Spain, and Germany. Their governments are either requiring employers to cover home office expenses in their contracts or providing a tax rebate.
Beyond the laws changing, using non-ergonomic office equipment for extended periods of time can lead to severe health complications for an employee.
In a recent study among remote Italian workers, 50% reported more significant neck pain, and 38% increased lower-back pain while working remotely.
This discomfort and loss of productivity could easily have been prevented if they were sent an ergonomic workstation or stipend during the remote onboarding process.
Without the internet, remote work isn’t possible. Because it’s so important, it was surprising to find that it was one of the rarest benefits among remote companies. 12% of companies offered wifi or internet stipends as a benefit.
Like our stance on furniture, we think this is a benefit that will become more common in the future. Spain and Mexico have included in their remote work legislation that internet stipends for remote employees are a legal right.
Beyond the legal reason, a stable and reliable internet connection is a crucial part of your company functioning properly. Remote employee's expenses are already on average higher than the average office worker.
This can create an unequal balance between the two parties. Covering the costs of internet and electricity are a good way to offset this development.
Healthcare (especially if you have remote workers in the U.S) is one of the most important benefits you can provide. However, only 62% of companies with remote workers provided at least basic health insurance to their workers.
Of that 62%, close to 50% also included dental and eye care in their healthcare plans.
Based on this statistic, the majority of remote companies do provide health insurance and we believe the data could have been skewed to account for companies with distributed teams and international employees.
As remote work continues to become the de facto working method for the majority of the world’s population, some form of health insurance will be an option for most remote employees.
We still would like to see these stats improve in next year's study because many workers do depend on their employer for health insurance.
It is also an attractive benefit to offer health insurance if you want to compete with other remote companies in search of great global talent.
Travel expenses were not very common among remote companies. Just 4% of remote businesses offered some kind of travel or public transport reimbursement for their employees.
A corporate retreat was the most common travel benefit for companies. Almost a third of companies (32%) paid for a company gathering and employees tickets to get there.
It’s pretty easy to tell why this benefit is so popular. Remote teams rarely get to see each other in person and build a lasting relationship with their colleagues.
Healthy relationships lead to better communication throughout the company and fewer discrepancies on things like projects and deliverables.
Once the lockdowns end in most parts of the world we expect to see this metric increase as well.
Time off was even more common than healthcare in terms of remote worker perks. 72% of the remote companies surveyed offered their teleworkers some kind of paid leave or time off.
Of those who offered time off, half also gave their workers sick days and holidays like Christmas and new years off.
The average yearly time-off was about two weeks. Time off gives workers time to rest and recuperate from the stresses and strains of their professional lives. It’s important for your company to at least offer the average.
Since most companies already offer it your remote staff will definitely expect it.
We recommend going above the majority. Our recommended time-off package would be three weeks vacation, one week sick leave, and 9 - 12 months of parental leave.
This will give you employees the time they need to relax and focus on their personal lives. When they return to work they’ll be more efficient and less stressed.
Overall, following what the majority of other companies are doing will help you support your remote staff in the most effective way possible.
In most cases, taking a step further than the majority could give you a competitive advantage and even help prepare you for the future.
If these insights intrigued you and you want to learn more about our survey then you can download the full white paper here.
Want to learn how GroWrk Remote can help you take care of your remote team with ease?