You’ve probably heard that it’s a great time to get hired. Thanks to The Great Resignation and a competitive job market, candidates receiving offers and negotiating their benefits packages have the upper hand.
And now that more companies are going fully remote or offering employees a hybrid or flex work model, job seekers aren’t limited to where they live. They can work anywhere, and that’s really exciting for everyone.
But the move to remote or hybrid work comes with a new set of questions. And if you’re currently job hunting, or negotiating a benefits package, you might be wondering, “What is a good benefits package for a remote employee?” We’re here to help you figure it out.
We spoke to the experts and consulted the research to break down exactly what you should look for in a benefits package—and a company—if you want to work remotely.
You Shouldn’t Have to Ask for Flexibility
Two months after giving birth to her second child, Anna Krachey, a UX researcher in Austin, TX started searching for a new, remote, job. She hadn’t been fired or let go from her previous employer. She chose to leave because she didn’t feel supported during her pregnancy and was concerned that the inflexibility of her work schedule and commute would be impossible to manage as a working mom of two. “At my previous job, they claimed they were flexible but were so shame-y if you took advantage of it,” says Krachey.
Chandra Turner, the Founder and CEO of The Talent Fairy, and a much-sought-after recruiter and career coach, says Anna’s priority is right in line with what she’s hearing from all of her clients. “If you are known as a company that supports hybrid work, it definitely makes you more attractive to candidates. Other than salary—and sometimes even more so than salary—the ability to work remotely, whether full-time or part-time, is the number one ask from everybody that I talk to when I'm recruiting.” In fact, this preference for remote work is so strong, a 2021 survey by Blind, a professional networking site, found that 64% of professionals would rather continue working remotely than receive a $30,000 raise. We’ll give you a moment to let that sink in.
But standardized policies and procedures really matter here. If a company says they’re flexible but doesn’t back it up with written policies and additional support for remote workers, it can lead to misunderstandings, management issues, and, as was the case for Anna, a feeling of resentment and ultimately a desire to leave. If having the option to work remotely is important to you, make sure your potential employer institutes benefits and policies that support remote and hybrid work across the company. “Companies need to provide it for everybody,” says Turner, “Rather than candidates individually asking for it as part of their package.”
Look for These Benefits if You Want to Work Remotely
If the last two years taught us anything, there’s the fantasy of working remotely, and then there’s the reality. Not all of us can pop our laptops into a carry-on bag and head to the Bahamas for a year. We have responsibilities at home, and when home becomes the office, it can feel like we’re trapped on a hamster wheel.
If you’d like to work remotely, here are a few benefits you can ask for to maintain a positive and productive work environment, wherever you are:
1. The Cost of Operation
“Hybrid and remote workers should definitely get an allowance for their home internet and cell phone as they’ll be using both to conduct business,” says Sarah Morgan, founder of The Buzz on HR. Morgan also recommends a one-time allowance or reimbursement for a desk and chair, and allowance/reimbursement a few times a year for office supplies and equipment upgrades.
2. A Quiet Place to Go
A membership to an on-demand workspace like Daybase can be a game-changer, “especially for parents of small children, people with roommates, and people that don't have another place that they can go, but it's not their day to be in the office,” says Turner. Getting out of the house is good for mental health, and having the option to get dressed and head to a co-working space for a conference call can be exactly what you need.
Not to mention that as the cost of child care continues to skyrocket, people with children at home may want to consider requesting a child care stipend. Being able to work without being interrupted every 15 minutes is a dream scenario (just ask any parent with young children). Having that support will benefit your productivity and your employer overall. If you’re worried it's a big ask, don’t be. Companies like General Motors and Amazon are already implementing this kind of support for working parents.
3. The Same Benefits as Non-Remote Workers
A wildly inaccurate assumption about remote workers is that they’re not as productive as employees who work in the office full-time. Employers shouldn’t offer remote employees smaller benefits packages because of this false assumption. “Benefits like health insurance and retirement should remain in place,” says Sarah Morgan. Morgan also suggests asking for an increase of employer contributions to health insurance and retirement accounts, because the company is probably yielding some savings by not having so many employees in an office.
What a Flexible Work Culture Really Looks Like
Anna moved on to a very large tech company that offers all non-location-specific employees the option to work remotely, as well as a “very generous” stipend for office supplies. Because the policy and benefits are standard and non-negotiable, Anna doesn’t feel like she has to pretend she’s not a mom when she’s at work. “Working remotely has been very good for my productivity in terms of getting my job done and finding the quiet and space to do that, and also in compressing my workday as much as possible so that I can switch to my other job (parenting) quickly and seamlessly.”
When employees feel trusted to complete their work and manage their time, they’re happier and more likely to stay. But your employer should also make sure they value your work and regularly connect with remote employees as often as in-office employees to avoid unfair treatment.
On the flip side, boundaries are also an essential component. Just because you work remotely, doesn't mean you’re always on. And it definitely doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take advantage of benefits like sick days and vacation time. “Employers should also reimagine how time off is handled when moving to full remote work as people who work from home tend to work longer hours than those in a traditional office,” says Morgan. “Adding and encouraging the use of vacation, sick, personal and holiday time will go a long way to showing greater appreciation of the increased efforts from your remote workforce.” (If you’re having trouble taking time off for vacation as a hybrid worker, don’t worry. We’re covering that later in our series).
At her new company, Anna is working on internal productivity products for employees. “We're literally re-inventing the rules right now,” she explains. “One of the things we're designing for is inclusion for remote employees. Our methods of communication, processes, and tools must correct for the biases that inevitably will arise for people that are literally not in the room while decisions are being made.” She’s hopeful that the benefits of offering an on-demand workspace like Daybase can give remote workers both the flexibility they desire and the ongoing support they deserve.
Thanks for reading this far. Now it’s your turn to do the talking. Let us know how hybrid work is working (or not working) for you. You can find us in all the usual places: Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.