Commuting can be a pain point for some employees returning to the office, so a Victoria, B.C.-based software company is considering several ways to incentivize employees to come into the workplace.
Redbrick is rolling out a $500 incentive that employees can use towards bicycles and cycling gear to encourage physical wellness and to offset the cost of the eventual return to the office. In addition, the company is also looking at employee discounts with local restaurants, as well as a gas allowance for employees who drive to the office.
“We know that for a lot of people, the cost of the commute — the parking, the gas — is a big consideration,” says Christine Tatham, vice-president of people and culture. “We’re a green company and we want to make that return to the office more welcoming.”
While Redbrick’s office space includes a gym, it’s offering gym discounts for employees who are opting to delay their return to the office — as well as fully-remote workers — so they can work out closer to home. Tatham notes the company is also redesigning its office space to include additional private work stations to replicate a remote-work feeling. While the new Omicron coronavirus variant has many employers once again rejigging return-to-office plans, Redbrick is taking a flexible approach — for now.
“We’re not forcing anyone to return to the office, we want it to happen organically through incentivization. . . . We’re still figuring out what hybrid means for us. Among our team members, there’s a handful of employees who aren’t comfortable returning to the office. It’s hybrid for them for now and we know things will continue to change. Everyone has a different level of comfort and all we can do is make them as comfortable as possible.”
In 2022, Redbrick is also introducing “personal significance days,” says Tatham, which formalizes a long-standing policy of allowing employees to take time off in lieu of statutory holidays. She notes employees also receive an additional week off during the holiday season and extended long weekends several times per year.
“For example, if Thanksgiving wasn’t something you celebrated personally, you could take another day that’s more relevant to you, to help you celebrate something personally significant, whether that’s a personal holiday or a religious holiday.”