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Above and beyond HMO and massage chairs: these are the employee benefits you need now

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It’s no secret that happy employees are the engine that keeps any organization running, and proper employee benefits are crucial to keeping them onboard. Employee benefits range anywhere from the standard HMO and maternity leave to a rice subsidy or even a clothing allowance (employees must look sharp, after all).

Still, there are instances when even benefits such as these remain ineffective in addressing employee attrition. It could be that the perks offered by a company carry good intentions, but fail to understand what it is employees really want. Especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and all the challenges it brings to the world of work, the things that keep people going may change radically.

Consider a recent survey by advisory firm Willis Towers Watson that found that about a third of employees stay with their company because of benefits. It’s worth asking what’s really in demand. The answers may even surprise you.

A wellness program

Though employee health is usually taken care of through the company healthcare plan, there are times when this simply isn’t enough. Remaining sedentary for too long at work, for example, can lead to a host of long-term negative health effects. As much as possible, you’d want employees to nip this in the bud.

Enter wellness programs. Some wellness programs can be as simple as offering free yoga classes over Zoom to staff as a means of de-stressing. Other companies provide fruits and vegetables during lunch breaks, to encourage healthy eating and a healthier lifestyle overall.

Wellness programs become especially important in the midst of a pandemic, when many are forced to work from home and feelings of isolation can creep in. That’s why employers like data analytics firm ThoughtSpot give away subscriptions to meditation app Calm, to remind employees to take breaks and meditate.

Flexible schedule

It’s reported that more than 10 percent of employees quit due to a lack of work-life balance. Flexible scheduling can make a huge difference for employees who have to juggle obligations outside of work.

Additionally, offering a flexible working option sends the message that an employee trusts their people, which can boost organizational loyalty. Especially as more and more people will be working from home these days, the ability to decide when they’ll work eliminates the feeling that they’re stuck in a 9-5 grind.

If that isn’t enough reason to inject flexibility in the work schedule, a study by banking giant HSBC found that 89% of employees surveyed cited a flexible schedule as motivation to be more productive at work. Thus, a flexible schedule should be integrated especially during a time when remote working is quickly becoming the norm. To fail to do so is simply an opportunity wasted.

Provide a transport solution

Another employee perk that becomes especially relevant in the context of a pandemic is a transport solution. With public transport still limited in areas under community quarantine, buses and trains have to operate at significantly reduced capacity in order to comply with social distancing rules. Having to figure out ways around this can be irritating at best, and a significant stressor at worst. About 40% of employees all over the world describe their commute as the worst part of their day.

For employees who must go to work in person, helping reduce the massive logistical headache can be a saving grace. Starting a company shuttle service is an obvious solution to this and can be done by simply dedicating a company vehicle to pick up employees right at their home or an agreed upon venue. Management can also encourage employees to start carpooling.

Yet companies like ours take it one step further by injecting the very best of modern technology into its service. With SWAT Mobility, only authorized employees can book rides through the app. The app also efficiently calculates the optimal route, navigates drivers to close-to-home pick up points and tracks vehicles in real time. Additionally, vehicle capacity controls are set by the Department of Transportation and are enforced in real-time, a great aid for contact-tracing efforts.

We offer convenience to employees and even significant savings by eliminating the cost of bus tickets, train tickets, etc. For the companies themselves, this gives the added benefit of boosting productivity considering that traffic has been found to decrease productivity. It’s even estimated that the Philippine economy loses about P3.5 billion a day just because of traffic jams.

In fact, a transport solution such as ours can be considered a horizontal benefit that gives birth to both the wellness and flexibility mentioned above.

A shorter commute time is linked to better mental health, and using SWAT Mobility also removes the stressors of an uncertain and possibly unsafe commute. Being a direct ride with guaranteed seats also means employees can comfortably rest during the commute. Reducing the pain of having to wrestle with logistics on their way to work can result in a decrease in stress-related ailments like high blood pressure, obesity, depression and much more.

Finally, the fact that our solution can be used on-demand gives people the flexibility to get to work and wherever they need. Knowing that they can get to the office with just the push of a button makes it easier to avoid the madness of the rush hour crawl, granting them more freedom than ever.

In conclusion, the list of employee benefits that companies can offer to their employees is always expanding. Any company can use benefits to entice people to work for them, but it’’s the ability to offer the right ones that separate the wheat from the chaff.

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