Even as COVID restrictions are rolled back, the likelihood is that for many people, the future of the workplace is remote.
82% of employees who currently work from home want a hybrid approach in future, and increasing numbers of businesses are redesigning office spaces, or even shifting premises entirely, to adapt to a new normal where offices are collaborative spaces, not vast banks of workstations.
Outside of the physical implications of a hybrid or remote office working approach, there’s a HR challenge to be solved: if you’re not seeing your employees in person as often (or at all), how do you keep them engaged?
It goes without saying that good management, excellent communication and a strong employer brand are important no matter where your employees are based, and a lot of these things haven’t changed much in the wake of remote working. However, many of the tools that formed the basis of pre-pandemic employee wellbeing and engagement strategies – fridges full of snacks, office pool tables and in-person team building days – aren’t as effective when your team is spread across multiple locations and are rarely all in the same place at once.
Bringing in cake for a team member’s birthday just doesn’t have the same impact it once used to. So how do you help remote employees feel part of a team, and how do you keep them engaged from a distance?
Bring office treats to your employees wherever they are
A fridge full of drinks and snacks was a common site in pre-pandemic offices, and many companies found that going beyond the basic tea and coffee station was a great way of keeping their teams happy and engaged.
For remote workers, it’s harder – they’re responsible for buying their own tea bags, and while most wouldn’t complain (particularly if they no longer have to keep their oat milk under 24 hour surveillance), it’s difficult to find a direct replacement for such a simple office perk.
Prepaid cards can be a great way of treating your employees wherever they’re based – by loading a regular “tea kitty” budget onto a card for each team member, they can choose their favoured drinks and snacks on you. Go further by offering a monthly “staff lunch on us”, or whatever other perks you provide for office-based staff, safe in the knowledge that your cards can be limited to prevent funds being spent on inappropriate things like alcohol or gambling.
Put teams in control of their equipment
If your employees work remotely, you have a responsibility to ensure they have everything they need to do their job – from a comfortable desk and chair to the right computer equipment and accessories.
Kitting out an office is enough hassle, but arranging home deliveries of equipment for large teams can be an absolute nightmare. Not everybody’s working spaces are the same, and they might benefit from slightly different equipment to make their working days more productive and less stressful.
Instead of shipping out the same equipment to each employee’s address, or managing individual orders on behalf of every employee, consider giving them control over their own equipment. Giving them a technology budget on a virtual or physical prepaid card allows them to choose the equipment that’ll work best in their space, and ensure they’re happy and comfortable wherever they work. Best of all, it’s easy to set controls on a prepaid card to ensure they’re shopping with approved suppliers.
Send perfect gifts without the guesswork
Buying gifts for colleagues is a minefield – you can sit next to somebody for five years and still know next to nothing about their personal preferences. If you’re only seeing them a day per week or less, chances are you have no idea what to pick out for them, leading to disappointment or potentially even offence.
Even “universal” gift options like food and drink can fall flat if they don’t fit a team member’s dietary or religious preferences, not to mention the risk of selecting something based on what you know about their interests (or trying to guess their clothes size!).
Even vouchers can be difficult for remote employees – buying something that can only be used in a specific chain of shops or restaurants assumes they have one nearby, and even the broadest voucher schemes limit the recipient’s choices in a way that might make picking out a gift difficult.
Instead, consider a prepaid card – funds can be loaded onto a physical or virtual Mastercard that your employees can use in millions of locations online or in store. With no limitations, each member of your team can choose a gift that’s perfect for them, with no stress and next to no admin compared to wrapping and shipping physical presents.
Give amazing rewards and incentives
Incentivising your team members with the gift of choice means they can reward themselves with whatever is most important to them. A prepaid card makes it easy to reward your team members for meeting targets, completing training, referring in new clients, or just about any other achievement you can think of.
Your prepaid cards can be branded for the specific incentive you’re running, and employees can receive their rewards instantly to spend wherever they’d like.
For larger companies, partnering with specific retailers can also help land your employees a discount when they use their prepaid card in specific stores, giving them an extra bonus on top of the money they’ve received but if far less likely to be spent on mundane stuff, like groceries!
Make office processes a breeze
While we all love a good office perk, sometimes the most effective way of engaging your teams is by making their day-to-day lives easier. This means giving them the autonomy to control how they work, supported by well-designed, efficient processes where they’re needed.
If an employee’s job requires them to make purchases on behalf of the business, convoluted procurement processes can cause unnecessary stress and hassle and reduce the mental energy they have to focus on more important projects. Similarly, staff who incur expenses when they travel for work shouldn’t have to struggle with claiming back their funds before their credit card bill is due.
A prepaid card scheme can give your teams control over their own spending whilst ensuring that your finance team remains on top of overall company spending – cards can be activated or frozen, loaded or unloaded with the click of a button.
Departmental budgets can be loaded onto a pre-paid card, either virtual or physical, so teams can handle their own specialist software subscriptions or equipment purchases, with the ability to restrict them to only using approved suppliers if required.
For employees who need travel and subsistence expenses, pre-paid cards can be loaded to a predefined top-up limit automatically, so they’ve always got available funds for fuel, food and other necessities while they’re on the road. Better still, they can upload receipts instantly through a cardholder app, so keeping on top of reconciliation is a breeze.
Launch your own company card scheme with B4B Payments
Launching your own branded prepaid card scheme is easier than you think – B4B Payments offer everything you need to get started in weeks, with a powerful management platform, physical or virtual branded cards and a user-friendly cardholder app.
To find out more about how we can help, get in touch today.