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Post-COVID, can perks still work?

  • Publish Date: Posted about 1 month ago
  • Author: Jon Armstrong

Ah, workplace perks. All those delicious treats and fun things to do in the office–

Yes. The office. Remember when the workplace was actually a place instead of a gestalt concept?

Software engineers have embraced remote working with more enthusiasm than almost any other demographic. That means HR and business leaders are faced with three options when it comes to workplace perks:

1. Discontinue them

2. Find a way to send them to your engineers at home

3. Rethink the whole idea of workplace perks.

While there’s no definitive right answer, in the current atmosphere of creativity and renewed focus on employee wellbeing, there’s definitely a strong case for option 3.

What Do Employees Want?

Survey after survey demonstrates that office perks and after-work hangouts are actually pretty low on employees’ priority list. What they actually want at work is to feel trusted and empowered to work autonomously, and to know that what they’re doing makes a difference.

Happily, these are perks you don’t even need to be on the same continent to deliver, let alone in the same office.

It’s time to shift our focus and our resources away from extraneous fun stuff and invest the perks budget in employees’ long-term wellbeing. Some perks that could really improve software engineers’ lives post-COVID include.

  • More mental health benefits, especially as many are suffering the impact of COVID.

  • More flexibility to schedule work around family or personal needs without being micromanaged (this is about trust and empowerment, as mentioned earlier.)

  • Straightforward monetary incentives or bonuses – again, particularly appreciated post-COVID.

While these perks may call for additional expenditure, you’re likely to make that money back in increased productivity and reduced turnover.

Speaking of reduced turnover, do note that traditional perks like snacks can still be a good way to let software engineers know they’re valued. Google “snack boxes”, and you’ll find a variety of quality options. In a remote work environment, sending something tasty in the post can also help you win the goodwill of the employee’s family.