Employers often use employee benefit programs to stay ahead of the competition in the battle for talent. If these programs also allow employees to deal with current challenges, such as the need for more IT equipment for homeschooling, that can help to enhance the attractiveness of the employer.
Setting up a workspace at home can be a challenge that requires a willingness to change and the ability to adapt. Add homeschooling the children to the mix and parents soon find themselves confronted by a whole host of additional organizational issues, such as having enough IT devices. Parents often have to share their work laptops or tablets with their school-age children, a solution that is far from ideal. And not just because of the potential impact on productivity but also because of the security and compliance implications of mixing personal and business data.
The number of IT devices and accessories in households has risen sharply in the last year as the need to cater for both remote working and online learning has increased. This trend brings with it its own challenges: What happens if the laptop develops a fault or is damaged? How can a replacement be found quickly to avoid any gaps in learning? All this involves additional effort and costs.
Many companies want to help their employees with working from home. For example, through benefit programs like the one offered by CHG-MERIDIAN. An online portal allows employees to order the latest multimedia devices for personal use by all the family without them being treated as a taxable benefit. On offer is the entire range of IT devices, often up to 400 items, required to work from home and for homeschooling. As the scheme receives tax relief from the government, there are no additional costs for the employer, while employees benefit from savings of up to 52 percent.
“Parents who are working from home and homeschooling face additional challenges, and many employers now recognize this. Not just because it may impact on productivity. They often also see it as an opportunity to enhance the employer’s image.”
The financial relief for employees is quite significant. Parents can also rest assured that their children’s homeschooling equipment is up to date for the next 24 months. In the event of damage, loss, or theft, a replacement is sent without delay directly to the employee’s home. At the end of the term, the devices can simply be returned or purchased.
More and more employers are increasing the attractiveness of their benefit program on their own initiative, for example by contributing up to 20 percent themselves. This is how it works: the employer covers the full lease payment and the employee covers the balance through a payroll deduction. In this case, savings of up to 72 percent are possible.
Just how hard employers are trying to attract employees in the battle for talent is evident in other approaches that are being widely discussed. For example, the idea of a one-off payment, such as an end-of-year or coronavirus bonus, which can also be factored in. The ultimate outcome is that less is deducted from the salary. Another option often mentioned recently is to reinvest the money the employer has saved on social security contributions and to use it to subsidize the benefits program.