In this Q&A, we talked to Louise Hickey, Senior Marketing Communications Manager of One4All.
# Many employees have had to work from home this year—what sort of issues can this present?
In the early days of Covid-19, many employees found themselves juggling professional life and online meetings with personal life and home schooling or struggling to carve out an office of sorts in shared accommodation – extraordinary circumstances. These issues are still there and trying to keep employees motivated has proved more challenging.
Employers are realising the stress employees are under working from home and are conscious of its toll on physical health. It’s interesting, we’ve experienced a spike in enquiries, asking what office equipment stores accept One4all Gift Cards. Businesses are aware of the extended hours employees are putting in, as the line between work and home blurs, often sitting on a kitchen or dining chair rather than ergonomic office furniture designed for long periods of sitting.
If there’s a silver lining to take from all of this: employee mental health is a priority for employers. Businesses are promoting an environment of openness to ensure employees achieve a modicum of balance. Employees are encouraged to look after their mental health and many businesses are providing access to wellness programs.
Overall, people are missing the camaraderie of the office and now, with further restrictions looming, the much-loved Christmas party, when employers would traditionally show their employees appreciation, looks likely to be cancelled.
# Why is it so important to reward employees with a Christmas bonus? How does this motivate them?
This year has tested everyone’s resilience – adapting to working from home, while still delivering on work responsibilities. It’s important to reward staff to acknowledge the extra mile they’ve gone to deliver on outputs.
A recent One4all survey of 2,013 adults during Covid-19 revealed 32% say they now understand that showing their appreciation to someone can have a big impact, while 29% are more thankful for what other people do. Rewarding employees promotes feelings of gratitude and acknowledges the hard work carried out over the year.
When you look at a cash bonus compared to a gift card, cash can get sucked into day to day expenditure whereas a gift card can have a lasting impression – an employee can treat themselves to something they really want and remember it as a mark of appreciation.
# Why is it important to recognise and appreciate employees even when the business may have had a very bad year due to COVID-19?
Companies are looking for ways to express gratitude for employees work during challenging circumstances. Many businesses have had it tough this year. The last time the country experienced economic challenges like this was the recession eleven years ago. Then, the benefit in kind exemption was €250 compared to today’s €500 and companies wanted to avail of the tax benefits, not just for tax savings for themselves, but to ensure employees received the full value of a bonus.
Businesses who had previously given cash bonuses realised the value in rewarding their employees with gift cards where they could reap the full benefit and reward.
As the pandemic continues, employers can take advantage of the tax benefits of One4all Gift Cards – available in denominations from €15 to €500 – to express thanks to their own frontline workers who are essentially the cogs and bolts of their business, and Christmas is an ideal opportunity to reward.
# Why is a One4All gift card a great way to reward employees?
One4all Gift Cards qualify for the government’s Benefit in Kind tax exemption meaning they’re free from income tax, USC and PRSI deductions. For example, an employer can give up to €500 in a once off payment per employee per annum and save up to €653.65 per employee*. As One4all is accepted by 11,000+ stores, employees can shop with a diverse range of Irish retailers nationwide and online with participating retail partners.
Ultimately, One4all Gift Cards can only be spent with Irish retail meaning when employees spend them, it directly benefits the Irish economy versus overseas markets, which contributes towards promoting sustainability. We have a range of hotels and restaurants who accept One4all Gift Cards and coupled with the government’s rebate for staycations this year, employers and employees who avail and use One4all Gift Cards, are contributing towards the regeneration of the Irish economy.
# Can you tell us a little bit about the new One4all Digital option?
The One4all Digital Gift Card can be bought, spent and, sent online or via text. With so many employees working remotely this year, the card really stands out as a solution for businesses looking to reward their employees. Like our standard gift card, it can be personalised with a business logo or message of thanks. With contactless payments now the preferred payment option, it’s a great solution to minimise handling of cash.
We recently launched a new gift card, the Chip & PIN, which is available in denominations of €150 to €500 and with a simple online registration process, employees can spend without any transaction limitations online with participating retail partners. It also qualifies for the governments benefit in kind exemption. All One4all Gift Cards are regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and as such, businesses can feel safe using them as a solution to rewarding employees this year.