What Do Company Benefits Look Like in a Remote Environment?

Leaders from Reggora, Vestmark and Markforged share how their company’s employee benefits programs have evolved since transitioning to a remote work environment.
Written by Taylor Karg
May 27, 2021Updated: May 27, 2021

Catered company lunches. Kitchen coffee bars. On-site gyms. These were once major benefits of working in an office. However, now that almost 42 percent of the workforce is remote, according to Upwork, human resources teams have had to get creative with the types of benefits they offer employees. 

At appraisal technology company Reggora, employee benefits have evolved to include a home office budget. “This stipend gives employees the opportunity to set up their home offices in the way that best supports their work needs,” Employee Experience Manager Sage Carlson said. Reggora also recently evolved its health and wellness resources as well as its employee assistance programs.

While benefits may look a little different these days, employers are certainly looking forward to when they’re able to bring back those personal touches. For example, fintech company Vestmark is excited to bring back its on-site car detailing and dry cleaning services once it’s safe to do so. 

We connected with Carlson, Jodi Crittenden, a total rewards manager at Vestmark, and Michelle Contreras, a benefits manager at 3D printing company Markforged, to learn more about how their company’s benefits have evolved since transitioning to remote work.

 

Sage Carlson
Employee Experience Manager

Since becoming a fully-remote workforce, Reggora has heightened its focus on employees’ health and well-being. Employee Experience Manager Sage Carlson said that they’ve increased promotion on two of their service offerings: WorkLifeMatters, an employee assistance program, and Well-Connection, an appointment program for employees to connect with doctors and mental health professionals. 

How have your company benefits changed over the last year of working remotely? 

In February 2021, we announced that we will be a fully-remote company going forward. This announcement allows our employees to work anywhere within the U.S. In addition to the flexibility that has come from being a fully-remote company, we’re also offering every employee a $500 remote work stipend. This stipend gives employees the opportunity to set up their home offices in the way that best supports their work needs. Since we understand that working from home isn’t right for everyone — and that life circumstances change over time — we also offer accommodations as needed, such as WeWork memberships. 

Another big thing we’re keeping top of mind is the health implications that can come with working from home. We want to offer resources to help our employees stay healthy in both body and mind. So as a result, we have increased our focus on well-being and work-life balance over the last year. Wellness programming such as yoga, an ergonomics workshop and a company step-tracking challenge are just a few examples of the ways we are working to keep people active and well. 

 

We want to offer resources to help our employees stay healthy in both body and mind.”

 

What’s a benefit you had pre-COVID that you’ve doubled down on since going remote? 

We’ve increased promotion around WorkLifeMatters, our employee assistance program, and Well-Connection, which provides appointments via video with on-call doctors and mental health professionals.

We also want Reggora to be a place where people from a variety of identities, backgrounds, and life experiences feel at home, which is why we announced the formalization of employee resource groups (ERGs) this year. We recognize the crucial role ERGs play in fostering belonging for people from historically marginalized groups and underrepresented minorities in tech, and we look forward to seeing our initial ERGs start to take shape.

What’s a new benefit you’ve added since the transition to remote work that you plan to keep, and why? 

Since we are remaining fully remote, we will continue to focus on virtual programming and benefits. Our goal is to be a best-in-class remote employer. Since the transition, we’ve rolled out an employee listening philosophy and added a new survey tool, 15Five, to better listen to our employees’ feedback, regardless of where they’re located. We continuously evaluate all aspects of our employee experience and benefits in light of how well they work for a distributed workforce.

 

Jodi Crittenden
Manager, Total Rewards

To help employees navigate its health insurance and benefits program while working remotely, Vestmark Total Rewards Manager Jodi Crittenden said that they’ve implemented a new platform which acts as a one stop shop for information during open enrollment.

How have your company benefits changed over the last year of working remotely? 

Vestmark’s onboarding process is probably the biggest change we’ve made since becoming a remote workforce. Aside from the logistics of getting equipment to people’s homes, ensuring network access and providing orientation sessions via Zoom, our chief people officer makes it a point to have an introductory virtual meeting with each new hire during their first week. This has been very well received because it helps new hires navigate the remote work environment.

Vestmark quickly instituted a virtual engagement committee to implement a multitude of online events to help keep people’s spirits up and have some laughs with coworkers. Some of our virtual events have included bingo, paint night, comedy shows, pumpkin carving, step challenges and bootcamp-style fitness classes. These events helped us maintain our culture and values around connectivity and engagement. 

What’s a benefit you had pre-COVID-19 that you’ve doubled down on since going remote? 

Communicate, communicate, communicate! We use various formats, including emails, Slack, company newsletters, home mailings, virtual company meetings and more, to communicate important information to employees. At our monthly all-company meetings, we include a COVID-19 update on benefit legislation changes, anticipated return-to-work plans and safety precautions at each location. We’ve also implemented a new online platform as a one stop shop for benefits information during open enrollment to replace our in-person annual wellness and benefits fair. 

 

These events helped us maintain our culture and values around connectivity and engagement.”

 

What’s a benefit you got rid of after going remote that you plan to bring back once your team returns to the office, and why?

Once we are able to, we will bring back monthly in-person lunches with our CEO for all new hires. This has always been well-received. It’s a way for employees to meet the CEO in an informal setting to learn about the company’s history and ask questions. Additionally, we’re looking forward to being able to attend off-site, in-person conferences where we can all network and get to know each other in a safe manner. 

We will also bring back our on-site car detailing, meal delivery and dry cleaning services. These perks help to ease the stress of employees’ busy schedules by offering assistance right at the office during the work day. And lastly, we will bring back our discounted gym memberships. We’re excited to get back to the gym and put our fitness reimbursement benefit to use. 

 

Michelle Contreras
Benefits Manager

Since going remote, Markforged has doubled down on its employee wellness program. Benefits Manager Michelle Contreras said that the program now includes an online fitness option for employees and their families as well as a virtual company-wide step-counting challenge competition to encourage people to get moving.

How have your company benefits changed over the last year of working remotely? 

We’ve added or enhanced a handful of employee benefits since transitioning to remote. For example, we launched an online health and wellness platform to help our employees to stay active during quarantine. We also partnered with our EAP program to offer additional mental health support and enhanced our time-off policy for hourly employees. And if any employees need to take time off due to COVID-19 related issues, we pay for their expenses. 

Generally speaking, we’ve shifted our employee perks to be around shared experiences. For example, we brought in special speakers over Zoom for International Women’s Day, held virtual team events such as a cake decorating day, and even hosted a “The Great British Bake Off”-style event. 

What’s a benefit you had pre-COVID that you’ve doubled down on since going remote? 

Markforged has doubled down on its wellness program offerings by introducing an online fitness program for employees and their families, hosting an online healthy cooking competition, as well as purchasing step trackers for all employees and launching a virtual company-wide step challenge competition.

 

We launched an online health and wellness platform for our employees to stay active during quarantine.”

 

What’s a new benefit you’ve added since the transition to remote work that you plan to keep after your team returns to the office, and why? 

We will continue to offer the online fitness program because it has been well-received by our employees. As we move forward to hybrid in-office plans, it will be important to continue to balance our in-person and remote benefit offerings.

 

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