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Top 5 perks for home-based workers

After long weekends employee morale is usually low in the office, with the morning commuting hassle adding fuel to the fire. It begs the question of why we have to go to the office for work. Admittedly, technology has reshaped the workplace landscape, and many companies are starting to ditch their physical workplaces and allow employees to work remotely. There is a wide spectrum of benefits to it, such as less commuting time, higher productivity, better employee retention, and of course, less money on office rent. While working remotely may not be feasible for all individuals and industries (for instance, Yahoo! has ended its work from home policy in 2013), there is indeed a growing trend of digital nomads across the world.

With this in mind, Pacific Prime is looking at the best employee benefits companies can offer to those who work from home.

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What exactly are home-based workers?

Just to make things clear, by home-based workers we are referring to employees who are working for a company instead of self-employed freelancers. It can be a company that has a physical office but allows staff to stay home for work a few days a week, or a fully functional remote team.

What are the disadvantages of working from home?

Despite the hype surrounding the idea of working from home, there is another side to the coin which makes business managers think twice before hiring remote workers.

Difficulty in communication

It is hard to communicate and collaborate remotely, and too many emails and messages will only lead to an overload of information. However, virtual meetings can be held to resolve communication problems and brief new colleagues. Plus, project management tools like Basecamp can be used to organize projects, create checklists, and assign due dates for clear expectations.

Loss of productivity

Your staff’s productivity may suffer from all sorts of distractions at home (imagine Netflix, virtual reality games, online shopping promotion news, you name it!). However, there are a whole host of methods to boost the productivity of remote teams, such as providing them with a distraction-free, well-equipped work environment and using software tools that aid monitor productivity. With the right guidance and support, home-based workers can be as dedicated as traditional office workers and harness the flexibility given by technology.

Low retention rate

Remote teams may have a lower retention rate than “traditional” full-time employees. Again, this can be due to decreased staff morale as it is hard for companies to maintain team spirit when employees work at different locations. Nonetheless, companies can offer non-monetary benefits to attract top talents, build camaraderie among coworkers, and boost staff morale.

Top 5 perks for home-based workers

To cope with the above-mentioned drawbacks of the work-from-home policy, more companies are adopting different forms of perks to boost morale and tackle communication challenges, including:

Home office stipend

Businesses can save big on rent, furniture, and office supplies from having a remote team. It is a smart move to reinvest some of that saving into a stipend that covers home office needs for your remote workers, including a computer, desk, office chair, monitor, headset, or printer. You can go flexible by offering an annual allowance or simply pay for the one-off purchase.

Workspace reimbursement

Some may find it hard to stay focused at home settings and can be easily distracted by their kids or pets. A secluded, well-equipped work environment is a boon to productivity. Some companies may reimburse you for the membership fee of coworking space.

Ample training and open communications

Being a remote worker should not mean working in a vacuum and feeling isolated. It is important for businesses to provide sufficient training and onboarding support so that they can get familiarized with the job duties and work seamlessly with other teammates. Thanks to advances in communications technology such as Slack and Skype, remote teams can easily connect to other colleagues using chat, calls, and video conference functions. In addition, companies can organize annual meet-ups and gatherings to let colleagues hang out and mingle with each other.

Paid vacation days

Similar to traditional office workers, home-based employees should also be entitled to paid vacation days. Working from home may blur the boundaries between work and home and it is crucial for employees to get away from home once a while to relieve stress.

Health insurance

Last but definitely not least, many big companies are offering their home-based workers health insurance plans. For example, American Express provides its CS representatives with medical, dental, vision, and retirement packages. Century Link even goes the extra mile and offers a wellness program with a gym membership.

Although some companies do offer health insurance to home-based workers, like in many cases, people often find that the coverage of these group plans rather basic and may not be enough to meet their needs. That’s why it is worthwhile considering topping up your employer-sponsored insurance with additional benefits of your choice. Not only is it easily manageable, but it also eases you the financial burden of securing a standalone plan from scratch. For further information about top-up insurance, you can refer to our previous article here.

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Seek advice from a reputable insurance brokerage

With over 19 years of experience and nine offices across the world, Pacific Prime is an established insurance broker that is specialized in employee benefits solutions and international private medical insurance. Our team of experts is on hand to match you with the insurance plan that best matches your needs and budgets. Contact us today for impartial insurance advice, a no-obligation quote, or/and a free plan comparison!

Anthony Chan