When Ben Meeder bought a new ride from a Pilsen bicycle shop earlier this summer, his employer footed the bill.
The purchase was part of a $700 stipend software company ServiceNow gave its employees to improve their well-being during the isolating and seemingly unending pandemic.
ServiceNow’s stipend increased from $500 in July, right around the time it became clear to many companies that employees would remain remote until at least 2021. ServiceNow is not alone.
Six months into the coronavirus pandemic and with no return to the office in sight, Chicago-area employers are realizing that working remotely through a global health crisis requires more than helping employees pay for a comfy office chair. They are investing in intangibles that can help with mental wellness, like exercise, online tutoring for kids, or sessions with a life coach.
Not every company is pouring money into their employees’ remote work setups. In the midst of an economic downturn and an ongoing unemployment crisis, the investments are a luxury not all can afford.
T-Mobile, which merged with Sprint earlier this year to create an 80,000-employee telecommunications company, offers employees five free sessions each with life coaches, personal counselors and money experts, as well as access to tutoring referrals and child care options. Use of virtual counseling sessions in 2020 increased 21 times over 2019.