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How business leaders can adapt or replace Covid related perks to the post-pandemic world while keeping employees on-side


By Danni Rush, Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Incentives and Virgin Experience Days and Virgin Experience Gifts

Many people are getting back into the groove of their normal, post-pandemic life. Gone are the days of mandatory working from home and zoom quizzes.

With the world starting to resemble its pre-pandemic self, the world of work is also starting to revert to its old ways. Many are now returning to the office on a fulltime basis and face-to-face meetings are resuming.

With the working world back to some sense of normality, it would be easy for business leaders to abandon all the new, workplace benefits they introduced over the last two years. Instead, business leaders should consider adapting and replacing these perks in order to keep employees motivated and engaged in their current role. If not, they could fall victim to the ‘Great Resignation’ and risk losing their top talent.

The importance of work perks during the pandemic 

During the pandemic, 43 per cent of business leaders added new perks to their benefits packages. Some rewarded employees with flexi-working hours, while others found creative ways to engage its remote workforce, such as investment bank Jefferies which offered its employees Pelotons to help them look after their health while working from home. These were all used as tools to keep employees motivated at the height of the global pandemic.

Alongside keeping employees engaged at work, updating overall business benefits also helped companies differentiate themselves from each other. With a majority of employees working from home, there were no city centre offices, snack stations and Friday drinks to differentiate between different companies – just the actual work each employee was doing. 

Offering perks such as flexi-hours, wellness days and access to mental health support and resources helped companies stand out and gave their employees a reason to continue working with their current employer, over another company.

Work perks in today’s world of work

Many companies went above and beyond to help their employees during the Covid-19 pandemic. While some of the benefits that were introduced during Covid played a huge part in helping people through it, these same benefits might not be relevant in today’s world of work.

One being fully remote working. Adapting a business’s remote working policy is key to ensuring everyone is in a position to learn and grow in their careers in the post-pandemic world, while also offering a more flexible working arrangement that works for more employees and working parents. The key lies in balancing the response to remote working by tailoring it to suit the needs of the individuals as well as the needs of the team and business clients.

Furthermore, the emerging cost of living crisis, where around nine in 10 (87%) adults reported an increase in their cost of living over the previous month in March 2022, is also likely to impact the wellbeing of many employees. Employers should look to modify the mental health initiatives that were introduced to tackle pandemic related stress/isolation, to support with employees’ financial wellbeing and worries. For example, offering access to a financial advisor or a 247 employee assistance programme.

Alternatively, some business leaders may choose to abolish some benefits altogether. Business leaders that wish to explore this option should think twice and look to replace old work perks with new ones – ones that might be more useful in the post-lockdown world. For example, halting the daily office snack deliveries, as hybrid working means not everyone’s in the office five days a week, and instead introducing a once-a-month team bonding activity such as a new group experience. 

Communicating work perk updates

Once these changes have been made, they then need to be communicated to employees sensitively. It’s crucial that business leaders adopt a fully transparent approach. This means they explain why they’re replacing or adapting an existing work perk. Furthermore, business leaders should explain how the new perks fit within the current company culture and how they will benefit various teams. 

The key point is that although work perks need adapting, they should not be removed or forgotten, especially amid ‘The Great Resignation’. Work perks are an easy and accessible tool businesses can implement and adapt, to motivate and engage current employees and can also be used to attract new ones.

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