From free coffee to devising a perk credit system, here are 12 creative ways to keep remote workers happy.
Just because some employees work from home (and more and more in a different city, state or even country) doesn't mean you aren't responsible for creating a comfortable and attractive work environment.
Since they won't be around for your next catered lunch, you need to get creative about offering perks that help your remote team members work smarter. Plus, benefits aimed specifically at remote team members don't just boost morale--they also help with recruitment efforts.
Twelve members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) share which remote-work benefits have helped their employees the most.
1. Paid travel to headquarters.
We have offices in STL, KC and Columbia, MO. We reimburse our employees for gas any time they want to travel between the three cities. This enables them to work from any of the three offices and interact with different team members on a regular basis. It also makes the drive time a little sweeter when they know that it doesn't mean money coming out of their wallet.--Kelsey Meyer, Influence & Co.
2. Work flexibility, especially for parents.
Our remote team is made up of incredible senior-level talent, many of whom have young children. The ability to do exceptional industry-leading work in a flexible environment that promotes balance has significantly helped our recruiting efforts. This is especially the case for the many parents on our team.--Jennifer Benz, Benz Communications
3. Starbucks coffee cards.
The vast majority of our team is in San Francisco. We love having folks work remotely, but we're afraid that they'll feel isolated. We fly them to SF, and they always speak first on conference calls to make sure they're heard. And to help get them out and in front of others, we cover all coffee expenses. It's a small thing, but fresh air and human interaction are critical to personal happiness!--Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches
4. Ability to make their own schedule.
I manage people in four (soon to be six) different cities. Other than regular check-ins, our remote staff has complete control of their schedule to manage as they see fit. This helps them spend time with loved ones and relax or work as they do best and not on some arbitrary schedule, which keeps them happier and more productive.--Sam Davidson, Batch
5. Optional shared workspaces.
It surprised me at first, but our remote workers love the ability to go into a shared workspace a few times a week. We've had great feedback that this helps productivity and happiness. It's definitely become a selling point for recruiting. For those that are used to being in an office, having the flexibility to work from the comfort of home or in a professional office setting is reassuring.--Kayla Wagner Faires, Revel Interactive
6. Unlimited days off.
We give all employees unlimited days off. This has especially helped remote workers, as they seem to always be working--literally around the clock. They now know that they have the flexibility to take a day off whenever they need. They can take off a month if they need. Since we offered this perk, our retention has increased significantly.--John Rampton, Due
7. Full travel independence.
Remote workers can travel whenever they want and work as they wish, as long as they provide high-quality work on time. The mindset of measuring performance or evaluating people based on number of hours of input or work is incorrect. The correct way to measure is based on output or the work they complete. This focus on output provides the team with full control of their hours and travel.--Randy Rayess,VenturePact
8. Cell phone and cloud storage reimbursements.
We offer reimbursement on their existing phone plan and cloud storage. With smartphones so dominant and everything being in the cloud, it makes little sense to require employees to carry two phones anymore.--Ivan Matkovic, Spendgo
9. A results-only work environment.
Everyone works where they want, when they want. That means unlimited vacation, no set hours and no babysitting. We also banned mandatory meetings. The results: near-zero turnover and nabbing top people away from top firms. Our client satisfaction has gone up, and we've grown 50 percent in the last six months.--John Dillard, Big Sky Associates, Inc.
10. Time for kids.
Work-from-home single parents have the ability to attend key events in their children's educational development. I make sure my staff always has the flexibility to never miss out on plays, sporting events and other activities their children partake in.--Timothy Schmidt, SearchEngineOptimizationExpert.com
11. Perk credits.
Remote team members get a fixed number of credits each month that they can redeem for the benefits they truly want. We decided to be flexible since different people have different preferences. While some might prefer a gym membership, others might want a slick workstation.--Pratham Mittal, VenturePact
12. Gym membership.
We offer gym memberships because we really value the health and happiness of our employees. Hitting the gym for an hour can increase productivity tenfold. It's great for relieving stress and increasing focus, mental strength and productivity. We encourage our workers to get out there, be active, and lead a happy, healthy and productive lifestyle. -Gerald Wilmink, WiseWear Corporation