49% of employers have new benefits since pandemic

Nearly half of employers (49%) in the UK and Ireland have introduced new workplace benefits since the start of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic in a bid to maintain staff morale and help employees adapt to new hybrid working structures, according to a report by HR specialist Zellis.

The Employee benefits: five things we’ve learned from hybrid working report, which surveyed 400 senior HR professionals from both large and small companies, found that almost half (47%) of HR professionals believe that the increasing prevalence of hybrid working structures has made the personalisation of employee benefits more important.

The most popular additional perks include flexible working hours, introduced by 17% of organisations over the course of the pandemic, childcare vouchers (13%), cycle-to-work schemes (12%) and technology purchases (10%).

The need to support employees’ mental health in remote working conditions also emerged as a key factor, with a third (33%) of respondents saying they have launched initiatives to better support health and mental wellbeing among staff.

Another 37% of employers revealed that they are changing their offering to
create more personalised options for staff, with employee needs becoming more bespoke
as the trend towards working from home continues.

The research also unearthed some differences based on the size of the organisations surveyed, with those having fewer than 500 employees more likely to find improving personalisation of benefits (40%) and wellbeing benefits (35%) important, while larger companies are more focused on supporting remote working (43%).

A major challenge for businesses in the coming months will be determining how to not only introduce new perks to support employees in the short-term but also how to adapt their strategy to address the long-term wellbeing impact of the pandemic, according to the report.

George Dunnett, Zellis chief product officer, said: “It’s great to see that employers are taking the necessary steps to improve their benefits offerings in order to support their employees’ physical and mental wellbeing during the pandemic. It’s clear from the types of benefits being offered that organisations are looking to adapt to the possibility of long-term hybrid working – instead of the traditional holiday buying, gym memberships and leisure benefits, there is now a clear focus on offering benefits to complement home working, active travel and flexible hours.”