The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically accelerated the growth of remote work, with many employees shifting to working from home full-time. While some companies are starting to bring workers back on-site, remote and hybrid arrangements are here to stay—recent surveys show that over half of full-time employees would consider leaving their jobs if they couldn’t work remotely at least part of the time.

As more organizations embrace distributed teams, it’s becoming increasingly clear that traditional employee benefits packages must be re-evaluated for the remote work era. When employees are away from an office daily, their needs and priorities shift. Companies that want to attract and retain top remote talent must understand these changing needs and offer benefits explicitly tailored for remote staff.

This comprehensive guide will explore the best employee benefits for remote work in 2024 and beyond. Read on to learn about the wellness, lifestyle, financial, and other incentives that comprise compelling and progressive remote work benefits packages.

Elevate Your Team's Morale: Discover the Remote Work Benefits that Boost Employee Well-being and Productivity IDC
Elevate Your Team’s Morale: Discover the Remote Work Benefits that Boost Employee Well-being and Productivity.

Health Insurance Options for Remote Employees

Providing quality health insurance will always be a top priority for employees. However, the traditional company group health plan may need to be clarified with remote staff. Here are some of the best ways to offer health insurance to remote teams:

Individual Health Insurance Plans

Learn more: Small Business Employee Benefits Planning for a Changing Workforce in 2024

Getting everyone on one group plan can be challenging with employees across different states or countries. Reimbursing individuals to purchase their health insurance plans gives remote workers flexibility. Companies can set a monthly or annual subsidy amount for employees to use towards premiums for individual/family plans purchased on public exchanges or through health insurance providers.

Small Business Group Health Plans

For smaller distributed teams in the same geographic area, setting up a traditional group health plan through the company can still be a good option. Small business health plans for under 50 employees typically offer more price stability than individual plans. Employers can also negotiate group discounts and customize coverage options.

Health Insurance Stipends

If providing group or individual health insurance isn’t feasible, companies can still support remote employees’ coverage by offering tax-free monthly stipends. These stipends can be applied towards premiums for health insurance purchased independently. Stipends give remote staff added flexibility and are simpler to manage than group plans.

Telemedicine Benefits

Making it fast and convenient for remote employees to consult healthcare providers virtually is hugely valuable. Companies can provide access to on-demand telehealth platforms that allow remote workers to message/video chat with Licensed doctors 24/7 for non-emergency issues. Top providers like Teladoc offer access to general practitioners and mental health support. This benefit cuts down on time away from work for medical visits. In 2022, 46% of companies already offer telemedicine benefits.

Remote work health and wellness benefits

Innovative Work Culture: Explore the Remote Work Benefits that Redefine Employee Satisfaction and Work-life Balance IDC
Innovative Work Culture: Explore the Remote Work Benefits that Redefine Employee Satisfaction and Work-life Balance.

Along with medical insurance, providing programs and perks that support employees’ overall well-being is critical for distributed teams. Remote work has unique health and wellness challenges, from lack of social interaction to long sedentary hours. Here are some engaging wellness benefits to provide:

Mental Health Support Resources

Remote employees have faced heightened stress and anxiety over the past few years. Offering access to mental health services like counselling, therapy, support groups, and apps ensures your remote team has support channels. Providing stipends for these resources is ideal.

Virtual Exercise & Fitness Classes

Sitting at a desk all day can affect remote employees’ physical health. Providing stipends and subsidized access to virtual workout classes incentivizes remote staff to exercise and stay active. Popular platforms like ClassPass offer a wide variety of virtual class options.

Healthy Eating & Meal Delivery Subsidies

It’s easy for remote employees to rely on unhealthy, convenient snacks and takeout while working from home. Consider subsidizing meal delivery kits and prepared meals to help remote staff eat nutritious foods. You can also provide healthy snack care packages or gift cards for grocery delivery services.

Ergonomic Equipment Stipends

Allowances to purchase ergonomic office equipment and furniture make it easier for remote employees to create comfortable and injury-free work-from-home setups. Common requests include ergonomic chairs, adjustable desks, computer monitors, keyboard trays, and laptop stands. Set annual stipend amounts to cover some or all these costs.

Worksite Wellness Programs

Consider using digital platforms that allow remote employees to participate in worksite wellness challenges. Apps like Virgin Pulse and Limeade let distributed teams track healthy habits like exercise, nutrition, and sleep. Wellness competitions and team challenges boost engagement. Allowing remote staff to earn monetary rewards for participation provides added motivation.

Flexible Work Arrangements Benefits

Learn more: Key Features and Characteristics of Flexible Benefits Plans

Offering flexibility and autonomy over when and where remote employees work is highly valued. Building flexibility into roles, schedules, and environments is critical for retaining distributed teams long-term.

Flexible Work Schedules

Allowing remote employees to set their own start and end times (within reason) gives them the freedom to work when they’re most productive. You can establish a set of “core hours” for required meetings and collaboration. Outside of those, remote staff can determine their schedules.

Part-Time & Job Sharing Remote Work Options

Enabling employees to work remotely part-time gives them flexibility to balance work and personal life. Job-sharing roles with part-time schedules are another creative way to build flexibility between two remote employees. Part-time and job-sharing options are especially helpful for remote workers with caregiving responsibilities.

Extended Leave & Sabbatical Policies

Extended paid leaves and sabbaticals (3-6 months) allow remote employees to disconnect and recharge completely. While remote workers don’t need to commute, they can still experience burnout. Providing occasional extended leaves gives high performers the incentive to commit long-term. Employees return refreshed and refocused.

Financial & Lifestyle Benefits

Strategic Employee Care: Ensure Success in Remote Work with the Ultimate Benefits Package for Your Team IDC
Strategic Employee Care: Ensure Success in Remote Work with the Ultimate Benefits Package for Your Team

Remote employees have unique financial costs and lifestyle needs compared to on-site staff. Benefits that simplify taxes, reduce expenses, and support work-life balance are critical for high remote worker satisfaction.

Remote Work Expense Reimbursement

Setting clear policies for reimbursing costs like home office supplies, ergonomic furniture, internet/cell service, and co-working space memberships takes the financial stress off individual employees. Companies can set monthly or annual maximum reimbursement amounts. An expense policy for remote workers helps them understand what the company will cover.

Professional Development & Learning Stipends

Offering stipends for remote employees’ continued learning and upskilling helps them stay challenged and engaged. Stipends can be used for courses, workshops, conferences, software, etc. Another good perk is allowing remote workers to expense books related to their role. Educational stipends lead to greater career satisfaction.

Co-working Space Subsidies

Some remote employees thrive working in shared co-working spaces rather than alone at home all the time. Consider subsidizing co-working memberships to provide this option. The flexibility to work from a professional office environment some days can help reduce isolation and exhaustion.

Remote Team Travel Opportunities

Organizing periodic team trips and meetups for remote staff to get together in person is invaluable for company culture and socialization. These could be weekly team lunches, quarterly getaways, or annual retreats. Paid travel opportunities bring remote employees together to bond and brainstorm in new environments. Budgets allowing getaways to inspiring locations are hugely motivating.

Paid Volunteer Time Off

Giving remote employees a set number of paid days or hours off annually to volunteer for causes they care about enhances loyalty and satisfaction. Compared to PTO, it is less prone to burnout than vacation days since employees are helping communities. With geographic spread, volunteering also helps remote workers connect to their local regions.

Pet-Friendly Policies

Explicitly stating in employee policies that remote staff can work alongside pets removes a significant barrier to productivity and happiness at home. Allowing remote employees paid days off for pet needs like medical care also provides peace of mind that their pets are supported. These remote work perks and incentives make companies stand out.

Performance Incentives & Rewards

Creatively recognizing and rewarding remote employees for great work is vital for engagement and motivation. Since remote managers can’t hand out praise in person, creating channels for recognition is essential.

Remote Worker Recognition Programs

Digital reward platforms like Bonusly facilitate peer recognition and manager rewards even for distributed teams. Allowing remote employees to praise each other’s contributions and nominate peers for bonuses builds community and camaraderie. Managers can also surprise top remote performers with gifts and praise.

Innovative remote work reward programs

Tools like Lattice enable peer bonuses, allowing remote employees to send small monetary rewards to colleagues for great work. Employees earn a set budget to distribute rewards, facilitating more peer recognition. The autonomy of rewarding peers remotely drives engagement.

Unique Experience Rewards

Instead of just cash bonuses, consider giving remote employees carefully chosen gift cards for excellent experiences as rewards. Remote workers will be excited to earn gift cards for restaurants, hotels, online classes, concerts, subscription services, and unique life experiences. Experience rewards combat isolation.

Spot Bonuses for Top Performers

Help remote employees feel genuinely valued by giving top remote performers and major team contributors unexpected bonuses when they achieve milestones and crush goals. Spot bonuses given without warning feel more meaningful than expected quarterly bonuses alone. They also motivate other employees.

Additional Perks for Remote Workers

"Beyond the Office Walls: Unveiling Essential Remote Work Perks to Attract and Retain Top Talent IDC
“Beyond the Office Walls: Unveiling Essential Remote Work Perks to Attract and Retain Top Talent

Home Office Tech & Equipment

Providing stipends or company-purchased devices like laptops, monitors, printers, webcams, headsets, and other critical tech makes it easier for remote employees to be productive at home. Ergonomic equipment like standing desks, online ergo assessments, and home office furniture allowances also demonstrate investment in remote workers’ well-being.

Remote Team Community Building Activities

Remember bonding experiences that bring your distributed team together virtually for socialization and fun. Ideas include online cooking classes, escape rooms, paint nights, photo contests, virtual talent shows, game events, and more. Sending care packages or fun team swag ahead of the events enhances the excitement.

Annual Retreats for Distributed Teams

Hybrid and fully remote teams highly value multi-day annual on-site retreats for in-person collaboration and culture building. Offsite getaways to inspiring destinations allow bonding time for remote employees who rarely see each other face-to-face. Retreats drive strategic thinking, social connections, and a shared sense of purpose.

Care Packages & Corporate Gifts

Periodically sending wellness care packages or fun gift boxes demonstrates corporate appreciation for remote staff. Care packages could include healthy snacks, branded water bottles/tumblers, self-care items, gift cards, or tech accessories. Corporate holiday gifts like custom notebooks, apparel, and office essentials also delight remote employees.

Developing a Remote Work Benefits Plan

The benefits above provide a template of perks and programs to consider when optimizing your remote work benefits strategy. But how do you put together the right plan for your distributed team? Here are some tips on structuring a benefits package tailored for remote employees:

Conduct Employee Needs Assessments

Survey your remote employees for direct input on their highest priority benefits and preferred perks. Needs assessment polls help identify benefits gaps based on what remote workers value most. Assessments can be done when rolling out new remote policies or optimizing existing plans.

Weigh Different Benefit Options & Costs

Research pricing and implementation costs for new benefits you are considering. Analyze the ROI by comparing costs to engagement and retention benefits. Remember to promote employee contributions and copays to share costs. Offering benefits virtually is also more affordable.

Get Leadership Buy-In for Benefits Spend

Present data on how optimized remote work benefits will improve culture, recruitment, and employee retention to obtain leadership buy-in—frame benefits as an investment in the remote workforce. If the budget is limited, consider phasing in bigger-ticket offerings like retreats.

Communicate Benefits to the Distributed Team

Don’t just email benefit policies to remote employees—schedule virtual meetings to explain plans and answer questions. Create one-pagers, infographics and quick reference tools on new benefits for easy visibility. Record short video overviews that remote workers can reference on demand.

Evaluate & Optimize Remote Work Benefits Over Time

Check-in frequently with employees on benefits satisfaction, participation rates, and evolving needs. Adjust perks and policies based on feedback. Regular surveys help spot new needs. Ensure benefits align with corporate values and culture as your business scales.

Paving the Path Forward with Remote Work Benefits

Leading companies investing in long-term remote work know that re-evaluating their employee benefits for remote workers is crucial—traditional benefits packages no longer meet most remote employees’ needs and priorities in 2024.

IDC Insurance Direct Canada - a trustworthy agency for employee benefits 2024
IDC Insurance Direct Canada – a trustworthy agency for employee benefits

By focusing benefits spent on healthcare access, wellness incentives, professional growth, collaboration opportunities, unique rewards, and work-life balance support, companies can provide “best-in-class” remote work benefits. These perks boost employee satisfaction day to day and demonstrate that the company truly values remote and hybrid staff, cares about their well-being, and wants to invest in their long-term success.

In the war for top remote talent, employers need to get creative with the benefits and perks they provide. Gone are the days when medical insurance and 401k matching alone sufficed. As competition for skilled hybrid and virtual employees intensifies, companies must revamp their benefits for the remote work era to avoid losing out on the best talent. There are too many options for employees if their needs aren’t met.

While designing and optimizing remote work benefits plans for distributed teams can be challenging, the long-term payoffs make it one of the most worthwhile investments companies can make in the remote workforce. Taking the time to research and provide the lifestyle, financial, performance, and wellness perks remote employees want results in much higher engagement, satisfaction, and retention over time.

The remote work trend is only accelerating—forward-looking companies are getting ahead by taking a fresh approach to remote work benefits right now. Use the ideas and recommendations in this guide as inspiration to start evaluating an upgraded remote work benefits strategy tailored for the new virtual workplace. When your remote work benefits packages truly support flexibility, well-being, work-life balance, and career growth, you’ll build a highly motivated and invested distributed team for the future.

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For companies looking to provide quality, customized remote work benefits across Canada, teaming up with an experienced benefits brokerage like IDC Insurance Direct Canada can pave the path forward. IDC Insurance Direct Canada is a premier digital insurance agency with in-depth expertise in helping organizations optimize their remote work benefits packages for remote and hybrid workforces. Their team stays on top of the latest employee benefits news and options in the remote work benefits space and partners with employers to build plans tailored to their unique needs. IDC Insurance Direct Canada makes it easy for companies to give their distributed teams the perks, incentives and support they deserve—contact them today to learn more.

Article Sources

At Ebsource, our mission is to provide Canadians with comprehensive and honest information to help them make informed decisions about employee benefits. We consult with experienced financial professionals to ensure our advice follows industry best practices. The statistics we cite come from reputable government and industry sources like Statistics Canada and the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association to guarantee accuracy.

Our recommendations are based on thorough, unbiased research of the major employee benefits providers in Canada. This allows us to suggest options tailored to individuals’ specific budgets and needs. We uphold high standards of objectivity, transparency, and independence in everything we publish. We take pride in producing advice readers can trust by referencing reputable sources and adhering to strict editorial principles. As Canada’s most trusted source for employee benefits news, we are dedicated to empowering Canadians to make the best benefits choices for their situation.

11 best employee benefits to offer remote workers – https://www.hcamag.com/
11 best employee benefits to offer remote workers – https://www.hrreporter.com/
Remote Work in Canada – https://boundlesshq.com/
Do Your Remote Workers Need Health Insurance? Yes. – https://sbis.ca/

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