Remote work

The Benefits have changed: How to retain employees in a remote-first world

Massages. Food. Nap pods. In a not too distant past 

In a not too distant past, perks are what kept employees engaged (and in the office). 

In a remote-first world, the most impactful gift employers can provide is freedom. 

To choose their own hours. 

To schedule self-care. 

To design work around life.

Famously, Google was the gold standard of perks. Their campus was a playground of bikes, massages, laundry service, and food. Perks were designed to keep employees engaged and retained, beyond salary. As we’ve moved to a distributed-first model, traditional perks are no longer valuable.

As work just becomes life behind a screen, employee retention will be more difficult.

Why stick with Uber if Shopify is offering you a 10% pay raise?

Without the perks and the camaraderie of in-person relationships - why does it matter which Slack team you’re a part of? 

Herein lies the opportunity.

Teams now have a chance to compete not with perks, but with freedom. Remote work is the biggest opportunity to empower employees to design their ideal day. 

It starts with flexibility. 

If your team is spread all over the globe, why force specific timezones to be online for specific hours? It doesn’t make any sense. 

Some people are night owls, and want to code until 3am. Some have young kids, and a 10am start would make their life so much easier. 

Simply encouraging individuals to choose their own hours can increase productivity, happiness, and retention. Think of the power your culture can have.

How many adults are constantly sleep deprived? Imagine trusting them to still get their work done, even if they sleep in. 

If an employer encouraged me to sleep in on days where I was up all night with a crying puppy, I would never leave. 

Beyond working hours, encourage self-care. 

Beyond allowing for flexibility, the most impactful thing a company can do from a culture perspective is encouraging self-care.

This is work-life balance. It’s yoga and fitness. It’s meditation. It’s allowing time for breaks and healthy meals. 

It’s super easy to just get pulled back into work when remote. You have Slack installed on multiple devices. Your laptop is right there, and you might even be using it for other things. Even just the presence of your phone has been proven to be distracting.

It’s harder than it’s ever been to find space for deep thinking and deep work. 

Companies that build self-care into their culture will win. It can start simply. Lead by example, and schedule breaks throughout your day. Lunch is an easy one. Try coffee breaks, walks, yoga, or runs. Encourage your team to do the same. 

One way of leading by example is leveraging statuses - don’t hide the fact that you’re out for a run, embrace it. Set it in your calendar and push an update to Slack. 

Encourage your team to do the same. 

Design work around life 

The ultimate end-game with remote is enabling your team to design work around life. 

Obviously, it's not 100% realistic to enable everyone to get exactly what they want, but start with that as an end goal and work backwards.

Ask your team what they need, and what would help them get their best work done.

If you can help them design a day they love, they’ll never leave.