Ping pong holds the secret to post-Covid employee benefits.
Employee Benefits. Table Tennis. There’s not an obvious connection. But the attitudes towards this mini game of back and forth could be telling.
It’s March 2020, and things are a bit weird. Scrap that, things are unprecedented. We’re all being confined to our homes to escape a threat that we don’t really understand.
Our initial reactions were to reach for the bare essentials, things we need for a basic quality of living. Pasta, baked beans, toilet roll (who knew you’d be so happy to get your hands on a roll of Andrex 3-ply?). Then came the need to be entertained.
Since 2007, Netflix has kindly beamed binge worthy programs into our homes, so we’re never short of TV. But one unexpected industry did see a boost in sales - Ping Pong (or whiff whaff as it’s also known). In fact, one outlet’s sales rose from 15 tables a week in the previous year, to over 125.
So why the surge in table tennis interest? There are two simple hypotheses:
1. We’ve all been secret table tennis fans for years and this was our big chance to set our inner ping pong free.
2. We all still want the same things we did before lockdown but we’re downscaling our expectations to work with the new rules.
No offence to any table tennis enthusiasts out there, but we’re going to assume it was reason number two.
Many of us play tennis, or badminton, maybe take part in football leagues. Such things give us exercise, a social outlet, a sense of satisfaction, all sorts of positives. Suddenly lockdown rules mean this wasn’t possible. But table tennis could give us a taste.
This global pandemic pushed us back to our basic needs of safety, shelter and sustenance. But once broadly met, we had other needs too, and they haven’t gone away. Whilst table tennis provides a scaled-down solution for some of them, here are three areas that employee benefits can provide scaled-down solution of others:
1. The need to be entertained. Yes, there’s no shortage of TV to fill your time but that can quickly go from a treat to a drain. Especially if the kids have Peppa Pig on repeat. But an endless supply of books may be the answer. With a service like Readsters you can get your fill of reads, from trashy novels to business leadership.
2. The need to let off steam. Ping pong can undoubtedly get the heart pumping, but its not to everyone’s tastes. And a run may not be the best solution if the kids need you near. Luckily, there are plenty of online fitness apps that will guide a workout in the comfort of your front room. It could be the modern gym solution for your employee benefits package.
3. The need for a little escapism. The summer trip to Spain may not have materialised. But a holiday isn’t about going to another country, it’s about getting away from the day to day. And that’s where there’s plenty of options still on offer – the highlands in Scotland, the valleys of Wales or just the plucky coast of the Isle of Wight. Employee finances may be in a tough place, but Travel Accounts are still here to help spread the cost of that much needed break.
It’s been a strange time for us all. Lots of things have changed. But our basic human needs haven’t. That means plenty of scope to reward employees with benefits that still hit the mark.