The current global pandemic we find ourselves in has shifted so many elements both in our personal and professional lives. Things that we used to just take for granted, may have just disappeared, while things we placed so much value and emphasis on, may have dissolved over night. Business leaders and HR functions are having to redefine the best ways to now engage a dispersed, remote workforce in innovative ways.
Time gone by
In months and years gone by, during the same months as lockdown, a large focus of Xexec's most popular offers were on vacations and holidays both locally and abroad, on days out and entertainment from live concerts to theme parks. Emphasis lay on being out and about, spending time with family and friends in restaurants, exploring and adventuring in and around the UK and overseas, watching the latest releases at the cinema, going to the gym to get summer-ready and so on.
Now with the lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures, things have drastically changed, and so too have alternate employee benefit categories. Organisations are having to provide their employees with a lot more savings and discounts which can be used remotely and at home.
More so than ever before, employers need to show support, care and appreciation for all their teams to ensure a sense of morale continuity, raised productivity levels and commitment. Employee engagement is fundamental with a remote workforce and by identifying their new needs and responding accordingly, this can offer a sense of security and belonging. Below are five of the most popular employee benefits categories which we have identified during lockdown:
1. Home technology
With the vast majority of the working population having to work from home during lockdown as well as when some restrictions were lifted and still today, home technology offers and discounts have soared. As it all happened without much notice, a lot of organisations were not adequately equipped for their entire team to be remote in a fully functioning capacity. Thus, many gave their employees a budget to use in order to purchase home working equipment. Retailers such as Lenovo, Samsung, Dell, Apple, and Virgin Media were very popular. Even when things start to settle, a lot of employees will utilise flexible working hours and the working from home (WFH) option, so the ROI on home technology is justifiable and well accounted for.
How many times did we all hear lockdown is the time to get fit and healthy? Well, accordingly, a surge in fitness and health products have emerrged, with the likes of Fitbit, Adidas and Nike. Many employees have taken upon themselves to use this time to get into shape, be it daily walks, outdoor fitness sessions, healthy eating options or online exercise classes. With the vast majority of employees having extra time on their hands due to the lack of commute to and from work, they have maximized on this time opportunity. More and more vendors in the wellbeing space have jumped onto the wagon to offer healthy savings.
"All dressed up and nowhere to go" accurately sums up lockdown. Despite having to stay in and work from home, many employees still took the opportunity to get dressed up daily as if they were heading to the office. Not only does this have a significant influence on one's mental health - that the days and nights aren't blending into one - but it also has a huge impact on one's productivity and performance levels. Taking the time to get dressed and establish a proper working from home routine may be more beneficial than you think. Many employees need the boundaries and structure while at home, especially to differentiate from working and non-working hours and often getting dressed up is one of the ways. Many retailers offered fantastic sales which enabled increased purchases, despite the worry and risk of reduced disposable income. Some very popular fashion and clothing offers included Boo sales, RayBan and Adidas.
4. Home improvements
As lockdown ensured the majority of the population were housebound, with exceptions of front-line and key workers, many turned their attention to DIY and home projects which have been on the to-do list for months and even years. According to AVIVA, 85% of adults have undertaken home improvement projects during lockdown, from decluttering to gardening and larger projects which need remodeling. 74% of receipts of a research project conducted by Ronseal, said that DIY was good for their wellbeing. With this in mind, there's been a massive fluctuation in e-vouchers purchased for the likes of B&Q, IKEA and ScrewFix, as well as home offers from retailers including Indesit.
Lockdown has presented an interesting period for many, with both the UK and globe being put on hold (so to speak) and businesses and employees being hit hard with redundancies, uncertainties and furlough. Approximately 9.6 million jobs from 1.2 million employers were furloughed in the UK, according to Statista. With this situation at hand, people have had to pick themselves up in order to prevent depression and mental health and have started taking on many new hobbies and activities which they can do from the comfort of their homes. Many popular offers have included The Economist, online Fitness classes and online courses. Many have had to re-create what they do with their time and have been successful in doing so.
Xexec is a leading Employee Benefits specialist. We understand the challenges and uncertainties which all businesses and their employees are facing at the moment. If you'd like more tailored advise, please speak to one of our Specialists.