Six months into shelter-in-place, there’s no doubt that our new WFH normal is making employers reevaluate their benefits offerings — especially when 76% of employees want to continue working from home for the foreseeable future (Global Workplace Analytics). This is largely driven by demand from employees for more flexible and meaningful benefits as they navigate difficulties adjusting to home office environments, juggling childcare and virtual instruction with work, and more. In the absence of in-office perks and amenities, employees are increasingly demanding a new type of perk — one that fulfills immediate, day-to-day needs as the masses buckle down from home.
We recently conducted a survey of 700 full-time employees to better understand the shifting attitudes towards employee benefits and perks. The biggest finding?
Employees (95% of whom are still working from home) want benefits that support their current lifestyle — what we at Fringe call “lifestyle benefits.” Alarmingly, not all employers are meeting this demand.
Here’s a quick summary of some of the key findings:
- Attitudes are shifting: While the majority of employees miss in-office perks (83%), 80% admit that the WFH situation has changed the way they look at benefits.
- Lifestyle benefits are the best replacement for perks of the past: While many top employers have offered stipends to support a suitable home office environment, what employees really want are benefits that impact their day-to-day.
- More than half of employees indicate that they prefer perks and benefits that support their lifestyle instead of support in setting up or sustaining a home office.
- Moreover, 84% of employees believe that lifestyle benefits will be more valuable in a post-COVID world than in-office perks and amenities.
- Not all employers are responding in meaningful ways: Less than half of employees indicate that their employer has stepped up to provide additional benefits or support during COVID-19.
Fringe as your pandemic perk companion
Even before the pandemic upended our lives, our goal with starting Fringe was to connect employees to benefits and services that meet current needs and make an immediate impact on their day-to-day life. Less than a year ago, we never could have predicted how important or pervasive this new category of “lifestyle benefits” would become. Overall, we’ve seen a 22.5x increase in users since March 1st; the majority of employees (92%) surveyed are actively using Fringe currently, and in fact 32% say they’re using it more since March 1st.
The response from Fringe users demonstrates the value Fringe is bringing to employees this year:
- Fringe is a good replacement for perks of the past: 85% of employees see Fringe as a “good replacement for in-office perks and amenities”.
- Users enjoy the flexibility that Fringe provides: 73% of employees have changed the types of services they select on Fringe through the pandemic; Roughly 73% of employees have indicated their selections on Fringe have shifted during COVID-19.
- Fringe is a viable solution to WFH challenges: The majority (70%) of employees feel Fringe benefits are meeting their needs and challenges related to working from home.
Sometimes, it takes a crisis for new modes of thinking and new ways of doing things to stick. If there’s any silver lining to COVID-19 with respect to the workplace, it’s that lifestyle benefits have been given a platform to influence the next 30+ years of employee benefits — even when offices begin to repopulate and the WFH Era of 2020 becomes nothing more than a distant memory. How employers respond in this moment will ultimately inform their ability to keep employees happy for years to come.
In an effort to stay informed on employee needs and attitudes, we’ll be conducting more surveys over the coming months. Stay tuned for more insights!