The coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally changed the way businesses operate. As employees transition to working remotely, companies need to consider new ways to support them from home, build community, and tailor benefits packages to their needs.

Many companies are already seeing the benefits of a remote work model and considering a partial or full long-term transition to working from home. A Gartner survey in March of 317 CFOs found 74% expect at least 5% of their employees who previously worked in the office to remain permanently working from home after the pandemic ends. Since then, companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Slack, and more have already announced plans to keep at least some of their staff working for home. Also according to Owl Labs, while 77% of employees surveyed are currently working from home due to the coronavirus, 81% think their employers will support them continuing to work from home after the pandemic.

How food fits into work from home life

As companies transition to a remote work model, they need to adjust their benefits packages to better support the needs of their employees. To learn more about what employees want in their benefits packages, this September DoorDash conducted a comprehensive survey of 1,000 working Americans. 

Through the survey, we found 80% of employees consider the ability to eat at any time one of the top advantages of working from home. Of those surveyed, the most respondents (38.9%) said they spend approximately the same amount of money on food compared to before COVID-19, with the highest number of those surveyed (32.9%) saying they spend the same on takeout.

DoorDash for Work, our corporate meal solution to help companies better support their employees through food rewards, gives your employees access to all restaurants on DoorDash and Caviar in the U.S. and Canada. Over 200 businesses, including Charles Schwab and Hulu, have already incorporated DoorDash offerings into their HR benefits. Here are some other benefits of offering food rewards to your employees we learned from our survey:

Adding food rewards to HR benefits package could attract and retain better talent

85% of those surveyed said regular food delivery would increase their job satisfaction and 9 out of ten employees missed at least one food-related benefit now that they work from home. In fact, more than 1 in 5 employees (21%) rank daily free food delivery as the #1 benefit they desire, above improved or lower cost health insurance, additional vacation, and transportation stipends. Despite the appetite for work from home food benefits, 3 in 5 employees still receive no food benefits, up from 2 in 5 from before the pandemic.

With the new subscription service, DashPass for Work, your employees receive unlimited free delivery fees and reduced service fees while having access to hundreds of thousands of restaurants across DoorDash and Caviar. By adding this service to your employee benefits package, you not only improve employee satisfaction, but also invest back into the restaurants and cafes in your local community. 

Keep in mind, 55.4% of American workers said they would be jealous if they heard their friends or family received workplace food benefits, so these are not only the best company perks, but also a way to get the word out about how great it is to work for your business. Some other company perk examples include treating work anniversaries like birthdays, peer pals programs to create time for bonding remotely, and incorporating well-being programs into your HR benefits.

Incorporating food benefits could help employees feel more connected

A new survey by the SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) found a third of HR professionals are having trouble maintaining company culture due to the coronavirus pandemic. In our survey, we found 76% of employees say “eating and socializing with colleagues” is their most missed food-related benefit, showing how much your employees miss enjoying a meal together now that they’re working from home. 

As you look for ways to create a remote company culture, bringing back time spent enjoying food together–even over Zoom–could be a solution. DoorDash for Work’s Expensed Meals are an easy way to offer food benefits that can be redeemed from home. Through this program, you can offer employees a flexible spending budget they can redeem at restaurants across the country. Whether it’s at a monthly all-hands or an internal team training, you can offer food rewards to your employees to make the experience feel a little more normal as they adjust to this new way of work. Here are some other ideas to offer the best company perks and improve your remote work culture.

Prevent employee burnout

It’s no secret that the past year has been difficult for a lot of people, and many workers are facing burnout because of it. A recent survey from Indeed showed that 52% of respondents are feeling burned out, and more than two-thirds of them believe that burnout has gotten worse over the course of the pandemic.

A strong, supportive company culture can help bring employees together and help them feel like they’re not alone. Look to programming and benefits that help your team feel like they have a community at work. Consider planning regular no-work events that enrich employees and counter burnout. For example, sponsor a virtual cafeteria with a paid meal so employees never have to “sit alone” during lunch, even while they’re remote, or host weekly meditation sessions to help your staff find a moment for mindfulness during the day.

There are lots of ways to spice up your work-from-home lunches and turn them into an opportunity to entertain and inspire—and kick the idea of the “sad desk lunch” to the curb. These low-lift activities can go a long way in helping employees refresh and recharge.

Set your employees up to be more successful at work

In a Qualtrics survey, 42% of employees reported their mental health has been impacted since the start of the pandemic. While there are many benefits to working from home, there are many challenges facing employees today. Whether trying to get their kids to finish their virtual learning homework or needing extra time to make lunch before a business call, there’s a lot of distractions that shorten the time available to get work done. In fact, 49% of those surveyed said they’ve had at least one work failure, including missing a deadline, a call, or other work matter, due to a need to prep food for themselves or family. This number jumps to 53% for those who have children. By incorporating food rewards into your HR benefits you give your employees back time, reducing the stress of their everyday lives, and helping them manage their workloads with at-home family responsibilities.

Contribute to workforce gender equality

The pandemic has impacted the workforce in surprisingly gendered ways, hitting women harder than men. In fact, nearly 2.4 million women have exited the workforce since last February, compared with only around 1.8 million men—and 100% of the 140,000 U.S. jobs lost in December 2020 belonged to women.

A recent Fortune article attributes this disparity to the “increased burden of unpaid care” that women systemically falls on women: more shopping, cooking, cleaning, and caretaking for kids and elderly parents. Since the pandemic, mothers are 1.5x more likely to have added 3 or more hours of housework and caregiving a day to their schedule—adding up to 20 or more hours a week. Under all this pressure, nearly 1 in 4 women are considering leaving the workforce or downshifting their careers, compared to 1 in 5 men.

Supplying food rewards can ease some of this burden, taking food prep and dishes for themselves or their family off your employees’ to-do lists, while decreasing the mental load that comes with meal planning. Benefits like these can contribute to employees feeling supported—and more likely to stay at your company.

Support the caregivers on your team

Not only do meal perks support employees with children, they can also be helpful for employees who are caretakers to elderly parents. A recent study from Care.com found that 89% of adult children were considering switching from a nursing home to in-home care—meaning that some of your employees are likely to be spending more time caring for their parents at home, even if they don’t consider themselves full-time caregivers.

In a new U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study 2021 from MetLife, 62% of people surveyed said a non-traditional company perk they were interested in was caregiver benefits. While businesses should consider the usual paid time off allowances for caregiving, food rewards can also support the overall emotional and physical wellness of your employees. It’s one less thing for your staff to think about in the middle of the day, and can contribute to their overall work-life satisfaction.

Increase productivity and happiness throughout your company with food perks

Not only can food rewards help to reduce work-from-home fumbles, according to our survey, 3 out of 4 employees said it would also make them more productive. In fact, over 57% said they’re too busy to take a full hour lunch break and nearly half of employees (46.5%) say they rarely or never take a full hour lunch break even though they are now working from home. In other words, even though people no longer have to commute, they’re still feeling too busy during the day to take a break and reset at lunch. 

One solution is employee gift cards. 82.4% of those surveyed said they’d feel more satisfied at work if their company offered free food delivery cards. With DoorDash’s Employee Gift Cards, you can offer your employees a chance to buy themselves a meal from their favorite restaurant when they have an extra busy day or on a special occasion. For example, Zoom uses DoorDash for Work to celebrate team members’ birthdays–another great opportunity to have your employees spend time celebrating together.

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Boost immunity

Eating the right foods can improve your employees’ immunity, helping them stay healthy and productive. Providing meal benefits can help make healthy eating easier for employees to access—instead of spending time researching and planning, they can rely on restaurant offerings that have been specifically designed to boost immunity, like ordering from a health food cafe. 

This is especially important as access to the Covid vaccine becomes more prevalent. Eating a diet of low-inflammatory foods that support overall gut health can lead to a better response to the vaccine, helping employees get back on their feet faster once they’ve gotten poked. A healthy diet can also benefit your employees year-round, from pollen-filled allergy season to the holidays when travel and family stress are running high.

Not only does better immunity mean fewer sick days, it also contributes to overall company morale. When employees feel better physically, they’re more likely to feel better emotionally—and have more energy to bring to the workplace. When your team is well, it’s a win-win for everyone.

Say thanks to your essential workers

For those who put themselves on the line to keep our country working every day, it’s hard to imagine the extra stress they have on their shoulders. One way to show your appreciation is through DoorDash for Work’s Group Orders, which is a reliable, safe and delicious way to feed your essential team members. Once you choose a preselected restaurant, you can allow each member of your team to independently input their meal of choice. Then, everyone’s orders are aggregated into a single shopping cart, charged to one company expense account, and delivered all at once. Each order comes individually-wrapped with each employee’s name on their order to safely dish out this food reward. Talis, a company dedicated to developing high-performance point-of-care diagnostic tests for infectious diseases–including for COVID-19, has already been using Group Orders to show their staff their appreciation for their hard work during this difficult time.

As our own way of showing our support to essential workers, in April DoorDash partnered with Mount Sinai, New York City's largest academic medical system, donating free DashPass subscriptions to its 42,000 healthcare employees, including first responders, medical personnel, and hospital staff.

Food rewards are an important part of HR benefits

As you continue your search to offer the best company perks, consider how food rewards can improve your overall benefit package, increase productivity, and work performance. Improve your employee satisfaction today by contacting us to learn more about all our amazing food rewards. Still exploring ideas? Keep track of everything to evaluate when updating your employee wellness program by downloading this checklist and guide designed specifically for businesses like yours.

employee-wellness-checklist

*Survey Methodology: This sample of 1000 adults (18 years or older) was surveyed between September 16, 2020 and September 18, 2020. Responses were restricted to individuals who are employed for wages. DKC Analytics conducted and analyzed this survey with a sample procured using the Pollfish survey delivery platform, which delivers online surveys globally through mobile apps and the mobile web along with the desktop web.

author-kristenvannest
Kristen Van Nest
Writer

Kristen Van Nest is an L.A.-based freelance B2B writer with bylines in Forbes, HuffPost, and VentureBeat to name a few. As a former Fulbright Scholar and Newsroom Columnist for the British Chamber of Commerce’s publication in China, she specializes in market trends and strategies businesses can use to grow. Her free time is spent ordering in dumplings and honeycomb ice cream and writing funny content to make people laugh.