Employee benefits like cash compensation and office perks are hugely popular across business of all sizes, but how much do perks (non-monetary benefits) really matter to employees? With an increasing shift in focus away from simply earning more and towards achieving a quality of life balance, simple office perks like flex work and healthy lunch bars could mean more for individuals than you think.
Office perks give employees more control over their schedules, free access to food or beverages, and opportunities for learning and career advancement.
What Counts as Employee Perks?
While there are different levels of employee perks, nearly anything adds to the value of a workplace. For example, even putting out a coffee machine and offering free coffee makes life better for people working. However, individuals often receive perks relating to flex work (employees can choose or modify the hours they work), professional development (classes, courses, coaching), fitness or health benefits such as gym memberships, and food or snacks.
Employee Perks Add to Work-Life Balance
While most office perks are relatively affordable for businesses (for example, allowing employees to work from home or to change their hours when needed) they greatly benefit the employee. Simply being able to structure working hours around life events such as taking children to school, changes in daycare, or special events can mean a great deal to an individual. Similarly, persons who are focused on fitness or health may greatly appreciate having a gym membership, especially if the gym is next to work, because it will save them a great deal of time and money, at relatively low cost to you.
Even perks like food and coffee contribute to work-life balance, simply because providing lunch or breakfast means that individuals won’t have to spend time prepping it at home. They have more free time, don’t have to invest in carrying lunch to work, and receive a perk that you can offer very affordably.
53% of Employees Say Perks Add to Quality-of-Life
In one survey, 55% of employees said their perks added to their quality of life. Even courses through work allow employees to work towards their career and development goals, in a more convenient and affordable way than seeking those courses out themselves. While actual value depends on what is being provided, perks offer convenience, affordability, and a lot in terms of cost-savings. For example, a shuttle to work saves employees thousands each year but doesn’t cost you the same per employee. An in-house daycare solution can save parents more than a third of their paycheck but will cost your business much less to provide. And, even offering free lunch or an affordable on-premise restaurant will cut costs and time investment for everyone. This, in turn, frees up time for people to do more when they get home, without worrying about spending time or money on the things they do at work.
Office perks can add a lot of value for employees, but it’s important to ensure they’re relevant to your workplace. For example, it doesn’t make sense to offer daycare unless you have enough parents in your workforce to make it worthwhile to you and employees. Instead, you should review your workforce, determine what is needed or what will be most-appreciated and move forward from there to offer the highest cost/value benefit.