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And this is just the beginning. Google Trends shows how more job seekers are looking for remote work than ever before, with a noticeable spike since the COVID pandemic. If you're one of them, make sure to read our guide on how to find a remote job. If you're an employer, we've written a helpful post on how to attract remote employees.
For employees, one of the main benefits of remote working is the unrivaled flexibility it provides, giving employees expanded freedom and autonomy and empowering them to do their best work. Working from a home office also means spending less time commuting and more time with family. This unparalleled work life balance has made an impact: 97.6% of workers would like to work remotely, at least some of the time, for the remainder of their careers.
For people that do enjoy remote work and thrive, it's life changing— CHARLΞS (@CharlesPattson) November 4, 2021
For employers, switching to a remote-friendly model comes with its own benefits, notably, it opens up an infinite talent pool. Instead of hiring locally, remote companies have access to a global remote workforce. This is a huge talent and recruiting advantage.
Not only that, but local employees are likely looking elsewhere as well. GoodHire found that 74% of employees believe companies will lose major talent if they don't offer remote work. Zenefits found that 77% of job seekers now consider flexible work arrangements when evaluating future remote work opportunities and International Workplace Group flagged early on in the pandemic that 80% of U.S. workers would turn down a job that didn’t offer flexible working.
Companies that do not offer remote work are placing themselves at a huge disadvantage for both retaining talent and recruiting new employees. It's a lose-lose scenario.
Offering remote work is not enough
Simply offering remote work for employees isn't enough. This is becoming more apparent as remote work normalized and the market for remote jobs becomes increasingly competitive. Regardless of where employees are working from, they all want benefits afforded to their in-office co-workers.
Offering great perks and benefits such as flexible work hours, childcare benefits, and mental health and wellness budgets not only shows people they're valued and cared for but helps alleviate some of the main challenges that remote workers experience. When done right, this helps improve company culture, job satisfaction, and retention.
Remote companies like Doist have an incredible retention rate of 98.5%, with more than 50% of employees staying with the company for over four years. Similarly, Buffer has a retention rate of 94%, GitLab’s retention is 85%, and Zapier’s is 94%.
I've spent 100 out of 120 months of this decade working at @doist 😍 83.33% of the last 10 years. Looking forward to the next 120 months with this company and team that I love so much.— brennakl (@brennakL) December 31, 2019
What do all of these fully remote companies have in common? They offer best-in-class perks and benefits. Offering great remote employee benefits creates a flywheel effect:
- Current remote workers are happier, more productive, and stay for longer; which
- Further strengthens company culture and builds a strong reputation; which
- Attracts the best and brightest new talent.
Considering it typically takes eight months for a newly hired employee to reach full productivity, going the extra mile to offer great work from home perks to improve employee retention can save thousands of dollars in work hours and lost productivity.
Remote work has changed the way we work and where we work. But it's also changed the vernacular... Like anything new, one of the main challenges of remote work for employers and employers alike is getting accustomed to the new working culture and the different terms and jargon that come with it.
Work life balance perks and benefits
4-day workweeks (32h)
Many remote companies, such as Bolt, Basecamp, and Treehouse, are choosing to put the well-being of their employees first by allowing them to work four days instead of five, giving their teams three days weekends. This is essentially a 32-hour workweek instead of the traditional 40-hours.
While this may sound counter-productive, it's a classic example of Parkinson's Law: when employees work 40 hours a week, they will find ways to fill those 40 hours.
As radical as it seems, this remote benefit is picking up steam and gives employees time to work hard and then time to unwind. Bolt CEO, Ryan Breslow, says the four-day workweek has increased intensity as engaged employees "feel confident going ALL IN on those four days."
Shorter Work Days
One of the main benefits of remote work is that it allows companies and staff to decouple performance from hours worked. Working more hours does not necessarily equal more output. With clear KPIs, remote employees can put this archaic thinking to the wayside and focus instead on productivity.
An effective way to encourage more focused and productive work is to offer shorter workdays. This is a riff on the 4-day workweek and usually involves finishing at 4 pm every day, or "half day" Fridays. For remote teams who divide work progress in terms of sprints, remote workers can be given perks of one short workweek every month if they meet their deadlines.
A common remote employee benefit is a flexible schedule that lets you start and end your day when you want, as long as your work is complete and your KPIs are met. This is hugely beneficial because it allows employees to set their work hours around when they do their best work. Some people work best at night while others work best in the early hours of the morning.
Offering flexible schedules is a great way to give remote workers flexibility and autonomy in their work, which encourages them to take ownership of their role and to use more asynchronous communication channels instead of "wasteful" emails and meetings. Having a flexible schedule is also invaluable when life comes up, such as dropping kids at school or structuring your day around personal commitments.
Just be wary that offering flexible schedules can blur the lines between when to switch off for some employees, with overworking being one of the main challenges. Setting clear boundaries around this is a skill that's essential to remote work for making sure you strike a good work-life balance.
Generous paid vacation
Remote employees can end up working longer hours than office employees, as they don’t need to commute and are less likely to set clear boundaries. 27% of remote employees report not being able to unplug as their biggest challenge.
"Remote workers work a whole extra day every month as compared to those working in-office."
— Nicholas Bloom, Stanford University
A great way to help this (and attract great employees) is to offer generous vacations as a remote work perk. This doesn't need to be extreme — just 1-2 extra weeks per year above the market (usually 3-4 weeks) helps show employees you care about their work-life balance and helps remote workers unwind.
Unlimited time off
Taking this a step further, many companies are choosing to offer the best employee benefits by allowing heart eyes emoji unlimited vacation hours. While this might sound extreme, it's becoming more and more common — employees are encouraged to take as long as they need as long as it doesn’t interfere with their ability to do their work.
Setting clear KPIs and expectations is key to this, but getting this right can make a huge positive impact on employee retention, company culture, and encourage remote employees to find that coveted work-life balance. Over time, mutual respect for coworkers forms, as employees learn to respect the policy and not abuse it.
Most office workers are familiar with some types of leave, notably annual/vacation leave, sick leave, and parental leave. But one of the less common types of leave is sabbatical leave.
A sabbatical is essentially a “break from work” where employees — both office workers and remote workers — can pursue their interests or travel. Many companies offer sabbaticals as an employee perk as a reward for tenure. For example, "Take a 6-week break, fully paid, after every 5 years with us!"
"Research states that sabbaticals give employees space to generate new ideas for the organization, gain confidence, and take up new responsibilities."
Surprise day offs
Nothing says "thank you for your great work" like a surprise day off! Offering surprise days off as a remote work perk is a great morale booster, and helps employees disconnect.
Great practice for this is to time these "surprise" days off after periods of more strenuous or busy work as a reward. This will help remote employees rewind. It's also a good idea to give people a 1-week heads up so they have time to make plans if they want to!
Paid time off on birthday
Birthday leave is a great way to engage remote employees and remind them they're an essential part of the team. Best paired with a care package, small voucher, or gift!
Time off to attend a child’s event
This perk ties in with offering remote employees a flexible schedule. A study from the American Sociological Review shows that flexible remote workers tend to sleep better, feel healthier, and experience less stress. A report from the New York Times on the study showed that these positive effects cascaded down to the children of the employees too who also slept better and reported less stress when their parents had a flexible schedule.
Offering employees the flexibility of time off (or even paid time off) to attend to parental duties such as kid's sporting events or school events can go a long way. It shows remote workers that you truly care about their work-life balance and removes the stress from planning around these events, many of which are late-notice.
According to Buffer's State of Remote Work report, not being able to separate work life and home life when is the biggest challenge remote workers face, especially those used to office work before the coronavirus pandemic. There's no doubt remote work has benefits, but it's not without challenges.
A great way to combat this is to offer remote employee Airbnb vouchers! This serves two purposes:
- It's a great employee benefit to offer to say "thank you"; and
- It forces remote employees to get away from work and "unplug", both physically and mentally.
Home office perks and benefits
Home office budget
A budget to set up or improve their home office workspace can go a long way when attracting remote employees or as a benefit for current employees.
A home office budget can be a one-off stipend or a recurring monthly or annual budget to help remote workers set up their home office to be as productive as possible. This can include buying high-quality ergonomic furniture, plants, a new desk, or noise-canceling headphones. Buildkite offers this employee perk for their 100% remote team:
“Set yourself up with a great work environment, either at home or in a co-working space, with a budget for a desk and chair, and a new computer and phone every 24 months. We’ll also cover the cost of plants, art, or anything else you need to set yourself up with a beautiful and productive work environment.”
General remote work stipends
Similar to home office budgets, remote work stipends are a generous and helpful employee benefit to support distributed teams. These stipends can be one-off or recurring, and help cover "everything else" that helps remote employees do their best work — bills, groceries, professional courses etc.
Remote workers at Webflow get $380 per month for remote work expenses, like a coworking membership, snacks and coffee, or to cover internet bills.
Co-working space budget
For some remote employees, working from a co-working space is a great way to get the social benefits of an office without the distraction of working closely with colleagues. Many remote companies offer co-working stipends for this exact reason.
Gatsby covers the cost of remote employees to work from coworking spaces if they want to:
“Our entire company is distributed, so we take remote work seriously. If you’d rather not work from home, we will cover the cost of a coworking or office space.”
Many hybrid companies allow remote employees to work from the office if they want to, while other remote employees commute to co-working spaces. For remote employees that need to travel, commuter benefits are a great perk to offset the cost and time of commuting.
Sometimes a small change in your surroundings can have a big effect on your mood, just as a small remote work perk can have a big effect on morale! According to US News & World Report, “having office plants created a better work environment.”
Offering remote employees a simple plant subscription or houseplant reimbursement is a great perk to encourage remote employees to create and care for a stress-free home office.
Home internet reimbursement
Remote work depends heavily on fast and reliable Internet for video conferencing, real-time collaboration, and access to SaaS products. Slow or unreliable Internet can make running meetings hard and lead to lower output.
Most areas are covered by multiple providers, each with different tiers of service. An internet reimbursement helps remote employees access the fastest-possible internet so they can do their best work without interruption.
A helpful remote workforce perk is to offer to buy employees lunch! This doesn't have to be every day, perhaps a once-per-week treat to say "thank you" or to encourage employees to disconnect and leave their homes for lunch.
For large companies, in-house catering is common. As the world transitions to more remote structures, it makes sense to transfer these cost savings into personal lunch budgets to keep employees engaged and productive.
Companies like Expensify make it super easy for employees to upload receipts for reimbursement.
Meal home delivery budget
Similar to lunch budgets, takeaway and meal home delivery budgets help alleviate the burden of cooking and help remote employees relax and find time to unwind.
Regular grocery deliveries are a fantastic remote employee benefit and have the added benefit of encouraging employees to eat well and cook at home.
Grocery or fruit box delivery services can be found in most cities and are surprisingly cost-effective — usually cheaper and better quality than shopping at the supermarket. If the logistics are a little tricky to handle for a large distributed team, consider instead offering a grocery budget for reimbursement.
Local café membership or budget
Encourage remote employees to get out of the house and go for a walk to their favorite local café by offering a reimbursement or setting up a tab on their behalf. This is also a good way to give back to the local community by supporting small businesses where remote workers live.
Home cleaning services
When working remotely, often the last thing employees feel like doing is cleaning. A great perk to help remote workers unwind and relax is to offer a home cleaning service subscription or budget.
Book a laundry service
Similarly, a laundry service subscription or reimbursement is a thoughtful way to support busy remote workers. This benefit can be optional, and often remote employees will reserve this service for dry cleaning and laundry that they would have to otherwise take to a dry cleaner. Taking this off their hands is super handy, saves time, and helps restore some work-life balance.
Home office furniture buying assistance
Furnishing a home office is hard, especially when choosing between thousands of ergonomic chairs. Do you need a standing desk? What is the best monitor?
A thoughtful and helpful remote employee benefit is to offer a consultation with an expert to help them set up their home office. This can be optional and ties in well with a home office budget perk.
Complimentary car wash
Another interesting and unique (but super handy!) remote work benefit is to offer a regular complimentary car wash for employees owning a vehicle. This has the added benefit of helping them relax and unwind during their days off instead of doing chores, which increases productivity when they’re back at work!
Professional development and productivity perks and benefits
Tools and technology
Remote work has many benefits for both employers and employees. It removes the need for a physical office, saving on rent, furniture, and office equipment. In return, employees are afforded more freedom, flexibility, and autonomy in their work — all you need for remote work is an internet connection and collaboration tools and software.
Making sure remote employees have access to a fast, high-quality Macbook or computer and a monitor should be a standard remote work benefit for all employees, but this also extends to other tools and collaboration.
Remote collaboration is only possible with modern remote collaboration tools and technology. Investing in high-quality tools, technology, and software for remote employees is one of the best benefits that companies can provide.
This might sound obvious, but skip investing in the best tools you can afford — if it helps improve productivity or employee happiness by just 1%, it’s worth investing in. It's easy to fall back on tools you're used to, but remote collaboration tools like Slack, Loom, Trello, Productboard, Linear, Basecamp, and Zoom are essential to effective remote collaboration. They're not always cheap, but the productivity gains are worth much more.
We recently found that the new 2021 M1 MacBooks cut our Android build times in half.— Jameson (@softwarejameson) November 3, 2021
So for a team of 9, $32k of laptops will actually save $100k in productivity over 2022. The break-even point happens at 3 months.
TL;DR Engineering hours are much more expensive than laptops!
At Himalayas, we use best-in-class software like Linear, Discord, Figma, and 1Password to stay productive. Employers should ask remote employees what tools and technology they need to do their best work and do their best to help.
Membership to online courses
Online learning platforms like Udemy, Coursera, and Treehouse have grown in popularity in recent years and they are a fantastic remote work benefit. Not only does an online learning subscription show employees you care about their professional development, but nurturing a culture of continuous learning also keeps remote workers engaged and productive by helping them upskill. It’s a win-win.
No meeting days
Too many meetings are a common challenge for remote workers, especially when working with colleagues who aren’t familiar with more efficient asynchronous ways of collaborating. 80% of remote workers want "want one day a week without any meetings".
Meetings can bring team members together for collaboration, but it's a fine line — they can also break up people's workdays and make it harder to find flow and deep work.
By introducing no meeting days as a remote work benefit, you’re not only helping remote employees enjoy a day with fewer interruptions but boosting productivity and morale as well by encouraging more asynchronous work.
Contra have a “No Meeting Wednesdays” policy we love.
This one is geared more toward remote software developers. Open source means projects (and usually the underlying code) are made public for anyone to access, leverage, and build upon. This may sound like an unfamiliar employee benefit to the uninitiated, but open source software drives a large portion of the internet and innovation, with more companies are adopting this model.
“Everything you work on will be open source and benefit the Internet as a whole” is a meaningful employee perk. Remote employees working on open source projects feel they are contributing to an online community and their peers through their day-to-day work.
Fully remote companies like rtCamp, Axelerant, and Discourse are 100% open source. Some companies like Automattic (1,700+ remote workers in 90+ countries) take this a step further. In 2014, Automattic CEO and WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg committed to dedicating 5% of company time to WordPress open source projects.
Virtual mentorship program
A common challenge with remote work is employees feeling isolated and lonely that has only been accentuated by the COVID pandemic. Offering the remote work benefit of a virtual mentorship program, either with peers in the industry or even internal org managers/leaders, is a great way to help. It also has the secondary benefit of keeping employees engaged and motivated to improve and grow in their role.
Learning and development budget
Employees no longer need to attend university and tertiary institutions to upskill and get ahead. Pretty much everything can be learned online today, driven largely by YouTube and learning platforms like Udemy, Coursera, and Treehouse, but also by independent professionals publishing their own courses on creator platforms like Podia.
A popular and hugely beneficial remote work benefit is to offer a monthly or annual learning and development budget. This can be used by employees on however they wish to progress their career including online courses, learning subscriptions, seminars, or books. It’s a great way to keep remote workers engaged, upskilling, and to instill a culture of lifelong learning.
Career guidance service
Great managers know when they can and cannot help their employees. A relatively uncommon but hugely beneficial remote work benefit is to offer optional career guidance services. These can be with a company’s internal HR leaders, or with external trained professionals and help employees talk through and tackle problems and plan their progress.
Getting guidance on these things can be daunting for remote workers, so hiring guidance counselors can have a great impact on employee motivation and retention.
Let them work on side projects
Side projects are an underrated way for employees to learn and upskill in their own time, while expanding their creativity and innovation. Nothing can dampen the spirits of remote employees like stopping them from working on passion projects, and it will only harm morale and productivity.
One of the best remote work perks is to let remote employees work on side projects.
ConvertKit actively encourages this:
“Being a fully remote team we’re a highly motivated bunch of people, and many of us are creators ourselves running various side projects in our spare time.”
DockYard offers “DockYard Fridays”, where employees can take every Friday to work on fun internal projects, learn a new skill, or get involved in their diversity group.
Wellness perks and benefits
Workout and fitness classes can be a great employee benefit. Physical activity immediately boosts the brain's dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels—all of which affect focus and attention. It’s a win-win.
Companies like ClassPass make this super easy by partnering with 30,000+ partners in cities all around the world.
Home gym equipment
Knowledge workers tend to live a more sedentary lifestyle than blue-collar workers, no matter where their office is. Working from home it can be even easier to slip into bad habits. A great way to encourage activity is to offer employees reimbursements or a budget for home gym equipment.
Fitbit or Strava subscription
Offering complimentary Fitbit, Strava, or Whoop subscriptions helps remote employees track their exercise and fitness, which in turn helps them be happier and more productive. They’re relatively inexpensive and can also double as a team-building exercise — setting up teams and challenges are a good way to bring remote team members together, while helping them stay healthy and support each other.
Meditation app subscriptions
Meditation apps such as Calm, Headspace, and Waking Up are relatively inexpensive remote employee perks (usually $2 to $20 per month) that can have a huge impact on mental and emotional well-being. Meditation has been around for thousands of years and the benefits are clear.
Yoga classes subscription
One of the great things about yoga is that it can be done remotely as well. Online (or in-person) yoga class subscriptions are a great remote employee benefit. A regular yoga session from home yoga can not only boost your health, but also your mood and productivity, helping you disconnect from the stress of work. They can even be combined into a group class to help remote employees spend time together.
Employee wellness programs
Employee wellness programs come in a wide variety of forms. They can be internal team bonding initiatives, such as exercise challenges or meditation programs, or external such as fitness classes or meditation app subscriptions.
We love this remote employee perk because it’s a “catch-all” and caters to everyone. Some people don’t love yoga, can’t get into meditation, or aren’t interested in fitness classes. A wellness and/or happiness budget solves that — it’s a recurring monthly or annual budget to spend on whatever you like, whether it be a gym membership, massage classes, new running gear, or something in between.
Employee assistance program (EAP)
An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a remote benefit in the form of confidential counseling services to support employee well-being. This doesn’t have to be professional either, but can also help employees struggling in their personal lives. EAPs may also extend to immediate family members and help keep everyone happy and healthy.
Volunteer programs and opportunities are a fantastic way to encourage remote workers to get out, meet new people, and feel good about themselves and the work they’re doing. They can also be aligned with an employee’s passions
Massage therapy coupons
For many remote employees, massage therapy is likely an unfamiliar experience and not something they’d usually spend money on. This is what makes it such a great remote work benefit — it's the perfect way for employees to treat themselves guilt-free, disconnect from work and reduce stress.
Massage therapy can be arranged as a reimbursable budget, or even as one-off perks for key company milestones, performance, or Christmas/birthday surprises.
Smoking cessation program
Quitting smoking is hard, but employers can help support the decision by offering a smoking cessation program as an employee benefit. This incentivizes employees to put their health first and focus on their wellbeing.
Sending employees surprise care packages is a great remote worker perk to boost morale and show that they’re cared for and valued. This can be a recurring gesture or one-off for birthdays, work anniversaries, or important milestones.
Send your team snack-boxes with a message from the boss once every month. It shows that the organization cares for their remote workers, and it reduces their spending on snacks.
Employee engagement and team perks and benefits
Virtual team activities
Regular virtual team activities are a great remote employee benefit to help teams come together and build trust. There are dozens of different examples you can try, but the most popular are:
- Weekly informal catch-ups through Zoom where team members can chat and unwind
- Virtual quizzes and team quizzes
- Remote video game challenges
- Scheduled 1:1s and catch-ups
- Virtual cooking challenges
- Fitness challenges
Besides Zoom, there are a number of tools you can use – for example, Donut helps connect teams serendipitously for regular “virtual” coffees, QuizBreaker schedules fun icebreaker quizzes, and Strava can be used to track fitness challenges.
Just don't make the mistake of forcing people to join these initiatives. Forced interaction does not build employee engagement — some remote workers may be more introverted and would prefer to sit out.
Virtual happy hours
Weekly “happy hours” through Zoom are a great way to encourage team members to bond and get to know each other. Again, don’t make this mandatory, but a sure way to boost attendance is to pair happy hours with a reimbursed takeaway meal or drinks.
Peer-to-peer recognition program
Recognition and acknowledgment from coworkers can do wonders to boost morale and productivity in remote teams. This can be manually facilitated by managers, but there are some great tools out there to help.
HeyTaco! and EngageWith are super simple Slack and Microsoft Teams apps that spread positivity and bring remote teams together through recognition and team rewards. They’re a virtual way to say “well done”!
Many hybrid companies allow remote employees to work from the office if they want to. If your commercial lease allows you to, a great employee perk is to allow a pet-friendly office! Everyone loves a good doggo and a pet-friendly policy encourages remote employees to come into the office occasionally, without having to worry about leaving their loved ones at home.
Onboarding packages (company swag)
Thoughtful onboarding packages with branded company swag are a great way to help new remote employees feel part of the team. They’re good for building company culture and have the added bonus of being shared on social media which helps attract great people!
Virtual book club
Organizing a virtual book club within a company is an effective way to bring remote employees together and share interests. Pair this with an Apple Books, Audible, or book reimbursement perk and it will take off in no time.
Company retreats (also known as staff retreats or work retreats) are team events organized by companies that are usually held over several days and treated like a holiday.
Quite often, company retreats are quarterly or annual events that help bring everyone together, particularly for remote-friendly companies with employees who may not have met each other face-to-face before.
Regular company events
Regular company events are a great remote work benefit to boost morale and for team-building, but they’re also useful for employees and management to strategize, plan, and brainstorm ideas.
These can be regular team get-togethers, lunches or dinners, in-person or virtual, and are a great idea when the company is celebrating a milestone or important metric. Company events don’t have to be professional as well — scheduling events for remote employees is a great way to get them to disconnect from work and decompress.
Work anniversary/Birthday gift vouchers
It’s important to celebrate small wins and to show remote employees they’re valued. A great way to do this is to introduce a birthday and/or work anniversary present. A gift voucher to one of their favorite stores is a sure way to not mess this up, and goes a long way in boosting employee morale. When in doubt, go with an Amazon voucher!
Virtual fitness challenges
Fitness groups and team challenges bring remote team members together while helping them stay healthy. Strava is a great platform for fitness and allows remote teams to create ‘clubs’ for fitness challenges and to encourage each other.
Feature employees in the company blog or newsletter
This remote employee perk is a great way to not only showcase and thank remote employees for the great work they’re doing, but it shows off your great company culture and helps to attract other like-minded people.
A great way to approach this is through a regular “spotlight” section in the company blog or newsletter, where you can share a short profile on a different employee each time, what they’re working on, and what it’s like to work at the company.
Virtual trivia sessions are a popular remote employee engagement tactic and a fun way to weave in interesting facts about the company and even team members. These can be hosted internally via Zoom or through platforms like QuizBreaker, which schedules fun icebreaker quizzes for remote teams.
Insurance perks and benefits
Apart from compensation, which is the first topic of discussion with remote employees, healthcare insurances are the most important benefits an employer can offer. Many other perks are useful and great to have, but nothing beats access to healthcare, and the global workforce knows it.
Health insurance plans can differ for remote teams. For most counties, remote employee health insurance is mandatory and universal. However, for US-based remote workers, the level of healthcare benefits on offer can make or break a job offer. The battle for the best employees will only be harder to win as more and more companies worldwide go 100% remote; it’s important to offer the best healthcare, dental and vision benefits that you can afford.
Life insurance is another popular benefit afforded to full-time employees. It’s a great way to ensure remote workers’ have a safety net for their family and loved ones and can be an important consideration when considering where to work.
Similarly, disability insurance helps show employees you care for them and their loved ones by offering a safety net.
A less common remote employee benefit is pet insurance. This should be voluntary and helps cover remote workers financially if anything goes wrong, which will likely negatively impact their work. Offering this benefit is a great way to show remote employees that they’re valued.
Generous 401(k) and regional retirement plans help remote employees invest in their future. For some countries, like Australia, retirement contributions are mandatory. In the US, an enticing remote employee benefit is to offer 401(k) matching contributions.
Parental perks and benefits
Paid parental leave
Outside of obligations under FMLA (or regional laws), one of the best remote employee benefits companies can offer is generous parental leave. Being a parent can be a full-time job, and remote workers with children need as much support and flexibility as they can get. Offering additional paid parental leave is a great way to attract remote employees and to ensure your team is happy and cared for.
Newborn baby bonus
For new parents, a dedicated newborn baby bonus is a unique and thoughtful remote employee benefit. Not only does it help support them financially, but it sends a strong signal that the organization values family and work-life balance. Don’t underestimate this perk as a recruiting tool as well!
Working parents make up a considerable part of the remote workforce. While finding balance on this front has always been a challenge, it was made even harder when the COVID pandemic closed schools and daycares.
High-quality childcare benefits not only attract great talent but ensure teams can stay as productive as possible.
Adoption assistance is another niche remote employee benefit, but it sends a strong signal for the kind of company culture you’re trying to instill. This can be tied in with fertility benefits as a package or as a standalone policy to support remote employees who wish to adopt.
Benefits for employees needing fertility treatment have come a long way, but there is still room for improvement. While it may not be at the top of the list for most people, offering fertility benefits for remote workers sends an important message of inclusivity and reinforces company values. These are valuable recruiting tools.
Child education stipend
Along with the rising costs of childcare, education costs can be a significant stressor and financial burden for employees.
Offering child education stipends as a remote employee benefit helps alleviate some of this stress, and helps recruit new employees and retain new ones.
While not a common remote employee benefit, confidential marriage counseling is a supportive way to show employees that they’re cared for. Small troubles at home can easily compound and impact employee wellbeing, and offering free counseling as a benefit helps make it accessible and removes any stigma that employees may have around it.
Financial perks and benefits
For the uninitiated, equity benefits refers to non-cash pay that is offered to new employees which can include options, restricted stock, and performance shares. Basically, employees get a “slice” of the business (usually 0.01 to 0.5%) as well as a salary. While this remote employee benefit is more common in startups as a hiring incentive, it’s not uncommon in later-stage companies and for more senior roles.
By offering equity benefits, remote employees will have a real and tangible investment in the company. This instills a sense of ownership and “togetherness” that helps teams strive to succeed and builds a more collaborative company culture. Equity benefits are usually vested over a period of time as part of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), which means they get access to it over time (usually 4 years). This also helps improve employee retention and commitment.
Profit-sharing is a growing remote employee benefit and refers to incentive plans that pay bonuses depending on how well the company does. This is a great perk to promote transparency and team culture: when the team does well everyone does well!
“When Buffer succeeds, we believe everyone on the team should benefit.”
Now that our 8th @ConvertKit team retreat is wrapped up, we often get questions about profit sharing.— Nathan Barry (@nathanbarry) February 22, 2020
By running with a relatively small team for our revenue ($20M ARR & 48 people) we are able to distribute profits in addition to the equity grants.
We're over $1.8M total now! pic.twitter.com/57ZwFbo6Ck
“No matter where you live, we’ll pay you the same salary as someone else in your role.”
Remote employees, much like their in-office counterparts, want to be compensated well and fairly. As remote work becomes the new normal, companies are starting to pay the same salaries as a fair and equitable way to attract the best remote talent, regardless of where they are located. To do otherwise puts companies at a disadvantage when it comes to retention and hiring because you’re competing with companies all over the world.
Some companies, like Stripe, have taken things a step further. They realized the cost benefits of a remote future early and offered to pay employees $20,000 to leave New York City and San Francisco to save on expensive commercial real estate costs. Even prior to COVID in 2019, Stripe was at the forefront of this remote work revolution and announced its fifth engineering hub would be remote to "tap the 99.74% of talented engineers living outside the metro areas of our first four hubs."
Employee referral program
The cost of hiring an employee goes far beyond just paying for their salary. Finding great talent, even remotely, can cost upwards of tens of thousands of dollars, particularly for senior roles. Not only that, but the time cost can be overwhelming and distracts managers from other work!
Introducing an employee referral program helps on a few fronts. It encourages remote employees to seek out the best people in their own networks for open roles, but also saves time and costs for the company. Referred candidates are also usually higher-quality because they’ve been vetted by employees already — more often they’re previous colleagues.
Company credit card
This remote employee benefit is part convenience and part perk. Company credit cards are easy and cheap to allocate to staff, making it much easier for remote employees to pay for any work-related expenses or to spend remote work stipends. It’s a win-win for the finance team as well as it greatly simplifies the expense process!
Performance bonuses are a common remote employee benefit. They’re the perfect way to incentivize great work while at the same time awarding remote employees. These don’t have to be monetary-based as well, many companies get creative with vouchers, days off, or time-in-lieu.
Similar to equity benefits, many companies offer investment programs that incentivize employees to “own” a part of the company through shares. This remote employment benefit is more common with publicly-traded companies and allocates shares to employees at a discounted rate to the market rate.
A great example is Square, which employs thousands of remote employees worldwide. The Square Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP) allows employees to buy Square stock at a lower price, with discounts of 15 percent or more.
A unique and thoughtful remote work benefit is to incentivize employee charitable giving. Companies can partner with programs to motivate employees to participate in charity events or match employee contributions 1:1.
You can get creative with this perk as well! One cool initiative that Zyte has introduced is they make a charitable donation for the time remote applicants spend in interviews or technical trials.
Free legal advice
Legal advice can be daunting and expensive. A hugely beneficial remote employee perk companies can offer is free legal advice on matters troubling employees. This helps remote employees feel part of the team and comfortable if they have any problems they need help with. For larger companies with in-house legal teams, this is even easier to accommodate.
Property buying assistance
Supporting remote employees at different stages of their professional and personal life is great for company culture and recruiting. A simple and helpful employee benefit companies can provide is professional property buying assistance to help them navigate the market and make the best decision when the time comes.
Discounted stays at hotels
Many companies have partnership agreements with hotel chains for discounted rates. Take advantage of this by passing this on as a benefit to remote employees. This encourages them to travel and disconnect from work while saving money at the same time. A great alternative to this is to offer Airbnb vouchers to encourage remote employees to take a break.
Session with a financial advisor
Financial literacy and free professional advice are some of the best benefits companies can offer remote employees. Most adults struggle with managing their finances, navigating taxes, or saving their income. An easy way to help employees get ahead on this front is by offering free one-on-one sessions with a professional financial advisor.
Pet adoption support
Support employees and help them do good by offering pet adoption support. For remote employees, in particular, owning a pet is a great way to lift their mood and morale and get them outside, all while saving a cat or dog.
Miscellaneous perks and benefits
Spotify premium subscription
Beyond providing background noise, music has been shown to improve productivity, cognitive performance, and motivation.
A fantastic remote employee perk is to provide a Spotify subscription. It’s also relatively inexpensive. Pairing this perk with a pair of high-quality headphones helps remote employees stay focused and productive — we recommend the Bose QuietComfort 45.
Pair this remote employee perk with a company book club and it’s perfect for encouraging a culture of continuous learning and reading!
Sport event tickets
Sporting event tickets are a personalized remote employee perk and perfect as a reward or thank you for hard work.
Netflix or Amazon Prime subscription
For distributed remote teams, Netflix or Amazon Prime subscription are an easy-to-manage and inexpensive remote employee perk.
According to Owl Labs and Global Workplace Analytics, remote employees worked an average of 26 hours extra each month during COVID. This equates to almost a whole workday each week. Streaming service subscriptions help signal to employees that it’s okay to unplug.
Socks you ask? It may sound bizarre, but custom branded socks are a fun employee perk and double as a marketing tool — employees and customers love to share novelty socks. Services like Sock Club make it easy to get creative and send customized socks all over the world.
Offering movie ticket vouchers are an incentive for remote employees to relax and detach from work, and a good idea for a non-monetary reward.
Cooking is a lifelong skill that can benefit employees long after they’ve moved on. For remote teams, they’re also a great way to bring teams together by facilitating cooking lessons over Zoom. Cooking can be a relaxing hobby and helps remote employees disconnect, eat better and save money at the same time.
A unique and interesting remote employee benefit is to set them up with a local museum membership. This encourages them to discover new interests and to explore their local scene.
Thank you video
A free and super personalized way to show employees you care is to send them a personalized video at key anniversaries or work milestones. This can be a great team-building perk as well: invite their colleagues to record a short clip and combine them into one video! This doesn’t have to be complicated! Record videos on phones or with webcams and stitch them together with VEED.IO or Canva.
Virtual wall of fame
"Employee of the month" doesn’t have to be corny! Recognizing employees for key milestones and achievements in a sincere way thanks remote employees for the great work they’re doing. It also helps create a better and more inclusive company culture and can be used as a recruiting tool.
Try creating a “spotlight” channel in Slack, a section in the company blog or newsletter, or even a dedicated page on the website!
If remote employees need to travel for work, a great way to offset costs is to offer them Uber credits or set up a business Uber account. Uber credits can also be a great employee benefit or reward for employees, particularly those who live in cities without cars — it incentivizes them to explore nearby suburbs and to explore their city without the hassle of public transport.
What’s more fun than a surprise snack box?
For remote teams, snack boxes are a great way to surprise or reward employees for great work. Managers can make this even more meaningful by including a personalized note. For larger remote teams, the logistics can be an issue — consider using a service like Snack Crate or even replace the box with a voucher for their local supermarket with a “soft” rule that they have to spend it on snacks.
Not only does this gesture show that the company cares for remote employees, but it reduces their grocery bills and gives them an excuse to treat themselves.
Share your perks and benefits on Himalayas to attract the best remote talent
Create free company profiles to show off your brand on sites like Himalayas.
Finding and attracting new employees who live locally is often easier than finding their remote equivalent. Local candidates have probably heard about your company, know one of your employees, or have been to your offices during the interview process.
If you're hiring remotely, you can't rely on any of these things. You need to build a strong digital presence so potential new employees can discover and learn about your company.
Make sure your online presence shows you're trustworthy, clearly articulates your company culture, and helps candidates assess whether or not they'd be a good fit. To achieve this, you'll want to create an attractive and informative careers page that:
You can create a free remote company profile on Himalayas by signing up here. Once you've signed up, you'll be able to tell your company's story to the world and shine a spotlight on your culture, tech stack, and the countries that your team works from. Creating and completing your company profile will leave a lasting impression and get candidates excited to work with you, even before you've met. If you're looking for inspiration, you can browse thousands of remote company profiles here.
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