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The remote working “Circus” is in town. Get your tickets now!

Working from home is turning into a lab where companies try a variety of sometimes weird things, to keep staff motivated. Here's the colorful choice of perks that some companies are offering

Innovid execs are hosting meetings with kids on their laps or showing off their pets One company is giving employees and family members Kindle e-books with access to unlimited free books Engine Group started a meditation series [email protected]

For remote workers, the home is one big laboratory for companies to experiment on techniques to improve the job experience. 

Today’s perks are no longer free concert tickets, business class travel, free meals, bonuses, child care and sick leave.

No.

Today, the remote working environment caused by the Coronavirus has changed the concept of perks and turned it into a circus. 

Read:  Maintaining a productive and healthy workforce during the Coronavirus pandemic

A juggling act

Babies, kids, cats and dogs (Lizards?). They never had to go to work with us, but now they do. Because work is from home, so they are bound to be in the picture, or making noise, or something.

And companies are doing something about it.

Some companies’ home perks include providing home-office budgets, entertainment packages for children, and psychotherapy sessions.  

Having children at home can also cause family clashes, and cybersecurity company Rapid7 has created a “Little Moose” academy for children, including math, science and reading e-learning courses, and is organizing story time over Zoom calls.

Innovid execs are hosting meetings with kids on their laps or showing off their pets.

The New York Times’ advertising team held a “pet parade” for everyone to show off their pets, according to Sebastian Tomich, SVP and global head of advertising solutions.

Exclusive: Implications of COVID-19 on UAE businesses and HR

Let’s get nimble 

Buffer, a social media management company focuses on well-being, and equips each of their remote workers with tools to do that. Every Buffer employee receives a free Jawbone UP (a device that tracks your sleep, exercise, and daily steps).

Fitness app ClassPass is providing private online classes to staff from companies such as Lyft and M&C Saatchi.

Agency group Havas Media Group is offering weekly high intensity interval training fitness classes and yoga lessons and has moved its coaching service online where staff can have half-hour personal development calls with a professional coach or psychotherapist. 

Read: Every organization has its role to play in combating the Coronavius crisis

Mental fitness

Buffer provides a work-life balance by giving employees and other family members Kindle e-books with access to as many free books as they want.  

Ad agency Isobel organizes a quiz featuring the home of an employee each week, with staffers having to guess whose home is being shown based on a series of clues.  

A survey at software company Salesforce showed that 36% of staff were reporting mental health issues, and it’s hosted top names such as Arianna Huffington, author and physician David Agus and mindfulness expert Jack Kornfield to address staff remotely. It kicked off with meditation classes.

2,000 staff of Havas used to being able to access a custom built “wellness lounge,” where they can meditate, relax or sleep. As employees now work from home, the company has created a virtual version, where “Wellness Wednesdays” feature hourly guided mediation and reiki.

Engine Group started a meditation series [email protected] The optional 15-minute sessions offer tips to get through their day with better mental and physical health.

Momentum Worldwide shared access to remote mindfulness, nutrition and fitness experts to support employees, said Chief Talent Officer Jennifer Frieman.

To give teams a break, SpotX’s employee experience specialist will ask questions or do quizzes to help employees get to know each other better. For example, staff submitted baby pictures and had to match the pictures with each employee.

Read: Covid-19 has launched the World’s Largest Remote Working Experiment

Let’s liven the show

At software company Citrix, staffers can do online volunteer work for the Smithsonian Institute, helping it transcribe historical documents and update Wikipedia pages.

One HR tech company provided staffers with a $250 working from home allowance and a bonus of half a month’s salary plus 20%, allowing staff to expense items such as cleaning products and facemasks, according to data from expenses software company AppZen.  

Laughter is often the best medicine. SmartyAds HR told employees to consider using ridiculous virtual backgrounds in Zoom while in meetings to razz co-workers.

MeetEdgar is a social media scheduling platform that has been a 100% remote company since day one. It covers the cost of a monthly full house cleaning for its employees.