What Perks Bring Hybrid Employees Back Into the Office? 3 NYC Companies Weigh In.

Professionals at three NYC companies shared what makes their approach to hybrid work and what keeps employees motivated to come into the office.

Written by Lucas Dean
Published on Jan. 19, 2023
What Perks Bring Hybrid Employees Back Into the Office? 3 NYC Companies Weigh In.
Brand Studio Logo

While full-time remote work has its fair share of perks — flexibility, no commute, the comforts of home — there are some benefits only an office can offer. 

Many of these advantages are encapsulated by the proverbial water cooler. Each office has high-traffic gathering points that foster social connectedness through casual chats, and the effects of these moments are difficult, if not impossible, to reproduce in a work-from-home environment. 

Hobby and interest-based Slack channels and Zoom trivia might attempt to fill this gap, but they lack the office water cooler’s organic, spontaneous nature. According to a 2022 Finance Buzz survey, the two most significant downsides of remote work were employees feeling isolated and difficulty building relationships with coworkers.

As more organizations go hybrid, however, leaders hope the remote-era struggles with isolation will evolve into increased connection and engagement. And beyond the physical office’s atmosphere of socialization and collaboration, some forward-thinking companies are offering distinct perks to get employees excited about being in the office again.

At Ethic, for instance, employees are encouraged to create a hybrid schedule that suits their needs. In addition, Associate Director of People Operations Jennie LaCourt explained that the company just moved to the top two floors of a new office space in Tribeca, with “fabulous views” and “spacious desks” for everyone. At Harry’s, Senior Manager, Employee Experience Sara Keller reported a plethora of perks, including Wednesday and Thursday catered food, free Harry’s products and “plenty of cold brew,” among many other benefits. Meanwhile, Frontify People Operations Manager Pavitra Bindra said the company leans into hosting exciting in-person events and monthly pancake brunches. 

While some semblance of remote work is here to stay, many companies are adopting hybrid work arrangements that capture the best of both worlds. And for employees who may be on the fence about a part-time return to the office, some perks can only be taken advantage of in person. 

Built In NYC spoke to the engaging professionals at Ethic, Harry’s and Frontify to learn more about their hybrid work models and the perks that are bringing employees back to the office. 

At these companies, the benefits of the office extend far beyond water cooler chats. 

 

Harry’s team members watch a show in a casual communal space.
Harry’s Inc.

 

Sara Keller
Sr. Manager, Employee Experience • Harry's Inc.

 

Harry’s is a consumer packaged goods company known for high-quality grooming products that don’t break the bank. Harry’s and Flamingo, the company’s women-focused brand, develop and bring a wide range of personal care products to market.

 

Tell me about Harry’s hybrid work approach. 

At Harry’s, we understand that the world and people’s working styles have changed, and that’s okay! Seventy percent of our team members are now hybrid-first, meaning we expect they’ll be in-office two to three days per week. We encourage everyone to check calendars to maximize onsite time with cross-functional partners and colleagues, but the key is that individuals and their managers have the choice and flexibility to decide when is best for them. Sometimes this means 75 percent of the company is here at once, and sometimes it means a specific team picks a quieter day to workshop a new idea. 

There are only a handful of people who are onsite daily. Those people either have jobs that require it — like facilities — or genuinely have a better work experience and access to better tools when they’re here.

 

What perks and benefits are you offering in-office employees?

We try to make coming to work as enjoyable as we can — a fully stocked snack pantry, casual dress code and plenty of cold brew. Every Wednesday, we provide a full spread of New York bagels to pair with our town hall-style team meeting, and every Thursday, we offer free lunch delivered from local restaurants. We also try to think of the office itself as a perk; it’s a friendly and relaxed space that’s well-located and has lots of natural light. And, of course, there are plenty of free Harry’s products!

Additionally, we focus a lot of our programming on bringing people together. Whether we’re trick-or-treating through the desks or volunteering to clean up a local park, a big driver for employees returning to the office is that they honestly want to be around their colleagues. One of our top benefits is how wonderful our people are.

While we offer some “perks” that are onsite only, we try to keep the playing field level for those who are remote-first.”

 

What else is Harry’s doing to entice employees back to the office? Are there any benefits or perks being offered to help this transition?

We try to approach everything with a people-first mentality. No amount of free lunch or comfy couches will bring people back to the office if it’s a place that has a negative impact on productivity or well-being. We try to lead with communication and flexibility and aren’t shy about piloting new ideas — and being transparent with them. We’ve made changes to the physical space to improve safety and partnered with an epidemiologist to inform our policies and our evolving path forward.

While we offer some “perks” that are onsite only, we try to keep the playing field level for those who are remote-first. We care about our people no matter where they’re located, and we want the experience of working at Harry’s to be equitable. There are fun benefits that apply no matter where you are, like wellness reimbursements, milestone gifts and opportunities for in-person celebrations.

 

 

Ethic employees pose for a group photo on a rooftop at sunset.
Ethic

 

Jennie LaCourt
Associate Director, People Operations • Ethic

 

Ethic is a technology-driven asset manager and investment advisor that delivers personalized investment solutions tailored to match clients’ goals and priorities. 

 

Tell me about Ethic’s hybrid work approach.

Ethic encourages our employees to find the hybrid arrangement that suits them the best while also supporting their teams and the projects they’re working on. We find that most people come in between two and three days per week. That said, many people come to the office every day because they like to spend time together, share meals and just generally feel the camaraderie that comes with working with our mission-driven, passionate team.

 

What perks and benefits are you offering in-office employees?

Ethic recently moved to a gorgeous new office space located on the top two floors of a building in Tribeca. In addition to having fabulous views over the city, all employees have their own spacious desks. The office is light and airy, and we have big conference rooms and communal spaces where we can collaborate within our teams as well as cross functionally. 

Ask any of our employees, and they’ll probably tell you that our occasional in-office meals are a big perk. We often share them during various events, including our “Lunch and Learns,” where exciting guests come to speak about important social issues. Teammates can take advantage of the kitchen to share favorite recipes and make delicious, healthy, and often vegan meals. 

Oh, and if meals and continuing education aren’t enough, we also offer plenty of snacks and drinks to provide brain fuel and help our employees recharge. Also, many of our employees hang out at the end of their workday to enjoy a drink or two on our beautiful private rooftop terrace.

Our employees drive Ethic’s success and we want to make sure to also help drive theirs!”

 

What else is Ethic doing to entice employees back to the office? Are there any benefits or perks being offered to help this transition?

Ethic just recently hired our first office and people experience manager to help create a space that is even more sustainable and comfortable. We want to do everything we can to provide the sort of welcoming environment that enables people to not only perform their jobs well but also makes them feel supported and cared for in the process. Our employees drive Ethic’s success, and we want to make sure to also help drive theirs! 

Currently, we’re planning some exciting company-wide events for 2023 that help the team celebrate wins while building camaraderie.

 

 

A look inside Frontify’s bright, airy office space.
Frontify

 

Pavitra Bindra
People Operations Manager • Frontify

 

Frontify is an all-in-one brand management platform that helps businesses of all sizes build their brand. 

 

Tell me about Frontify’s hybrid work approach.

At Frontify, we believe in creating an environment where employees have ongoing access to a collaborative space. This is where they can come together to workshop ideas or simply spend some quality time together. We encourage employees to come in on Tuesdays and Thursdays as their schedules permit. This sets the tone for our office space so that employees understand what days they can expect the most foot traffic creating a valuable experience.

 

What perks and benefits are you offering in-office employees?

We encourage employees to collaborate by hosting events, providing weekly group lunches, and having a monthly pancake breakfast — thanks to our pancake committee. We’ve found that this open way of working has naturally driven employees to dig deep into their own creative collaboration techniques.

We want employees to bring their authentic selves to work and ensure they feel enabled to do so.”

 

What else is Frontify doing to entice employees back to the office? Are there any benefits or perks being offered to help this transition?

We are attempting to host in-person events that span beyond sit-down dinners. We want employees to bring their authentic selves to work and ensure they feel enabled to do so. We offer commuter benefits, and we are working to implement real-time wellness initiatives.

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images via listed companies and Shutterstock.

Hiring Now
Hinge
Machine Learning • Mobile • Other • Social Impact • Software • App development