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Perks at work: The Ultimate Guide to Employee Happiness

Perks at work

Perks at work: The Ultimate Guide to Employee Happiness

The workplace is changing. No longer is a competitive salary the sole driving factor for job seekers and employees; the significance of ‘perks at work‘ has come into focus. Gone are the days when employees were expected to clock in at 9, clock out at 5, and be satisfied with whatever basic benefits their employer provided. Today’s employees, especially younger generations, expect and demand more from their jobs. They want flexibility, development opportunities, and unique perks that show them their employer values them as a whole person.

Employees today crave an enhanced overall experience at work. Perks that go beyond the standard benefits package are a key driver of this engagement. When employees feel genuinely appreciated and cared for, they are more loyal, engaged, and likely to stick around. Perks communicate to employees that their needs matter.

This article will explore the growing world of perks in the modern workplace. From office happy hours to pet insurance to free ice-cream, we’ll look at popular perks employers are using to attract and retain top talent. We’ll also discuss how perks tie into culture, engagement, flexibility, and more – key factors today’s employees weigh when choosing an employer. Read on to learn why perks are becoming a must-have for companies hoping to stay competitive in the war for talent.

What are Perks at Work?

Perks, also known as fringe benefits, are optional amenities offered by employers in addition to an employee’s regular pay and core benefits package. Perks are designed to improve morale, increase productivity, and enhance the overall employee experience at work.

Some common examples of perks include:

  • Flexible work arrangements like remote work options or compressed work weeks
  • Additional paid time off or vacation days
  • Free or subsidised meals and snacks
  • Wellness incentives like gym memberships or meditation classes
  • Professional development and continuing education opportunities
  • Employee discounts on products, services, insurance, etc.
  • Commuter benefits like public transport passes or parking subsidies
  • Access to company events, outings and social activities
  • Onsite services like dry cleaning pickups or concierge assistance
  • Company swag or branded apparel

The key aspect of a perk is that it provides extra value beyond the standard workplace benefits and compensations. Perks are essentially “nice-to-have” extras aimed at making employees happier, healthier and more engaged at work. Companies use perks strategically to boost recruitment, retention and productivity. The right mix of perks can give an employer a competitive advantage.

‘Cool’ Perks at Work

  • Ben & Jerry’s goes the extra mile for their employees by serving up a sweet treat — three pints of ice cream every day, this company clearly bends the traditional rules of wellness programs. While it might seem indulgent, this unique and ‘cool’ perk at work not only adds a fun element to the workplace but also makes their employees popular amongst their friends and loved ones. Furthermore, employees have the opportunity to participate in naming new ice cream flavors, adding to the sense of involvement and camaraderie. These unconventional perks demonstrate an interesting dynamic in employee benefits and how out-of-the-box thinking can add a unique twist to office perks.
  • In an inspiring commitment to employee wellbeing, Patagonia, the renowned outdoor apparel manufacturer, promotes a vibrant and fit workspace. Based in sunny California, they equip their workforce with amenities like bicycles, volleyball courts, and even onsite yoga classes, all aimed at fostering physical activity. Adding an unconventional spin to flexible work hours, Patagonia encourages its team to embrace the surf whenever the waves beckon!
  • The Free Book Program at Penguin Random House is truly a haven for staff members for whom reading is a passion. This extraordinary initiative allows employees to select, free of cost, from an ever-evolving catalogue of over 100 titles spanning both physical books and e-books.
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Benefits of Perks at work

Perks provide many benefits for both employees and employers. Here are some of the top advantages of offering workplace perks:

Improved Employee Engagement and Satisfaction

Perks help demonstrate to employees that they are valued. Things like flexible schedules, remote work options, professional development opportunities, and other benefits show that a company cares about supporting its employees. This leads to higher employee engagement and satisfaction rates. Employees who feel their needs are met through work perks are more motivated and loyal.

Better Recruitment and Retention

Perks also help attract top talent during recruitment and retain valuable employees for longer periods of time. In a competitive job market, perks and benefits can set a company apart. Candidates want employers who are supportive and invest in their people. Offering attractive perks like gym memberships and generous time off shows a commitment to employee wellbeing. Once hired, perks also incentivise employees to stay with the company. Things like equity incentives and retirement contributions make it less desirable for employees to leave.

Increased Productivity

Perks at work that enhance employee wellbeing, such as self-care subsidies, ergonomic equipment, and mental health support result in higher employee engagement. Reducing stress, fatigue, and distractions allows employees to focus better on their work. Things like providing healthy office snacks keep energy and concentration levels high throughout the day. When employees feel supported in both their work and personal lives, they have greater capacity to produce results.

Stronger Company Culture

Thoughtful perks at work that align with company values also reinforce culture. Things like team outings, office celebrations, and recognition programs bring employees together. Charitable giving matches make employees feel like part of something bigger. The right perks make the company culture stronger, which ultimately impacts the bottom line.

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Types of Perks at Work

Many companies today offer various types of perks and benefits to their employees. Some of the most popular perks focus on flexible work arrangements, remote working options, discounts, professional development and more.

Flexible Work Arrangements

Offering flexible work arrangements has become an increasingly popular perk among both employees and employers. Many companies now provide options like flexible hours, compressed work weeks, job sharing, and shift swapping. Employees appreciate the flexibility to better manage their work-life balance. For employers, flexible arrangements can improve productivity, engagement and retention.

Remote Work

Remote work has grown enormously in recent years. With improved technology, many roles can now be done from anywhere. Employees enjoy the ability to avoid long commutes and work from home or a location of their choice. Companies are able to access a broader talent pool by enabling remote work. Offering this perk provides a competitive edge in attracting and retaining top talent.

Office Perks

Beyond flexible work, companies also strive to create fun, engaging office spaces. Common in-office perks include game rooms, nap pods, free meals or snacks, coffee bars, fitness centers, and more. These types of perks help boost morale, energy levels, collaboration and company culture. Unique office spaces also serve as a recruiting tool to attract talented candidates.

Employee Discounts

Offering special employee discounts is a simple but valuable perk. Many companies partner with various vendors and services to offer discounted rates for employees. Common options include discounts on cell phone plans, gym memberships, travel, shopping, entertainment, insurance, and more. Access to these exclusive savings helps employees’ dollars go further.

Professional Development

Investing in employees’ growth and education pays dividends over time. Professional development perks may include skills training, conference participation, mentoring programs, and more. Employees enhance their skills and value. And employers benefit from more engaged, productive team members.

The variety of perks available today provides companies ample opportunities to create an attractive, motivating work environment. The most compelling perks align with employees’ needs and lifestyles. With thoughtful perk offerings, companies can boost recruitment, retention, morale, and performance.

Perks at Work: Flexible Work Arrangements

Companies today are increasingly offering flexible work arrangements to attract and retain top talent. Employees greatly value flexibility and the ability to have some control over when and where they work. There are various types of flexible work arrangements that companies can provide:

Flexible Hours

With flexible hours, employees can modify their start and end times. As long as they work their full allotment of hours, they have the freedom to adjust their schedule. This allows employees to work when they feel most productive. It also enables them to better manage personal responsibilities outside of work.

Compressed Work Weeks

Compressed work weeks allow employees to work their full weekly hours in fewer days. For example, some companies offer a schedule where employees can work 10 hours per day Monday through Thursday, and then have Fridays off. This can improve work-life balance and allow for more personal time.

Offering flexible scheduling demonstrates that companies value their employees’ needs and wellbeing. This builds trust, engagement and loyalty. The ability to have some control and flexibility over work schedules is highly desired in today’s workforce.

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Perks at work: Remote Work

Working remotely has become increasingly common over the last few years, especially sinde the Covid-19 pandemic. It offers both benefits and drawbacks for employees and employers.

Pros of Remote Work

  • More flexibility and work-life balance. Employees have more control over their schedules and don’t waste time commuting. This leads to higher job satisfaction.
  • Increased productivity. Studies show remote employees work 1.4 more days per month than office workers. There are fewer distractions and disruptions when working from home.
  • Cost savings. Companies can save on office space and expenses by having remote workers. Employees also spend less on commuting, lunch, and work clothes.
  • Wider talent pool. Organisations can recruit outside their geographic area when remote work is an option. This gives access to more candidates.
  • Environmental benefits. Less driving reduces employees’ carbon footprints. Companies also conserve resources from less office space.

Cons of Remote Work

  • Lack of face-to-face interaction. Communication and collaboration can suffer without in-person meetings and spontaneous conversations.
  • Distractions at home. Things like pets, children, household chores can reduce focus and disrupt work-life balance.
  • Technology issues. Spotty internet and technical problems can hamper productivity for remote employees.
  • Loneliness and isolation. People who work alone all day may feel disconnected, less engaged, and more stressed.
  • Lower visibility. It’s easier for remote workers to feel overlooked for promotions and opportunities. Out of sight can mean out of mind.
  • Collaboration challenges. Working on complex projects or brainstorming new ideas can be harder remotely.

Offering remote work arrangements requires careful consideration of both benefits and drawbacks. The right policies and culture must be in place to support successful remote working.

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Office Perks

Many companies are investing in their office spaces to provide employees with fun and engaging amenities right at work. This helps boost morale, engagement, and company culture.

  • Onsite gyms allow employees to workout without having to leave the office. Having exercise equipment and classes available encourages employees to stay active and healthy. Some companies bring in personal trainers or yoga instructors to lead sessions too.
  • Cafeterias give employees convenient access to food without needing to go off-site. When the company provides free or subsidised meals, it’s a great perk that saves employees time and money. Cafeterias also facilitate social connections and community at meal times.
  • Game rooms with ping pong, pool, video games, and more create opportunities for employees to take breaks, socialise, and decompress during the workday. Friendly competition helps build camaraderie and relationships between coworkers. Game rooms give employees a chance to recharge mentally and have some fun at work.
  • Other onsite amenities can include nap rooms, massage rooms, walking trails, sports facilities, free snacks and beverages, lounge areas, and more. Companies invest in these types of office perks to show employees they are valued, boost engagement and retention, and provide a great employee experience. The office environment directly impacts productivity and job satisfaction.
  • Mindfulness meditation workshops and courses are emerging as an effective ‘perk at work.’ These sessions offer an oasis of calm amidst the demands of work life, allowing employees to temporally shift their focus inward and foster mental and emotional wellbeing. Moreover, integrating these sessions as a regular fixture in your perks lineup demonstrates a significant commitment to your employees’ holistic health. Such a perk not only boosts morale but also fosters an atmosphere of resilience, focus, and positivity in your organisation. It’s an investment that pays dividends in elevating the quality of work life for everyone involved.
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Perks at work: Employee Discounts

Employee discounts are a popular perk offered by many companies. These provide employees access to discounted rates and prices on various products and services.

Some examples of common employee discounts include:

  • Retail store discounts – Employees may receive 10-20% off at partner retail stores and online shops.
  • Gym and fitness discounts – Gym chains frequently provide corporate employee rates, taking 10-50% off normal membership fees. This encourages employees to stay active and healthy.
  • Travel discounts – Hotels, rental cars, flights and cruises often provide discounts ranging from 5-15% for company employees. These can add up on frequent business or personal trips.
  • Insurance discounts – Employees may get access to discounted group rates on various insurance products like home, auto, pet, life insurance through employer tie-ups.
  • Banking and financial service discounts – Banks offer reduced fees, higher returns on deposit accounts as well as discounted lending rates to partner company employees.
  • Local vendor and restaurant discounts – Many companies tie up with businesses near their office to provide employees 10-30% off at neighborhood cafes, shops, salons and other services.

The discounted rates usually require a verification of current employment status. Employees have to register with their corporate email or submit a workplace ID.

Employee discounts provide a great perk that lowers daily expenses on shopping, travel, phone bills and other services. Companies can leverage corporate tie-ups to offer savings that boost employee morale, engagement and bottom lines.

Perks at work: Professional Development

Professional development perks provide employees with opportunities to continue learning, upskill, and advance their careers. These perks demonstrate that a company is invested in the growth of its people.

Training Programs

Many companies offer training programs to improve employees’ skills in areas relevant to their roles. These can include technical skills training, leadership development, sales training, customer service training, and more. The training may be hosted internally, brought in from external experts, or administered through online courses. Companies benefit from upskilling their workforce, while employees get to expand their abilities.

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Education Assistance

Tuition reimbursement programs provide financial assistance for employees pursuing additional education. This allows employees to take courses, certificates, or degree programs to gain knowledge and skills beneficial for their career paths in the company. Companies are making an investment in their workforce’s improvement by funding continuing education. Employees are able to further their studies without bearing the full financial burden.

Conference Attendance

Attending industry conferences allows employees to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, expand their professional networks, and bring back new ideas to the company. Many companies offer to cover conference registration fees and travel expenses so employees can take advantage of these valuable learning and networking opportunities. The investment pays off through the new knowledge and connections gained.

Offering various professional development perks enables companies to attract and retain top talent who are keen to keep growing in their careers. Employees who feel invested in are more engaged and likely to stick with a company long-term. It’s a win-win for both parties.

Perks at work: Conclusion

Perks and benefits at work are becoming increasingly important for attracting and retaining talent. Companies that offer robust perk programs demonstrate that they value their employees and want to invest in their wellbeing and development.

As we’ve reviewed, there are many types of perks available today – from flexible work arrangements, remote work options, office perks like free meals and snacks, to discounts, professional development stipends, and more. These perks help boost employee engagement, satisfaction, productivity and loyalty.

Employers should consider implementing perks that align with their culture, values and business goals. Perks should foster a positive workplace and support employees’ personal and professional growth. With creativity, even companies on a budget can develop meaningful perks tailored to what their people truly want and need.

The benefits of thoughtful perk programs are clear – for employee motivation, retention and your company’s employer brand. Assess your current offerings with fresh eyes, survey your staff and be willing to experiment. Perks are an investment in your greatest asset, your people. Make yours a workplace they don’t want to leave.

Perks at work with Wellbeing in Your Office

Enhancing your company’s perks has never been easier with Wellbeing In Your Office. We pave the way for diverse and tailored benefits that employees value, advancing your company’s journey in becoming a desired place to work.

Whether it is introducing a new office yoga program to increase positivity, Mindfulnes Meditation Sessions, and providing First Aid for Mental Health training for a supportive environment, organising team building activities to foster strong relationships among staff, or implementing stress management workshops aiming at a healthier work-life balance, all these perks contribute to a comprehensive, wellbeing-focused perks at work package.

Taking it a step further, we are the only company in the United Kingdom to offer Aikido with Mindfulness workshops. These perks are beyond traditional offerings, demonstrating your company’s dedication towards employee mental health, a crucial aspect that modern employees deeply appreciate.

Start your journey in offering perks that matter. Contact us for a consultation. We’ll assist you in designing a unique and appealing ‘perks at work’ wellbeing programme that your employees will adore, elevating your workplace experience to new heights.

Because when your employees prosper, so does your business. Invest in perks that count – and witness the transformation in your office!

Gosia Federowicz - Co-Founder of Wellbeing in Your Office. First Aid for mental Health and Workplace Wellbeing. Digital Wellbeing. Free mental health posters.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is intended for general knowledge and educational purposes only. It should not be construed as professional health, legal, or business advice. Readers should always consult with appropriate health professionals, human resource experts, or legal advisors for specific concerns related to mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of publication, Wellbeing In Your Office cannot be held responsible for any subsequent changes, updates, or revisions of the aforementioned content.

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