Employee Benefits

Employee benefits is what we do. Discover the difference that a responsive, integrated and bespoke reward, recognition and wellbeing platform can make to your people.

Why one size doesn’t fit all with employee benefits

It goes without saying that not every workplace is the same. Nor is every employee the same. Therefore when it comes to benefits they should fit the needs of your people, right? According to the organisation Get Living, nearly three quarters of employees (73%) want a more tailored benefits package, so the proof really is in the pudding when it comes to bespoke employee benefits.

Why is it important to have a tailored benefits package?

Different workplaces can have different demographics, and often workplaces are a mix of people. Whereas one employee may lean towards discounts and health benefits, others may be more interested in leisure and lifestyle. No two people are the same, but there will often be more popular choices within the workplace.

One thing that all employees want is to feel heard. Feeling like their needs are being met and they are being acknowledged by their company can be empowering for them as individuals as well as a team. In fact, 82% of employees say that it’s important for their employers to see them as not just an employee, but a person. A key way to build this trust and employer-employee bond is to give them a return on their hard work in ways other than just their salary.

What types of benefits can I offer?

Enter My Staff Shop. Our priority is finding the best way to reward employees with meaningful benefits. By offering a huge range of discounts, from learning courses to supermarket shops, there will be something for everyone.

So how is this tailored? Well, you can add-on benefits to better suit employee needs. For employees that would like access to further healthcare benefits, MyHealthXtras is there to offer that extra support when it comes to health concerns. Having that added assistance there is just one less thing to worry about when going through difficult times.

Another fabulous benefit that you can add if you think your staff would value it is Spectrum, a platform that puts mental health and wellbeing first. With reports of such high levels of stress in the workplace – 76% of professionals from the Workplace Health Report – evidently there is a need for further wellbeing benefits. Spectrum has a wide selection of tools, from a digital gym to video sessions with a nutritionist, the aid in reaching health goals and prioritising mental health is there.

There are also options that individual employees can use to personalise their benefits. For example, with Reward Beans your staff can choose how to save or spend! Save for a holiday, treat yourself to a gift card, or set up an ISA to help reach those financial goals. However employees want to save a bit of extra money is up to them to decide!


The best employee benefits package is the one that fits your employees. To find out more, request a free demo and see for yourself just how great the My Staff Shop platform is. 

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Learning at Work Week 2023: Why is Peer to Peer Learning a Must?

It’s Learning at Work Week! So looking at peer to peer learning specifically, what is there to think about?

There’s plenty of skills, programs, and methods to be learned in the workplace, but how do staff actually pick up new information? Harvard Business Review found that 55% of employees seek help from peers when it comes to learning something new, proving that learning from superiors or external training is not the only effective way for your people to be enriched through the power of learning. Learning and Development is hugely important and should be considered a high priority for employers, as giving employees a sense of fulfilment, teaching them transferable skills, and boosting their value to the company are just a few of the benefits of workplace learning.

Why is peer to peer learning important?

There are loads of benefits to co-workers teaching one another skills. For a starter, it encourages inter-work relationships and helps to create a teamwork dynamic in the workplace. Building that foundation of trust and communication flows naturally with the teaching and learning process, so having this on top of new skills being picked up is a plus.

Another key benefit to peer learning is the influx of alternative perspectives. By learning from a different viewpoint and getting someone else to take their experience and pass it on, a fresh outlook can help to keep a workplace from feeling stagnant.

Keeping up to date with such quickly evolving information is another perk that comes with encouraging peer to peer learning. With such incredibly fast developing technology like AI making its way around work practices, having employees keep each other up to speed with the latest news and is a great way to prevent anyone from getting left behind.

Ultimately, by implementing peer to peer learning and promoting learning based engagement in the workplace, a more supportive, positive workplace culture can be created while expanding the existing skill set.

What methods of peer to peer learning are there?

Sounds simple enough, but what’s the practice behind the theory?

One method that has a certain structure to it is the ‘lunch and learn’ process. Periodically, perhaps once monthly, have a different employee put together a powerpoint presentation centred around a particular subject or skill. Encourage employees to bring snacks and drinks and take notelean towards a discussion based ‘seminar’. And as a bonus, this also is great presentation practice!

Finding out your employees strong (and weak) points can be very constructive in finding out what your team knows and what they could benefit from learning more of. By identifying ‘experts’ in particular areas, you can have those specialist staff share their knowledge and create a more well-rounded knowledge base.

It’s also worth considering which skills could be taught. While hard skills are often desirable, there are also soft skills, and skills that are more personal development or outside of the workplace that could ultimately build confidence and give staff something to bond over.

The chances are, you have some form of peer to peer learning in your workplace, especially when it comes to hiring new talent. We think creating a culture of teaching and peer to peer recognition is a healthy way to build working relationships. To learn more about Learning & Development, why not request a demo?


Five ways HR can help fight employee burnout and stress 

Occupational stress and employee burnout remain an issue for HR. In fact, in the UK, sick days cost the economy £14bn annually while mental health illness and work-related stress is losing UK businesses 23.3 million working days, and is responsible for almost half of all absenteeism cases (48%). 

Whether your people are feeling the effects of short term burnout or they are managing long term stress, this debilitating condition can have a devastating impact on a person’s mental, emotional and physical wellbeing at work – and will most certainly affect their ability to perform their job.

While no one can wave a magic wand to solve everyone’s problems, there are lots of things that HR can do to mitigate employee burnout and stress in the workplace:

1. Create a ‘talking culture’

Fostering the psychological safety of your people is paramount if you want to keep on top of absenteeism, quiet quitting and attrition and build resilience. By encouraging employees to maintain open lines of communication, creating a space for them to talk if they need to discuss any issues, and ensuring you have robust wellbeing policies in place to protect their interests will help them feel that their health is important to the business. The more open a company culture is, the less stigmatised people feel. Opening the discourse on subjects like menopause, fertility, men’s health and mental health can provide people with the confidence to turn to HR if they need support.

2. Set up an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

Employees need to feel that their employer has ‘got their back’ when times are tough. One simple thing they can do is to put an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) in place. Not only can this help employees who may be feeling burned out, stressed or worried about their finances but it can show them that their employer makes their wellbeing a priority. 

3. Explore wellbeing benefits

Whether you offer your people a digital wellbeing platform with access to things like meditation classes, yoga and fitness sessions, or somewhere that they can track fitness or wellness goals, placing a focus on health, nutrition and wellbeing and offering benefits that support these areas will create an uplift in mood. This feeds into the employee experience too, and provides that sense of security that people are searching for at the moment.

4. Prioritise mental health

If you want to show employees that their health is important, having ‘mental health first aiders’ is a good place to start. The organisation can provide accredited training and individuals can be taught to spot early signs of mental ill health as well as knowing how and where to signpost people so they access the correct resources and support they need. They can also provide a safe place to talk without any judgement.

5. Train your managers

Managing burnout and stress is about building trust and psychological safety into the organisational culture. Having managers replicate these positive behaviours is imperative if any wellbeing and mental health initiatives are going to be successful. Not having the tools, communication skills or understanding of complex issues can affect managers’ ability to effectively support their teams and can inadvertently compound the problem of stress and burnout. 

Providing training such as coaching or workshops on listening or communication skills, for example, can give managers the tools they need to help their teams deal with any stress issues early.

If you would like more information on setting up an EAP or digital wellbeing platform, fill in the contact form and one of our team will be in touch.

'Engaging with a Gen Z workforce' blog title overlaid by person on mobile

Engaging with a Gen Z workforce

The words ‘Gen Z’ can conjure up very different images depending on personal experience, but what is this latest age group making their way into the workforce? Generation Z is
the collective of people succeeding Millennials, born between 1997-2012, making them the late teens/early twenties group in workplaces. As this generation springs into adulthood and work, they are predicted to make up 27% of the workforce by 2025.

But with varying demographics comes differing needs; some employees may enjoy more luxury benefits, others may value the day-to-day perks. So what are ‘zoomers’, how do they fit into the workplace, and what do they desire in an employer?

Who are Gen Z?

Most people think of certain buzzwords and topics when it comes to Gen Z: social awareness, climate activism, cancel culture, and social media often come to the forefront. They are a generation that grew up as digital natives with rapidly developing technology, and are on track to be the UK’s most qualified generation (according to Open Study College data on higher education).

Growing up in such a fast-changing climate is bound to impact the way that Gen Z approach work, and ‘job hopping’ is a concern for HR. LinkedIn found that Gen Z are switching jobs at a rate of 134% higher than in 2019. So what can be done for staff retention and giving this generation what they want from an employer?

Which benefits and values do Gen Z consider important?

An unstable economy and rising political tension is an everyday reality for the younger generation, which has been heightened also by the Coronavirus pandemic. With so much going on outside of the workplace, there are certain requirements that many Gen Z candidates have that recruiters should be aware of.

Financial perks

Salary and financial perks are a big one. Young adults (including Millennials) have become known as Generation Rent, with people that have not got onto the property ladder now finding it near impossible to do so. Soaring house prices and increased interest rates have left young people feeling like home ownership is a pipe dream. Renting is the new buying, and the cost of living crisis in the UK has 3 in 10 people living paycheck to paycheck.

Wages don’t go as far as they used to even a few years ago, with supermarkets hiking up costs and gas prices up 129.4% up to March 2023, having savings at the end of each month is unattainable for many workers. Taking all of this into account, it’s not surprising that Gen Z are frustrated when they feel that their salary and what they can achieve with it doesn’t reflect their efforts.

While salary and hourly pay increases in the wake of such economic turmoil would be ideal, this isn’t feasible for a lot of companies. Providing financial perks can aid in the absence of pay increases, with offerings such as discounts for supermarkets and financial advice services being the next best thing. Being given the opportunity to think about the future and not just about the next rent payment makes such a difference. With benefits such as Reward Beans offering the option to transfer the virtual currency into an ISA, investing in the future can be made that little bit easier.

Mental health and wellbeing

A key way that the social landscape is being changed by Gen Z is with attitudes toward mental health. With Gen Z-ers reporting higher rates of anxiety, depression, and distress than any other age group, it’s no surprise that they are seeking help. Surveys by Gallup found that when looking at employers, young millennials and Gen Z value an organisation that cares about their wellbeing above all else.

By implementing a thorough Health and Wellbeing strategy, employees can be assured that they have somewhere to go should things ever get too much. Having a place to go and feeling supported by their workplace should be seen as a priority to both employer and employee, so showing staff that their feelings are valid and seen can help evolve the workplace culture.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

Social awareness is a huge part of what defines the younger generation, proven by a Monster survey finding that 83% of Gen Z prospective employees feel that a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is important. Having firm DEI policies in place, acting upon them, and routinely updating them is key to ensuring that the workplace doesn’t fall behind or become exclusionary.

Sensitivity training, attending relevant seminars, and anonymous surveys could all be used as tools to check in and create a progressive workplace culture that underpin employees’ psychological safety.

Ethical and sustainable practices

A generation being raised with the explicit knowledge of the climate crisis, the heavy feeling of impending doom and feeling helpless has led to climate anxiety becoming widely felt amongst young adults. Bupa found that 64% of Gen Z workers feel that it’s important for their employers to act on environmental issues. As such, employers taking the time to reflect and think carefully about how to create more sustainable business practices is a win for young candidates.

On top of this, awareness around ethical work practices is more talked about than ever, with 82% of employees across age demographics stating that they would be willing to accept less pay and work for a company with ethical business practices. So, transparency and focusing on creating a code of morality and prioritising the rights of workers is evidently huge for what prospective employees want.

Flexible working options

One change that came about during the Covid-19 pandemic that has stuck around has been more flexible working options. With many Gen Z workers having only experienced office work with more flexible working conditions, the thought of rigid hours and/or mandatory in-office work can seem overwhelming. Given the option to hybrid work is widely preferential, but for younger workers in particular it’s an attractive choice. In fact, McKinsey found that 18-34 year olds were 59% more likely to walk if hybrid working was taken away. So listening to the preferences of your workplace and being adaptable to the times can be a huge benefit for employing young talent.

Being able to tailor your benefits to what fits your workplace can make your people feel seen, so book a demo today to see how My Staff Shop can give staff what they actually want.

Blog title 'Get lucky! Our free lottery is just the ticket to boost employee morale', over flatlay of stars, confetti and trophy on yellow background

Get lucky! Our free lottery is just the ticket to boost employee morale

Everyone loves a freebie. My Staff Shop Members are even luckier than most.

On top of all the great employee benefits and discounts that are already offered, we provide additional workplace perks such as the free lottery online that each Member has the opportunity to benefit from.

Every month – exclusively on our Platform – Members can be in with a chance of winning our top prize which can be anything from a digital gift card to a stylish kitchen remodel or even a brand new car. This offers an additional way to motivate employees to activate their accounts and start saving.

So how does it work? 

The lottery is quick and easy to enter. Members who have activated their account are eligible to play and the open date for each free lottery is the first of the month. There is a simple task to complete such as searching for a graphic of a lottery ball hidden somewhere on the Platform. When it is located, the employee can select six numbers between 1-59 and once entered they will be in with a chance of winning an exciting prize.

Much like the National Lottery, prizes are given for three balls (usually 50 Reward Beans), four balls typically wins a digital gift card, five balls scoops, for example, the latest garden furniture set, and for the grand prize, a big ticket item such as a pair of Vespa Elettrica scooters will be up for grabs.

This free lottery online is run monthly and is super easy to enter and is another way you can reward employees. It can replace the weekly scratchcard or lotto tickets – all without spending a penny. Click here for a full list of the T&Cs.


If you want to discover more about working with us and offering your people this fantastic, free additional workplace perk, then fill in a form and a customer advisor will be in touch.

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10 ways self-care can help beat stress

We all get stressed, it’s part of life, but when it takes over, it is a sign that you need to take action. A UK-wide stress survey by The Mental Health Foundation found that almost three-quarters of adults (74%) have felt so stressed over the past year that they have become overwhelmed or unable to cope. Stress can be improved by building emotional strength and that is about gaining control over a situation that is causing you worry.

Here are things you can put into place that will improve your stress management and put you in a more positive frame of mind so you can work towards a solution.

1. Get active

Being active inside or out can make us feel more grounded and calm and is proven to lower the levels of the ‘stress’ hormone cortisol. Being around nature in particular can enhance your mental health, whether this is just a short walk in your local green space, a wander through a forest, or even getting out into the garden and doing some weeding. It can help you focus, improve sleep and feel calmer so you can better manage your stress.

2. Take control

If there is one thing that can improve stress it is feeling empowered to act and change your situation. If you think you cannot do anything about your problem, this loss of control is one of the main causes of stress and lack of wellbeing.

3. Connect with people

Having friends, family or colleagues around you to discuss any worries you have is essential. Not only do they provide alternative viewpoints or solutions, but being able to talk things through can help you gain clarity, relax, and ultimately help relieve feelings of stress.

4. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness offers an opportunity to stop, breathe, focus and ground yourself. It can be helpful to calm intrusive thoughts or scattered thinking. Why not take an opportunity to step away from your desk, rather than walking aimlessly, take a few moments to observe your environment. Notice all the different sounds like birds, leaves rustling, voices in the distance, earthy smells. Focus on the view in front of you and tune in to the sensation of the breeze on your skin. Breathe deeply and enjoy the stillness. It might not solve all your problems, but gives you a chance to reset your mind so you are better equipped to manage your stress.

5. Eat, sleep, repeat

Lack of sleep is another threat to wellbeing. Often stress can disrupt sleeping habits and this will impact your body’s ability to regulate cortisol, leading to high blood pressure. Quality sleep is also crucial for maintaining healthy levels of hormones that control appetite and blood glucose levels, so it pays to maintain a regular sleeping pattern. Exercise, a warm bath, unplugging from social media at least two hours before bed, and reading can all help you to unwind and give your body the signals it needs to prepare you for sleep.

6. Practice self-compassion

Self-compassion and self-care are things we can all do to help ourselves. Try not to give yourself a hard time for feeling low, the chances are the situation is only temporary and there will be a resolution eventually. Ask yourself ‘what do I really need right now?’ and see what comes up: maybe it’s a change of environment – step out into the garden; or you need to move your body – have a good stretch or go for a walk. It might be that you need to have some human connection in which case, ask a friend over for a cuppa; or simply give yourself a free pass to have a duvet day. Think about how you might treat a friend who was feeling low and apply this to yourself – be gentle and caring.

7. Have some “me time”

Instances of employee burnout are on the rise, and gender and age play a role in this prevalence; women and young people are more likely to report feeling prone to extreme stress or work pressures. One way to combat this is to take some time to do things you enjoy; this might be taking a walk, socialising, exercising, cooking, watching a movie or taking a holiday or long weekend break.

8. Get organised

Working smarter means prioritising your work, concentrating on the tasks that’ll make a real difference. Getting organised and managing your time better can all help you feel more productive and in control. Sometimes, it is a matter of accepting that you can’t complete everything – and that’s fine too.

9. Set yourself a challenge

Setting yourself goals and challenges, whether at work or outside, such as learning a new language, hobby or sport, can help build confidence. This may help you deal with stress better.

10. Build healthy habits

Turning to things like alcohol, caffeine or smoking is never going to help in the long term. Instead, starting a new hobby, taking up exercise or helping others can be a confidence booster and take your mind off your stressors.

If your company offers an Employee Assistance Programme, or digital wellbeing platform, make use of it and get the help you need, when you need it. Remember, there are resources available online from websites like the charity Mind, and mental health services such as Kooth or Shout offer text-based support too.

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Not all online benefits portals are equal – why My Staff Shop is better

So you’re looking into employee benefits platforms? Staff value employee perks that can help them everyday, so having a benefits programme in place makes for a great employee incentive. At My Staff Shop, we believe in useful benefits that people value, and offer the flexibility to choose the best benefits for your workplace. Let’s take a look at the benefits provided here at My Staff Shop.

Employee Assistance Programme

Having an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) in place can be a huge aid for staff, with counselling legal resources, and financial advice being just some of the personal support that’s provided. During difficult times, having external resources available to help can make a big difference to your team. By providing your staff with somewhere to go when they need help, problems that feel overwhelming can be reduced or even solved. We believe that having an EAP in place for employees is a critical offering.

Supermarket savings

During difficult and sustained periods of economic distress, having everyday perks for supermarkets and shops are generally appreciated. A report by the ONS showed that 90% of adults say that an increase in food shopping in early 2022 was the top reason for their cost of living going up. Discounts on the weekly supermarket shop can really add up, and being able to save a bit of money is on most people’s agendas these days.

Popular supermarkets are included within discounts and Reward Beans offers, so wherever your staff shop, they can find some savings. As much as fun and luxury items are a plus, daily costs being reduced is a genuinely helpful benefit for most people.

Health and wellness

With a focus on both physical and mental health and wellbeing, the My Staff Shop portal has a variety of tools and discounts that can assist your employee’s health journeys. From saving on the monthly gym membership to having access to discounted health programmes, there’s plenty of opportunity for members to take advantage of fabulous offers. What’s more, we’ve partnered with the digital wellbeing platform, Spectrum, to offer even more services specific to health and wellness.

Learning & Development

Progression and personal development should be opportunities available across the workplace, and by supporting and nurturing this, your office could benefit both from more fulfilled colleagues, and a more diverse skill set. With a huge range of heavily discounted courses, from British Sign Language to Adobe Illustrator, members could learn that skill they’ve always wanted to, or find something new as a passion project.

Reward Beans

Here’s where My Staff Shop is different from the rest. Our financial currency ‘Reward Beans’ is easy to save up, with the handy savings being available across a huge range of high street shops, supermarkets, health services, gym memberships, and more. Once you’ve collected some, you can cash out with a gift card or purchase – or even set up savings to go directly into your ISA.

Daily Offer

Check back daily to see what’s up for grabs, with a fabulous offer for limited time only! From free Gregg’s sausage rolls to fabulous discounts, by having a quick look each day, you could get your hands on some exclusive offers that brighten your day.


A small but powerful part of what we offer, our monthly lottery has some spectacular winnings, with previous prizes including a hot tub, new kitchen, and a car. For those that enjoy a weekly scratchcard or occasional lottery ticket, this free lottery itches that scratch; just pick some favourite numbers and save a few coins in the process.

Price Drop

This feature on the portal is similar to a Dutch auction, offering up a fantastic experience daily that drops in price until someone purchases. Huge savings could be made, with thrilling experiences offering up some inspiration for that perfect getaway. Examples of previous price drops include a spa break, hotel stay, and a bungee jump all purchased at a significant discount.

My Health Xtras

The option to add on My Health Xtras is there for employers, if healthcare is a high priority benefit for your place of work. With insurance solutions there as a safety net to support your staff, this benefit could be seen as one of the more important offerings available. In fact, 9 out of 10 employees name health as their top life priority, so having employers that take this seriously can be seen as a huge win.

If you’re ready to learn more about the My Staff Shop Platform, you can request a demo and see for yourself the amazing workplace rewards at your fingertips.
'On your bike: why cycle to work schemes are having 'a moment', blog title overlaid against image of red and white bike wheel against turquoise wall

On your bike: Why cycle to work schemes are having ‘a moment’

With wellbeing topping the list of the most popular benefits that companies are seeking, it appears the humble cycle to work salary sacrifice scheme is back in favour.

Employers wanting to engage their people in healthy habits that make them feel good – and tick the sustainability box too are returning to this tried and trusted initiative; adding it to an increasingly wellbeing-focused benefits package aimed at supporting their people’s mental and physical health.

Since the programme was first introduced by the government way back in 1999 as a means of promoting healthier journeys to work and tackling climate change, more than 1.6 million commuters across 40,000 businesses have taken advantage of the initiative.

How does the Cycle to Work scheme work?

 The Cycle to Work is part of the government’s Green Commute Initiative, an FSA accredited salary sacrifice scheme in which an employer purchases a bicycle (electric or traditional) and cycling equipment on behalf of an employee in order for them to be able to commute to work. The employee then pays the employer back for the bike over a period of time – typically 12 months, but this time frame is flexible.

Initially the scheme was limited to £1000, but now there’s no upper amount to a Cycle to Work scheme. As long as the organisation is happy to purchase the bike and the employee is able to sacrifice that portion of their salary then there’s no limit to the options of bike available under the scheme. The discount off a brand new state-of-the-art bike and cycle equipment will be at least 32 percent.

In addition, employees can also claim 20p for every mile cycled for work (although not to and from work). What’s more, should employees’ bikes need any repairs they can now claim £50 back from HMRC.

Where can employees buy their bikes from?

There are many outlets that support Cycle to Work schemes and each scheme will have a list of participating shops listed on its website. And more niche shops also offer schemes so employees are not restricted in the brands they can opt for.

The benefits of a Cycle to Work scheme

The renewed interest comes as companies increase their focus on employees’ physical wellbeing and health programmes to promote exercise and self-care, as well as supporting sustainability goals to help reduce CO2 emissions.

In fact according to mental health charity, Mind, one in four of us will experience mental health problems in any given year. One of the easiest mood lifters can be a simple bike ride. Cycling can:

Reduce stress: Exercise, in particular aerobic exercise can reduce cortisol levels and reduce tension, and as stress is a major trigger for depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders, cycling provides a simple means of managing symptoms.

Reduce anxiety: Endorphins, also known as the ‘feel good hormones’, are released while cycling these can reduce anxiety and lift your mood.

Fight depression: As mentioned exercise is a mood booster and regular exercise (three or more times a week) is known to reduce the risk of developing depression.

Promote mindfulness: Getting out into the fresh air and the rhythmic motion of cycling can help quieten thoughts and clear the mind.

Build self-esteem: Cycling can provide a sense of satisfaction and purpose as well as self-confidence as fitness improves. Eco-anxiety is something that Gen Z in particular suffers with but doing your part for the environment can help promote a sense of empowerment.


To learn more about how your organisation can benefit from the Cycle to Work scheme, fill in the form and one of our advisors will talk you through the options.


Is hybrid working the way forward? – Why flexible working will stick in 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly changed many aspects of our lifestyles, but some of those day-to-day differences have had a lasting effect. While working from home was a key element of tackling the virus, for many businesses it highlighted the fact that for many, being in the office every day isn’t the only way to get things done.

Make way for hybrid working: A flexible working model that allows employees to split time between working from home and being in office. Perhaps unsurprisingly, meeting in the middle and following a hybrid working model has been shown to be a top preference for UK employees in 2022, as opposed to being permanently either in the office or at home. Here’s what the perks and pitfalls are and why it’s going to stick in 2023.


Why has hybrid working been making waves?

For many nine to fivers, pre-pandemic work life has been a repetitious daily routine, desperately clinging to evenings and weekends to be able to do housework and run errands. This is a recipe for burnout. It’s as simple as cutting out that commute a few days a week and being able to complete housework during lunch breaks that can help ease that overwhelming feeling of life getting on top of you.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, 65% of employers either offered no option for regular work from home, or offered it to less than 10% of their workforce. While this wasn’t a popular working model before 2019, working from home became a necessity to effectively quell the spread of the virus, and this proved that a range of industries can facilitate working from home. For many companies, it’s as simple as sending employees home with a laptop.

It’s become apparent that many employees value flexible working such as a hybrid work week. In fact, in February 2022, 84% of those who had to work from home said that they planned to go forward with a split between home working and being in the workplace.

This being said, not all employers, and indeed not all employees, want to work from home, and in certain industries it’s far less practical to do so. As many as nine in 10 organisations offer some form of EAP while research from HR Expert found that counselling services have had the largest take-up of EAP offerings provided by employers over the last three years within UK organisations.

Pros and cons

As with being fully in the office or entirely working remotely, there are benefits and drawbacks to hybrid working. Of course this is also dependent on the specifics of the hybrid model ­– if it’s the ‘3-2’ setup of having three days in office and two days at home, this puts a majority of time in the office, potentially easing concerns of unproductivity or a lack of socialisation. The selected office days can also affect how well it works for the workplace – for example does your office follow a Monday, Wednesday, Friday pattern, or go through Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday in office?

It also makes a big difference if there are set office days versus leaving it up to employees to choose their work days. While the flexibility can be beneficial, coming into an empty office can feel like a waste of time.

So let’s take a look at the pros and cons of hybrid working, both for the employer and the employees:



  • Save money on commuting. No more shelling out for petrol or bus passes, this benefit could also open up opportunities for jobs that otherwise wouldn’t be considered, e.g. someone not able to commute to London daily but able to go into the city two or three times a week instead
  • Enables a healthier work-life balance, good for wellbeing
  • Hybrid working could prove especially beneficial for employees with disabilities – disabled employees were found to be 11% more likely to prefer a hybrid work model
  • Ability to do housework/errands outside of evenings or weekends (think being able to pop to the bank in your lunch hour rather than taking a half day off!)
  • Save money by making lunch at home
  • Be home for children coming home from school, tradesmen, post
  • Being around for pet care if you have a cat, dog, or other dependent animal
  • Skipping that commute means more sleep
  • Physical comfort – being able to have the heating on how you like or the windows open if you prefer, without having an office debate. Also being able to wear loungewear (as long as you don’t have any important Zoom meetings!)


  • Employers can save on bills, not needing to pay for electricity, heating and water five days a week can ease financial stress for the company
  • Have happier employees that are more likely to give back, and more willing to help out
  • If increasing salaries isn’t a possibility, at least by giving employees more freedom and saving money on the commute it could help with employee retention and staff satisfaction



  • Less socialising, so that team bond could be compromised if there are too few office hours with everyone in – although monthly team-building social activities may be a way to combat this
  • Not having a suitable office space at home could be a problem – noisy neighbours or a lack of desk could compromise the quality of work
  • While office bills could be reduced, at home bills could increase
  • More stationary lifestyle without commuting – equally though, there is an opportunity to use the lunch break to do a home workout or run
  • Having to cart a laptop, keyboard, headset, and any other equipment to and from the office can be a pain
  • Some people simply prefer being in office


  • Difficulty with training as it’s always easier in person
  • Communicating effectively, which can make group projects especially difficult
  • Appropriate equipment is needed – taking things back and forth can be a security risk and require insurance
  • Limitations for certain industries – the hybrid working model may work better for some businesses more than others
  • Potential for certain people to be less productive – although this one could go either way depending on a lot of factors. In a survey of eight thousand people by Gallup, employees actually said they felt that they were more productive with hybrid working.

Hybrid working doesn’t look like it’ll be disappearing anytime soon, but of course working models are entirely subject to individual businesses. Finding a way that works for both employers and employees is key, and this can have a big impact on employee satisfaction.


If keeping your employees happy is a high priority, consider going for an employee benefits portal that offers desirable rewards and useful perks. Contact us to request a free demo of our platform.

Seven ways an EAP can support employee mental health and wellbeing

Seven ways an EAP can support employee mental health and wellbeing

Employee mental health and wellbeing is an ongoing concern for organisations that are now tasked with managing the effect that the pandemic and the recent socio-economic turbulence has had on the workforce.
With so much impacting how people feel about themselves, and how their personal circumstances are contributing to their engagement at work, there is no longer any excuse for organisations not to  put some form of health and wellbeing support in place.

How can employers support employees during periods of difficulty?

An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) offers 24-hour access to free, confidential advice and support from mental health and wellbeing professionals in order to help employees manage any personal and work-related problems they may be experiencing. 

It is paid for by the employer and is one of the most effective ways in which organisations can help their people. A good EAP can boost employee motivation and engagement, improving morale as workers feel they are valued and their mental health and wellbeing is a priority for their employer.

As many as nine in 10 organisations offer some form of EAP while research from HR Expert found that counselling services have had the largest take-up of EAP offerings provided by employers over the last three years within UK organisations. 

So, what tangible help does an EAP offer employees?

  1. Confidential and free advice

From short-term counselling services, advice on finances and legal issues or childcare support, everything discussed is kept private and will not be reported to employers. Data privacy is key to the success of an EAP, and organisations are duty bound to honour the confidentiality code.

  1. Quick access to therapy

Recent research from The Royal College of Psychiatrists found that almost a quarter (23%) of those suffering with mental health problems have to wait more than 12 weeks to start treatment. Whether it is telephone counselling, career coaching, or advice on managing anxiety, an Employee Assistance Programme offers access to professional support from accredited counsellors and specialists – without the NHS waiting lists or high costs associated with private treatment.

  1. Bereavement and trauma support

With mental health experts and those trained in advising on subjects like bereavement and trauma support, employees can receive professional advice in order to help them process whatever issues they are dealing with. This can involve specialist psychological support where applicable.

  1. Debt management advice and assistance

As people’s finances continue to be squeezed, an EAP is a lifeline for employees struggling financially. Debt specialists can facilitate repayment programmes, consolidate existing debt or advise on plans to help your people better manage their money as well as provide advice on any mental health issues associated with financial worries.

      5. Legal advice and support 

The free, legal support and advice that can be accessed through an EAP can be particularly beneficial for people who might be dealing with consumer issues, settling refunds, legal concerns including divorce, child maintenance or custody cases.

     6. Triage for employee wellbeing

From hospital treatment to emotional wellbeing issues, being able to discuss worries and receive professional and practical support in a safe, confidential and non-judgemental space can be invaluable to employees. An EAP will signpost the individual to the relevant services so they can start exploring the issues and access any support they need.

      7. Childcare and eldercare support 

Workers can find advice and information on all aspects of childcare and eldercare as well as emotional support if needed. This extends to family members and can include help for older relatives or offer advice for children and young adults on topics like anxiety, exam stress and behavioural issues. 



For more information on setting-up an Employee Assistance Programme, fill in our contact form and one of our advisors will be in touch.

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