The coronavirus outbreak has changed the lives and work of millions of Poles, challenging hundreds of employers. The non-financial benefits market also adapts to the new situation. Today, well-known benefits are expanding the online offer to support the current needs of employers and employees at home on an unprecedented scale. As a result, the industry is undergoing an accelerated process of digitisation. In this perspective, the crisis related to the epidemic can be an opportunity for an above-average development of non-financial benefits and even greater possibilities for their personalisation, both in terms of companies and employees.
– Contrary to appearances, the lockdown has not cut us completely off our current affairs, but significantly changed the mode of our daily operation. Millions of Poles work remotely as part of the home office, which until recently was a form of benefit. Today it is a must. Both employees and employers had to adapt quickly to this change – says Adam Waszkowski, Analysis Department Director at Benefit Systems, the company that created the popular MultiSport Programme. – The current crisis is a challenge also for the non-financial benefits market. Today, the effectiveness of benefits depends not only on their accurate adjustment to the needs, but also on the speed of being adapted to new conditions, such as the ability to provide services remotely. The unexpected revolution brought by the epidemic does not mean that the former needs of working Poles and companies have been erased. Maintaining a satisfactory level of efficiency, motivation and health of employees will be even more important now.
Nationwide home office is a challenge
According to the Confidence Index survey, in 2019 as many as 52% of Poles declared that they would like to work remotely from time to time. The current situation has made home office become a standard without a specific time frame for hundreds of companies and thousands of employees. Although this solution can be enjoyed initially, surveys show that in addition to benefits, remote work also causes a lot of problems. The international “State of Remote Report 2020” survey indicates that 20% of people working outside the office have problems with maintaining effective communication with their team members and another 20% struggle with the feeling of loneliness. A serious difficulty connected with the home office can also be the feeling that we are at work almost 24 hours a day. As many as 18% of respondents declare having problems with separating time for work and relaxation. Another 12% point out having difficulty staying focused on work at home. According to the Ariadna survey conducted in March 2020, nearly 30% of Poles working at home admit that remote work takes them more time than work in the office. Some professionally active Poles are looking for answers to the question: “How to work remotely?” The popularity of this term in Google search since March 15, 2020 exceeded the sum of inquiries from the previous 12 months by 100%.
– To support wellbeing and efficiency of employees, as well as to respond to the needs of employers, the MultiSport Programme has expanded its online offer with additions useful during home office. These are mainly educational materials in the field of ergonomics of remote work, stress reduction and development of soft skills. People who combine professional duties with childcare will appreciate inspiring guidebooks with games for the youngest household members. An important element of the offer also includes activities supporting leisure time, such as free access to the library of e-books and audiobooks – adds Dr. Adam Waszkowski.
Most popular benefits
Among the non-financial benefits, the ones that support a healthy and active lifestyle and the development of skills have been the most popular for years.
– Habits and expectations of the society should be the first guideline for choosing effective motivational solutions – emphasises Adam Waszkowski.
Google Trends analyses show that in March 2020 the popularity of such terms as “home exercises” and “online courses” increased by 200% (compared to the statistics from March 2019). These solutions have also been included in the new MultiSport Programme offer. Active card holders can take advantage of online workout sessions prepared by the MultiSport brand or classes conducted by partner clubs as part of virtual visits. An online English course is also available to the users.
Physical activity and a balanced diet should go hand in hand
– In March 2020, educational materials supporting the building of healthy habits were twice as popular – emphasises Dr. Adam Waszkowski. – In turn, in the last two weeks of March, i.e. during the nationwide quarantine, users downloaded twice as many personalised nutrition plans than during the first two weeks of that month.
According to the Health Enhancement Research Organisation (HERO) it is sport and proper nutrition that increase employees’ productivity by up to 25%, reduce absenteeism by a dozen to several dozen percent, and also positively affect engagement (a change of about 15%).
Daily support in a package from the employer
Non-financial benefits have been expanded for years to include solutions that meet employees’ diverse needs. Employers are increasingly deciding to finance benefits that support employees also in areas directly related to their private life. Today, benefits that facilitate the daily functioning of people in a changed reality are additionally gaining in importance.This role is successfully performed by cafeteria programmes, i.e. internet platforms through which employees can purchase products and services online. According to specialists from the MyBenefit platform, such a solution is important because the funds transferred by employers to the account of such a cafeteria can be used by employees according to their own current needs – e.g. to do shopping online, purchase telemedicine services, continue to use the sports offer or various forms of entertainment adapted to home conditions.