February 7, 2024

Corporate benefits evolution: From ping-pong to earned wage access

Not long ago, in-office perks like ping-pong tables, free lunches, gym access, and fully stocked snack bars were the hottest thing in corporate benefits. 

But most employees have different priorities today because work itself looks different for many workers. 


COVID-19 played the most significant role in this change. 

Today’s employees want to work remotely 

According to United States Census Bureau data, the number of people working from home between 2019 and 2021 tripled from 9 million to almost 28 million. 

Millions still enjoy this flexibility. According to a Forbes article last year, 12.7% of employees work from home full-time, and another 28.2% follow a hybrid model. For even more people—98%—this kind of flexibility is their preference.  

These numbers alone don’t tell the whole story, though. 

Approximately 57% of workers said they would look for a new job if their current employer didn’t allow remote work.  

Regarding productivity, 35% say they felt more productive when working remotely, and 32% of hybrid workers reported they would take a pay cut to work remotely full-time. 

All these numbers send a clear message. Employees don’t just prefer the freedom and flexibility of remote work; they’re willing to leave their current jobs to get what they want—even if it means making less money. 

The old ping-pong table doesn’t stand a chance against that. 

But COVID-19 is only one catalyst for this change. 

How different generations think about corporate benefits and perks 

Five generations comprise today’s workforce: Silents, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z. That’s more generations than at any other time. The reasons for this range from increased life spans and changing economics to technological developments and new norms about retirement.  

Put that many generations together, and you’ll find that each one has different priorities when it comes to work. 

For example, a survey by Forbes found that Millennials and Gen Z are more likely to link flexibility with job satisfaction. Millennials also rate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs higher than other generations, while Gen Z rates pay equity higher. 

Millennials and Gen Z are also more likely than other generations to say they’re unhappy with their current job—which is bad news when you consider Millennials make up the most significant chunk of the workforce now, with Gen Z set to overtake Baby Boomers as early as this year, according to Glassdoor.  

But it isn’t just the youngest members of the workforce driving change. As more of Generation X care for aging parents, they share the need for greater flexibility, plus benefits related to eldercare. 

With these differing priorities, companies are more incentivized than ever to look beyond yesterday’s perks. 

The increase in lifestyle benefits in 2024 and beyond 

One priority every generation shares is for a people-first culture. That kind of culture looks different from ping-pong tables, pizza parties, and nap pods. 

Will a ping-pong table help you learn a new skill you can carry to a new role? Not unless you’re thinking of going pro. 

As one article points out, we’ve blended our personal and professional lives in ways we didn’t before. In this more blended world, supporting your team’s physical, mental, and financial well-being is the best way to attract, engage, and keep employees. 

That’s why lifestyle benefits have taken center stage in the last few years. They’re compatible with the freedom and flexibility employees want and provide much-needed support in areas employees care about. They also send another message—what’s important to you is important to us. 

How lifestyle benefits help employers 

The shift toward lifestyle benefits isn’t just good for employees; it’s also good for employers. 

In-office perks restrict your ability to find the best talent by limiting you to candidates in your area. You can cast a wider net for talent when you disconnect your perks and benefits from a single location. 

Lifestyle benefits are also more cost-effective when compared with other popular perks from the past. MarketWatch reports that half of companies may cut some of their more expensive benefits, for example. That includes companies like Google and Meta, which are famous for what they offer employees. 

Companies embracing more cost-effective options can reduce their tail spend without jeopardizing their ability to attract, engage, and keep talent. 

Why are more companies adopting earned wage access? 

Mental health benefits have been extremely popular, as have benefits promoting professional development. 

Another area that gained importance last year was financial well-being. 

With higher interest rates and inflation, companies are incentivized to provide employees with solutions that help them financially. 

Earned wage access (EWA) is one example of a financial benefit that’s becoming more popular. EWA allows workers to stream part of their wages to a payroll card or bank account in between pay periods. It’s not a loan; it’s just an employee’s hard-earned money when they need it. 

Here are some benefits of offering EWA to your employees: 

  • Employees can access their wages anywhere from a computer or smartphone. 
  • More employees, from corporate workers to frontline employees, can use it. 
  • It’s affordable for companies of all sizes and industries. 

As a payroll partner to over 900 organizations, we offer our own EWA solution as part of a comprehensive financial well-being package called myFlexWallet.  

Below are some stats highlighting how this feature has helped businesses and their employees. 

  • On average, our EWA customers recruit new employees 27% faster. 
  • These customers also reduced turnover by 16%. 
  • 90% of employees using our EWA solution say their financial situation has improved. 

Combined, these figures point to OSV’s EWA solution as an affordable and effective way for employers to change their perks strategy and meet employees where they are. 

Are you rethinking your benefits strategy this year? 

Onsite perks and amenities don’t have the same draw they used to, not with more employees prioritizing flexibility. What most workers want instead are perks and benefits that address everyday needs. 

There are myriad ways of doing this, from mental health resources and professional development to financial well-being solutions. 

Earned wage access is one way of helping employees. It’s affordable, and everyone in your company can benefit from it. 

At OneSource Virtual, we’ve made it easy for companies to offer this solution by seamlessly including it—and other financial well-being solutions—with our broader payroll service offerings. 

Explore our myFlexWallet solution to learn more about what’s possible. 

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