By downsizing or giving up office space altogether, companies can—and should—redirect money to their employees in meaningful ways. Here's how.
If you’re like most of the world right now, the amount of time you’ve spent in an office has decreased drastically since the start of the pandemic. Amidst this shift to remote or hybrid work models, your company might have decided to downsize or forgo its office space entirely. Some are getting creative, subleasing part of their office space to recoup costs, while others have picked up and moved shop to cheaper cities altogether.
In any case, most companies have been saving significant sums of money on operating and capital expenses. Funds once spent on office space and every aspect of running it (think: desks, snacks, coffee, security, maintenance, etc.) are finding new homes in the company budget.
So where is this money going? And more importantly, where should it be going? While most any means of putting this money back into the employee experience is a good thing, some ways of spending reign superior over others, namely ones that support employees in ways they actually want—and need right now.
One of the main redistributions of funds has come in the form of video conferencing tech and cloud space to aid largely-remote workforces. Technology that might have once been used sparingly, perhaps to communicate via satellite offices, is now a requisite.
While remote tech is certainly a priority, remote activities such as virtual team bonding events, or really any non-work-related activity employees can do together, are just as important. In times where the lines between work and non-work hours have become blurry at best, it’s a huge mood booster to take employees’ minds (and hands!) off work. Rope off an afternoon for a virtual escape room or succulent gardening workshop. Don’t be surprised if the bonding and collaboration fostered during a virtual event carry over into work, too!
Similarly, increased paid time off, enhanced parental leave benefits, and sabbaticals can do wonders for employee morale. According to American Psychological Association, “the majority of working Americans reported positive effects of taking vacation time” including greater moods, energy, motivation, work quality, and productivity. The need for employees’ time off shouldn’t just it honored, it should be encouraged.
Money is also going toward meditation apps and exercise stipends, to encourage employees’ mental and physical wellbeings. Employee mental health is more important than ever right now. If you don’t yet offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), start now! And consider providing an additional layer. There are several newer online platforms (Lyra, Spring Health, etc.) that can expand services and provider access.
Funds should also be spent on employee cost-share for health benefits. According to Michele Lodin, VP of Head of Total Rewards at Enspira HR, “2023 benefit renewals will likely be higher due to inflation and a strain on hospitals/providers.” Holding the line on increasing costs assures employees you really have their health in mind.
Co-working space memberships are on the table, too, as a means for employees to go somewhere other than their own home throughout the workday. This is especially common for companies transitioning from physical office space to an all-remote setup; a coworking space provides all the amenities your office used to, without the overhead costs. And compared to, say, your living room couch, a co-working space offers a sanctuary with fewer distractions and proper desks.
But let’s be honest, even with a cool co-working space to escape to, your employees’ meals still need to be prepped and their family taken care of. “Childcare is particularly challenging right now,” says Lodin. “Some employees don't want to send their children to daycare centers but prefer in-home or small group shared childcare, which is more expensive.” Additionally, providers themselves are now sick more often, leaving parents without help and still needing to work themselves.
Of the 40-million adults who currently count themselves as caregivers, many are valuable Millennials putting in as many as 24 hours each week -- more than half a full-time job. Many who are in the position of caregiver have also experienced an impact at work, such as needing to take a leave of absence, changing work hours, and/or receiving performance feedback. Really helping employees work on work today also means supporting caregiving, including childcare (with platforms like Care.com), eldercare, and meal prep services.
The hiring process has also received an overhaul in some companies. Talent searches once limited by geographical area now boast boundless candidate pools, and companies are taking advantage. A more robust interviewing process, replete with tech platforms to facilitate candidate interviews and evaluations, ensures companies are investing in top talent.
In an effort to attract the new, don’t forget what you already have! Money should be directed toward current employees’ financial wellness too, like salary adjustments, promotions, increased 401k matching. Even a supplemental “pandemic” bonus sends a message to employees that you see their work and value it, especially when they know you’re not beholden to an expensive lease anymore. In terms of spending the pandemic money you’re saving, a gesture as simple as that might go furthest in terms of employee engagement and retention.
Subscribe to our newsletter for regular insight and news
Current workforce realities such as competing job opportunities and The Great Resignation make Total Rewards programs vital for attracting and retaining talent. Here’s how companies can do it right.Read More >>
Over the last five years, there’s been an increasing focus on laws centered around digital protections and worker’s rights, specifically the “right to disconnect.”Read More >>
By downsizing or giving up office space altogether, companies can—and should—redirect money to their employees in meaningful ways. Here's how.Read More >>
As employers contend with the Great Resignation, the use of artificial intelligence for talent acquisition is more important than ever.Read More >>
No matter how scary the prospect, striving to achieve your career goals will always yield better results than staying stuck and afraid.Read More >>
When employees fail to understand or properly utilize important tech tools in the workplace, it can have far-reaching implications and may even impact an organization’s bottom line.Read More >>
AI recruitment tools--while incredibly useful--can also introduce bias. What can companies do to ensure they increase efficiency without harming equity?Read More >>
A range of approaches to designing and utilizing AI can actually help diversity hiring.Read More >>
We're trending towards longer and longer work days--but by embracing a decision-making ideology and a task management tool, we don't have to.Read More >>
Navigating a new job is hard--and managing its ups and downs as a new hire during a pandemic is arguably even harder.Read More >>
While few employees are running miles in combat boots, mentally training like the elite military unit may help us reclaim our brains from stress.Read More >>
The virtual workspace isn’t going away. Here’s how WFH is affecting us — and how these changes could reshape the workforce as we know it.Read More >>
Human Resources executives are central to the success of an organization, setting the tone for how employees can contribute and thrive. Here, a few industry leaders share their insights.Read More >>
Processing emotionally charged events can impact people in ways that are difficult to manage. What can be done to support them?Read More >>
From cobots that collaborate with humans to HoloLens, a wearable holographic computer, AI is no longer science fiction.Read More >>
As old paradigms fall by the wayside, how we shape corporate culture and do business altogether is transforming at breakneck speeds.Read More >>
Uniqueness of identification has grown and blossomed into a spectrum of diversity, challenging the way companies think about DEIB.Read More >>
A number of complex forces are steering people away from the workforce, but arguably the most common one is burnout.Read More >>
Of all the theories that aim to engender better work-life balance, the five-hour workday is one of the most compelling.Read More >>
Just because you say you're operating strategically doesn't mean your plan is strategic.Read More >>
Yes, “be yourself” is definitely sound advice--and these days, employers are known to tell their employees the same thing. But there are limits.Read More >>
DEIB programs are surging across the American workplace. Why are some employers still not taking action?Read More >>
It's not always easy to know when to prioritize speed vs. quality in business. There may be more than one right answer.Read More >>
Your words often don't have the impact you intend them to--which can be problematic, especially in the workplace.Read More >>
Giving and receiving valuable feedback isn't always an easy task. Here are some insights to help you along the way.Read More >>
Unlimited PTO sounds like a dream come true. Is it here to stay, or just the flavor of the week?Read More >>
Join us for a dynamic discussion with neurodiversity experts on the benefits of employing a diverse team.Read More >>
Our biases manifest everywhere--and even during our most celebrated and joyous traditions, they can leave an impact.Read More >>
Are we truly our most productive when we work five days a week? Recent studies suggest otherwise.Read More >>
For Pride Month 2021, Enspira interviewed two pioneers in the LGBTQ+ business community who continue to inspire change.Read More >>
Chances are we all know someone who's struggling with unspoken issues. Here's how to recognize it, thoughtfully reach out, and help.Read More >>
If we want to see real, sustainable change, we all must continue to acknowledge and celebrate diversity in the workplace.Read More >>
The raging pandemic has pushed people beyond reasonable limits, and has adversely affected women disproportionately.Read More >>
The world is facing monumental challenges in the time of COVID-19, widening existing gaps in racial and gender equity.Read More >>
It’s now more important than ever to ensure your organization has strong people manager capability and effectiveness.Read More >>
How inclusive is your organization? Simply checking the representation boxes and creating policies isn't enough.Read More >>
Providing experience-based expertise in platform selection, implementation, and integration of HR tech applications.
Engendering a progressive workplace culture by addressing DEIB in policies and practices for longterm sustainability.
Optimizing productivity through a comprehensive analysis of functions to match the right people with the right roles.
Building exceptional leadership through executive coaching, workshop modules, and practical applications for individuals and teams.
Devising a forward-thinking, equitable, and inclusive search experience for candidates and companies.
Elevating employee engagement and performance through foundational alignment of business and human purpose.
Creating innovative talent management strategies to help build and retain a world-class workforce.
Developing comprehensive employee engagement and retention strategies to improve productivity, reduce turnover, and foster innovation.
Identifying optimal combinations of benefits, compensation, rewards, and recognition to enhance employee engagement and performance.
Guiding organizations through complex and challenging evolutions to keep employees engaged throughout the journey.