Going Beyond Vacation Time
Workplace perks are wanted by employees. Nearly 57 percent of people say that benefits and perks are among their top considerations in accepting a job, and more employers are increasing their offerings in an effort to attract and retain top talent. Although many perks and activities work better at larger companies, as a small business owner you may decide to try implementing one or two into your business - in addition to vacation time allowed. Alternatively, you may choose to work with fellow small business owners in your area, like gyms, restaurants and oil change shops, to provide discounted products and services for your employees. Doing so is a win-win situation for all involved. Below are some of the top workplace perks that business owners provide to their employees:
- Wellness incentives: Many employers are realizing the benefits to having healthy employees – not only do they take fewer sick days, but they are more productive, as well. It is a worthwhile investment to provide employees with perks like discounted gym memberships, yoga and meditation classes, and on-site medical services to help employees get and stay healthy. Some businesses will even go so far as to install an on-site gym, bring yoga and meditation teachers in to lead classes, or offer neck and shoulder massages.
- Team events: Everyone likes to get out of the office once in a while. Team events that bring employees together outside of the office are great at building morale and also positive relationships between coworkers. A team event can be something as simple as going out to lunch together once a month, or more elaborate, like the annual team mystery trip taken by employees at Michigan’s Brogan & Partners. Whatever you decide, make sure it is a fun and enjoyable activity for all.
- Half-day Fridays: Leaving the office at 3 PM (or even earlier!) on summer Fridays can lead to better work-life balance and increase morale among employees. A Fast Company magazine article says it all about half-day Fridays: “(Alex) Rappaport believes pacing out time off by giving a few hours back each week leads to less burnout and more usable hours when everyone is present. ‘It may seem generous to give the whole office four paid hours off every week, but it leads to happier people and more focus during the hours we're here.’"
- Casual dress: The days of having to wear a suit and tie to the office every day are pretty much gone, but some workplaces have taken that to the next level, and are allowing their employees to wear casual clothes daily, including jeans. Most companies that allow jeans still have dress codes; for example, the jeans can’t be torn or faded, t-shirts can’t have logos and no hoodies or flip flops. Employees tend to be more comfortable and relaxed when working in casual clothes.
- Full-service cafeterias: Some larger businesses that have the room are bringing in catering services to offer employers a variety of fresh, healthy food right in the office. These cafeteria services also provide employees with an alternative to brown bagging it every day and to the busy lunch time crunch at local restaurants. However, if a cafeteria is not possible because of money or space constraints, an effective alternative is bringing in breakfast or lunch once a week. A variety of bagels, cream cheese and coffee has the power to brighten your employees’ day.
Implementing some of the above benefits and perks can not only help make your business more attractive to prospective employers, but they can also improve the morale and productivity of employees already on site. Just remember to have fun with these perks, be creative and let your employees provide ideas and input to create a truly collaborative workplace.