Work Perks - Here's 5 You Can Evaluate Today

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It’s almost become commonplace for a company to offer cushy work perks, especially as that company grows from a startup to an established business. Deciding which perks to offer your employees depends a lot on what type of culture you want to implement at your company.

There are a couple reasons why perks outside of your basic benefits (health insurance, retirement accounts, etc.) are crucial to the success of your business. First, they help keep your employees happy and engaged. And as you know, retention is the number one pain point for employers today.

Second, instituting work perks can also help boost productivity and reinforce your company’s culture. For instance, you may want to instill a sense of community where you work by encouraging your employees to eat breakfast or lunch together. One way you can ensure your employees bond with one another is by offering catered team lunches or breakfasts. I’m also a fan of the “no technology” rule during these break times—in other words, try to leave your mobile phone at your desk and get to know your peers!

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One thing to keep in mind, however, is that not all policies and work perks are created equal. Some perks are genuinely loved by your employees and definitely boost morale, but some of those “prime” office perks could carry some negative side effects, too.

According to Inc.com , these are the ...

5 Office Perks You May Want to Re-evaluate in 2017

1. Working Remotely Does Come With Asterisks *

Having the option to work from home or a local coffee shop was the “it” perk in 2016. I’ve mentioned in many blog posts that giving your employees the option to work remotely once a week or month can do wonders for morale. With the adoption of chat platforms like Slack, it’s easier than ever to stay in contact with your employees 24/7. That’s why you run the risk of your employees getting burnt out with this option.

For many companies, the option to work remotely—whenever, wherever—means being on-call. This often leads to employees checking their communication apps on vacation and leads to an expectation that your employees must prove they deserve this perk. One way to alleviate this issue is by creating a policy that limits the amount of work-from-home days for your employees. There is a happy medium when it comes to a remote working policy. And the most important factor is always trusting that your employees will get their work done, even if they’re at home handling an aging parent or running their children to a doctor’s appointment.

2. The Distractions That Come With an Open-Office Design

Today’s workspaces have been stripped down and trended toward minimalistic open spaces. This means fewer walls, less cubicles and more opportunities for your millennial workforce to collaborate out in the open.

While this concept certainly has its benefits, it also has its disadvantages, such as noise and distraction. Some employees’ responsibilities require deep-thinking, which means a quiet space is crucial to their success—think crunching numbers, writing a feature story for a magazine or editing an important business plan.

There’s an easy solution to the noise problem: Privatize certain areas of the office with soundproof rooms and quiet spaces to have meetings. You don’t have to go back to the days of cubicles and individual offices.

3. The Unlimited Vacation Days

Having an unlimited vacation policy may seem like an appealing perk, but the truth is, many employees think there’s a catch. I remember when I first experienced an unlimited vacation policy, my first initial feelings were that of skepticism.

The fact of the matter is, Americans are the worst at actually using all of their vacation time. According to the U.S. Travel Association’s Project Time Off, 54% of employees in the U.S. ended the 2016 work year with unused vacation time—662 million vacation days were left unused.

So where’s the happy medium?

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It’s difficult to know just how much vacation time is allowed when your company has an open policy. And you don’t want to risk certain employees using it to their advantage, thereby affecting other employees’ perception of the company and who it values.

In my opinion, the best policy is a blanket policy for everyone—for instance, all employees get two weeks vacation, regardless of tenure.

4. Rethink the Overflowing Snack Drawer of Junk Food

Everybody loves food. That includes your employees.

Obviously, not all companies are created equal, which means we can’t all afford personal chefs like Google. One goal that is achievable, however, is to stock the cabinets with snacks for your team. But go the extra mile to ensure the prepackaged food you provide is healthy.

The big focus these days is on employee health and wellness. Some companies are even gamifying wellness goals to encourage employees to take their health seriously. Instead of opting for pizza and pop parties, you may want to consider healthy snacks and offering gym membership discounts. Your employees will thank you later!

5. Don’t Force Fun

In general, it’s a good idea to encourage team building and social outings with your employees. However, you want to steer clear of making it a mandatory thing. Many companies think that this is how culture is created. But when it’s “forced fun” it’s more likely to be temporary or fake happiness out of obligation.

Another reason that you don’t want to make social events mandatory is because some employees may be working against a tight deadline or finishing up a large work project. They may not want to take time away from these tasks.

CONCLUSION

As with any perk or fringe benefit, the intention is to improve employee happiness, increase productivity and encourage collaboration and communication.

The goals all look great when you write them down, but translating the benefits to reality often comes with a few bumps in the road. By implementing some of the changes I mentioned above, you will improve the effectiveness of these staple work perks. 

Do you have any others you would like to add?

Leave me a comment below.

blog author

Eric Golubitsky

Eric brings 18+ years of entrepreneurial experience. Eric founded S.M.I.L.E. Inc. in 1998, which was a Consumer Electronic Pro Top 100 home automation provider and was recognized as the #1 fastest growing company in NE Ohio by CWRU Weatherhead School of Management in 2003. As an Ernst & Young "Entrepreneur of the Year" finalist in 2005, Eric's accomplishments have been recognized multiple times including the Consumer Electronics Association's national "Mark of Excellence Award." Eric is also a 5 year member of EO (Entrepreneurs Organization).