It’s the 21st century and the workplace and workforce have changed. There’s much more variety in the job market and diversity in the ways in which we’re allowed to work. The success of a more fluid job market has brought about a number of structural changes.
One of these positive developments is benefits, and how they are changing the way employees relate to their work. For the newest generation of workers, the line between work and personal life is becoming ever more blurred.
This, of course, comes with positives and pitfalls. However, with this being the current trend, utilising employee benefits can optimise the positive elements of the overlapping work-life relationship.
What are company perks and are they worth having?
Put simply, for many people nowadays, their work is their life and their life is work. Of course, there are certain realms that will always remain separate, but we’re increasingly seeing a willingness to stay connected to work while away from it, but also to adopt leisure activities while at the workplace.
This latter phenomenon has had a big impact on productivity and employee wellbeing, and it all orbits around perks. Call them employee benefits, company perks, or wonderful gifts from a deity, whatever they are, your organisation can use them to improve a variety of outcomes.
Let’s start with the bottom line of business - productivity and profitability. It’s no secret that an employee who spends their day wishing they were somewhere else will likely produce poorer work than an employee who is engaged and enthusiastic about what they do.
This is employee engagement in full effect. The more engaged the employee, the better work they produce. So a big step to achieving a more engaged workforce is showing them that you care about more than just their Xs and Os, and a comprehensive employee benefits package can be a great way to get this message across.
Physically and emotionally healthy workforces will also boost productivity, so why not consider providing benefits that give improved access to such services? When employees see you taking care of them to this extent, they know they are working for the good guys.
This, in turn, can boost engagement and create a healthy company culture, which all feeds back into each other. An engaged and rewarded workforce is likely to display a sought-after characteristic: loyalty. All businesses pay great attention to it. But how can employee benefits help?
Well. As we just saw, looking after your employees’ well being is a great way to show them you care, but there are also a variety of ways to show employees you are committed to their professional development too. Food stipends for new parents, commuting allowances, training and qualifications towards positive career progression, and even extra days holiday.
These can all be offered as part of a benefits scheme that’s designed to improve your employees’ quality of life. Who wouldn’t want to work for a company where this is available?
Related to talent retention is talent acquisition. Company perks not only help you keep top talent, but also attract it to your organisation. Many commentators have decried the “war for talent” that is ongoing in the recruitment world. Accordingly, many companies are upping their game when it comes to perks in order to recruit the perfect person for the job.
Indeed, 50% of the modern workforce - who are now millennials - might be influenced to join a company by their benefits package, as found by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation. So you’re going to want to make sure you aren’t just attracting the top talent, but the freshest ideas too.
Are company perks expensive?
The idea of forking out thousands per month to contribute to employees’ commuting costs might seem way out of reach for your small business. However, the beauty of improving your benefits package is that you can start with a simple change in mindset, which costs nothing at all.
Many perks can make a positive impact while requiring little financial investment. Group mindfulness and yoga throughout the week is a cheap way to keep your workers feeling physically and mentally limber. Also, offering flexible working hours and work-from-home days needn’t cost you anything, you might even save money on tea bags for the office.
If you want to make a big statement to your employees, splashing the cash is always possible. So, without further ado, let’s dig into some fresh company perk ideas that will range in financial and time commitments.
10 fresh ideas for company perks
1. L&D budget
As we’ve already alluded to, investing in your employee’s skills and qualification can have manifold benefits. Put simply, having more skilled employees is a good thing for your organisation. If your benefits package is already strong, they aren’t likely to take their talents elsewhere once you’ve trained them too.
Furthermore, employees are likely to have higher job satisfaction and motivation if their organisation is investing in their professional development. This can improve engagement, bringing with it many of its own positives.
We are seeing a shift in how businesses think about their Learning and Development budgets, with larger budgets being observed across the business world in 2019. LinkedIn’s 2019 Workplace Learning & Development Report concluded that L&D budgets were no longer a major issue for the large majority of departments. Make sure your
organisation’s L&D team are well funded and enjoy the same benefits.
2. Salary sacrifice scheme
These are clever benefits that require employees to agree to certain amounts of their salary being replaced by, for example, funds to buy a low-emissions car. The benefit here is that both the employee and employer receive and pay less in taxable salaries.
Private healthcare plans are another successful salary sacrifice benefit. Health cash plans can range from affordable to eye-watering, so you can tailor these to fit your needs. Have a look at Perkbox Medical to get an idea of what’s available
Salary sacrifice means that both parties can save money while fostering a positive relationship that encourages the employee to look after themselves. Other forms of salary sacrifice schemes have included childcare vouchers, or cycle-to-work allowances.
3. Free soft and alcoholic drinks
It’s Friday. It’s 1730 hours and you’re just about to finish this week’s deadline. How good would it be to turn this miniature struggle into a miniature celebration. Or at least relax a little bit more because it’s finally the weekend. This is where you crack open a cold one or some fizzy juice to just take the edge off.
It may seem small, but providing your employees with access to home comforts like this helps to create a happy company culture and relaxed yet focused work environment. This is one of those low-cost perks that still makes a difference.
4. Monthly lunches
Another relatively low-cost option, depending on what your taste is like. Cultures throughout history have bonded over lunch. It’s no different in business culture. It’s a great opportunity to both show your employees you value and reward them while improving their relations. To keep costs down you can host themed potlucks, or just give everyone free-reign
because what the heck. Enjoy!
5. Mental wellbeing support
We’ve highlighted a number of times how important mental wellbeing is to your workforce, both from your employees’ personal perspective and your financial one too. Having on-call counsellors or access to therapy funds are some ways to reduce the financial burden mental health support can incur.
Most private healthcare packages nowadays will cover basic mental health services, but not all. So if this is important to your organisation, we suggest looking at coverage that also pays out for mental health treatment.
Again, a low-cost option can be regular group meditation and mindfulness sessions. These bring employees’ focus onto their inner state, which is a good first step to mental health.
6. A day off for your birthday
Who wants to work on their birthday? This is another nice perk that won’t break the bank. Instead, it’s a nice touch that allows your employees to relax and enjoy themselves on their special day. They will thank you for it.
7. Cinema tickets
Letting off steam can take many forms. And, believe it or not, they don’t all have to involve sweat or alcohol. Many businesses now include deals for the cinema, or simply free tickets, in their perks selection. They can be relatively low-cost and contribute to employees feeling looked after.
8. Cycle-to-work scheme
Cycling to work brings with it a number of benefits. Most importantly, your employees stay fit and their carbon footprint is reduced. Cycle-to-work schemes are often offered as a salary sacrifice, as the initial cost of purchasing a bike and proper equipment can set a company back a fair amount. However, don’t let this discourage you. Making it easier for employees to cycle to work can start with just supplying a bike maintenance station at work.
This perk is proving very popular for businesses in central locations. In London, for example, cycling can often be a stressful affair, to say the least. So, as employers, whatever you do to make this easier will be greatly appreciated by your employees.
9. Discounts on local restaurants
Encourage your employees to engage with local fare by offering discounts to nearby businesses. PerksGo makes this not only easy but can save you money at the same time. Perkbox has teamed with participating national and local businesses alike to make giving perks a cost-effective no-brainer. You can select which retailers to offer discounts on to ensure your perks align with your company culture and what matters most to your employees.
10. Weekly free coffee
Another one to consider if your budget isn’t stratospheric. Or, even if it is, it’s probably understated just how much of a contribution great coffee makes to businesses worldwide. You’re doing yourself a favour by giving your team access to caffeine.
Give your team awesome Perks with Perkbox
If you’re looking for an offering like this and then some, it’s worth having a squint at the Perkbox platform. There are a range of perks for all budgets and business sizes. And, you can tailor your perks package for what matters most for your employees.
Offering perks that align with your company culture is a great way to get your employees to buy into your organisation’s overall mission. Especially, in the fast-evolving world of company perks, using services that stay ahead of the game and offer fresh perk ideas is crucial.
So there we have it. It’s doesn't take a genius knowledge that offering perks is a win-win. Your employees’ wellbeing improves, which, in turn, massively benefits a number of aspects of your organisation.