Benefits & Leave 9 min

What is the Modern Benefits Stack for 2022?

Written by Nadia Vatalidis
August 20, 2021
Nadia Vatalidis


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If you’re like most business or people leaders, you’ve had to make changes in the way your business operates since March of 2020. Some of these changes may have been challenging, but others will have improved the way your teams work together, and helped your business to grow!

One of the most significant changes we’ve seen is the shift toward distributed teams and global hiring. Companies have realized there are huge advantages to hiring from a borderless talent pool.

Unfortunately, the knowledge and resources necessary to craft benefits packages for international talent haven’t kept up with the speed of hiring in most organizations.

Benefits are an essential part of the hiring equation. A well-planned benefits package shows your team members that you value and respect them. If some employees don’t get the same benefits as their peers because of where they live, the disparity can make them feel like they don’t belong in your organization, leading to issues with happiness and retention. Benefits challenges can also make you lose out on great talent in the hiring process.

With your company expanding across the world, you need a modern benefits stack fit for a global team. At Remote, we’re obsessed with crafting the best possible employee experience for our team, which spans hundreds of employees across dozens of countries.

I want to explain how we’ve built our modern benefits stack and how you can implement the right benefits framework to create a culture of empowerment, trust, and belonging.

Evolving standards for benefits

For companies hiring only in local markets, the conversation around benefits hasn’t changed much in recent years. But for many modern companies, which are increasingly distributed, the need for better benefits to attract and retain top talent has grown.

Until recently, many organizations have offered basic statutory and supplemental benefits for their local team members and the minimum statutory benefits required for compliance in other countries. Often, this is because they don’t have the right knowledge or resources to do more. However, that strategy creates two classes of employees, harming cohesion in the process.

Teams like Remote have been leading the way in practicing “fair equity,” which means making sure employees in every country have not only the statutory but also the supplemental benefits they need to thrive personally and professionally.

To practice fair equity in your organization, start by understanding what benefits are important in the countries where you’re hiring. Your employees in Brazil or Germany may have different needs than your employees in the United States, depending on what social services may or may not be available.

Then, ask your individual employees what their needs are. This could be through ongoing surveys (not just once a year) or one-on-one conversations. The goal should be to discover which benefits you can offer to support everyone within your company, not just those who live in certain countries. When every team member feels heard and supported, your organization will be able to grow to new heights!

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Components of a modern benefits stack

Once you’ve conducted some internal and external research to understand the needs of your employees, you can start constructing better benefits packages.

A typical benefits stack includes:

  • Healthcare

  • Dental and vision care

  • Pension or 401(k)

But a modern benefits stack should also include supplemental benefits like:

  • Flexible work hours

  • Paid leave policies, including parental leave

  • Mental health and wellness care

  • Home office allowance

  • Co-working allowance

  • Learning stipends

  • Travel insurance

  • Life Insurance

Let’s drill down into some of these supplemental benefits and how they can work for your global organization.

Flexible work hours

In the new age of work, flexibility is one of the most important benefits you can offer your employees. Flexibility goes beyond simply allowing people to work from home, which is now more of a norm than going to the office each day. Instead, flexibility means that employees don’t necessarily have to work specific hours that suit their organization. They can work at the times that suit their own needs and lifestyles.

Modern organizations should lean into asynchronous, flexible work and away from rigid Monday through Friday, 9-to-5 schedules for all workers. This is not only an incredible benefit but a necessity when you’re working with colleagues across many time zones.

Offering unlimited PTO has become a major point of conversation globally. Many tech companies offer this perk as a way to attract the best. However, simply offering unlimited PTO is not enough. You have to go a step further and be intentional about the way you structure and communicate your leave policies.

The first step is in understanding what’s required and what the cultural norms are around paid time off in the countries where you’re hiring. While the United States has no federal law requiring that employers give paid time off to their employees, 77% of employers in the US still offer some paid leave. In the European Union, employers are required to offer employees at least four weeks of paid leave, and many EU countries require more than the basic four weeks.

Due to these variances, offering a blanket PTO policy may seem like the best option for your global workforce. You still must be intentional with that policy, though, especially when you consider that employees in certain countries may feel uncomfortable asking for time off.

At Remote, we offer employees unlimited PTO with a 20 day minimum each year. Yes, employees must take at least 20 days off, no matter where they live! This time can be used to travel, spend with family, tend to obligations, or simply rest and recharge. We still encourage people to take more than the minimum, and we make sure employees in countries with higher minimums follow the law.

Policies like these are not just good for employees, but good for businesses. Vacations can increase performance by up to 80% in addition to showing employees they are valued and supported.

In addition to PTO, it’s also important to create locally compliant (in all the countries where you’re hiring) and comprehensive parental leave policies. That way, no one in your organization has to stress about managing work and personal finances when deciding to grow their family.

Also consider paid leave policies for employees who are experiencing traumatic experiences. Policies with mental health in mind are more important than ever, especially as we continue to live through a global pandemic. Bumble is a great example of this, having offered all employees a week off to deal with stress, grief, and burnout during COVID-19.

Mental health and wellness

While the need for mental health and wellness benefits is more apparent than ever, the need has always existed. The pandemic simply brought it to light and helped us start these conversations in the workforce.

Showing your employees that you care about their wellness starts with flexible work and paid leave policies. But more than that, you must consider what tangible resources you can offer to your team, like local therapy or coaching services.

At Remote, we’ve partnered with Modern Health to offer therapy, coaching, and self-guided mental health resources to our employees in dozens of countries. We also help our customers find the right mental health vendors for their international teams!

Home office stipends

If your employees were working alongside you in the office, you’d equip them with a comfortable desk, chair, monitors, and other equipment to optimize their work experience. The need for these supplies doesn’t change just because an employee works from home.

Don’t assume your employees already have everything they need. Our interviews with employees who started working remotely due to Covid-19 showed us that one of the biggest challenges was not having a proper desk, chair, or other equipment.

Consider offering a home office stipend to help employees get the things they need to thrive in their work lives. At Remote, we offer equipment stipends for desks and chairs in addition to equipment like laptops, external monitors, keyboards, mice, and webcams. If an employee requires additional accommodations to work from home due to a disability or health issue, we help them with those needs.

Budget isn’t everything

The biggest challenges we see companies encounter when trying to offer modern benefits packages are knowledge of local regulations, internal resources to figure out what people want and need, cultural fluency, and of course, budget.

If you are a growing business with a tight HR and people budget, you may not be able to go above or beyond statutory benefits for now. However, there’s a huge business case to be made for increasing your budget when possible.

Global hiring can present many challenges, but when every employee feels supported, equal, and welcome, that’s when magic can happen. Remote is an example of this. Our global team helped us achieve a $1B+ valuation in under two years, and our people team works hard to give back and demonstrate that we’re all in this together.

If you’d like to learn more about working with Remote for your global hiring needs, our people and hiring experts are here to help your business offer the best in modern benefits.

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