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Businesses Should Rethink Employment Benefits Post-Pandemic

The new norm may just be the norm as employees increasingly say they have no interest in returning to the office full-time. Businesses must adapt to these changes.

In the UK, many companies seem to be recognising this shift and adapting. Almost 50 of the UK's biggest employers said they would adopt flexible, hybrid and remote working practices in place. 

It is undeniable that Covid has transformed our ways of working, but as normality slowly returns as restrictions lifts, it seems the employment landscape has shifted irrevocably.

Scott Dussault, CFO at Workhuman recognises this shift and states:

"Post-pandemic there's no question that the working-from-home genie isn't going back into the bottle... remote work may no longer be viewed as a perk, companies may adjust employee benefits accordingly, swapping traditional benefits like on-site childcare, gyms and lunches for in-kind stipends and off-site alternatives."

Research into employee sentiment is similar, with 97% of employees surveyed stating they don't want to return to the office full-time. 61% of those stated they prefer working in a fully remote environment.

For benefits beyond this, many HR and finance departments are looking for creative ways to transfer traditional perks into the future.

Multifaceted wellness is an increasingly important perk. By this we refer to not just physical wellness, but emotional and mental wellness, as well as financial wellness. Research suggests employees don't want this benefit just for themselves, but also for their loved ones.

Research also suggests company culture is becoming an increasingly important factor, particularly for Gen Z and millennials. More than traditional monetary perks, employees surveyed stated they wanted trustworthy leaders, for their leaders to trust them, human connection, diversity, equity and belonging.

Of course, there are some industries where flexible working practices cannot be the new norm, such as hospitality. These industries have been hit the hardest by the pandemic and in the UK now face yet another uphill battle as they face a staffing crisis. Job vacancies in the industry are at their highest levels since records began and one in five workers have left the sector.

A major contributor to this staffing problem is the status quo of company culture in the hospitality industry - that is low wages and long, unsociable working hours, alongside a high rate of zero hour contracts.

For this industry in particular, the challenges are vast. Wages must increase and a pay progression scale must be implemented, but more pressingly a work-life balance must be restored to begin attracting potential employees back.