If the experts are to be believed then we are due for another period of slow down in the economy.
That being the case it is likely to become all the more important for employers to be able to give their staff valuable perks that don’t eat up the cash.
Here are 5 ideas for perks that we love and that you might like to try in your company.
Perk #1 – Fruit
As office dwellers it’s very easy to fall into the bad habit of an afternoon chocolate bar so employers that keep a few enticing bowls of fresh fruit about the place are not only looking after their employees health but also telling them that they are valued through the medium of food.
Ok so the odd cake is allowed and an occasional bottle of beer but in the main try and go for some generous bowls of fruit to pique people’s interest. And make sure they are available for visitors too.
The great thing is that it costs very little to do, especially if you find yourself a really good independent greengrocer.
We love food!
Perk #2 – Be flexible
More than ever it seems that the world is awake 24/7 so it seems silly that in the Western world we tend to enforce strict 9-5 hours.
Allowing your employees the flexibility to vary their hours is a win-win situation for both employer and workers.
We’ve all worked with people who are useless before 10am in the morning. Similarly there can’t be many people who haven’t met the early riser. Allowing people to vary their working hours around a central core means that the office can be manned during the all important middle of the day but lets people have a bit more of a work-life balance.
Think also about letting people bank hours to use for a duvet day, have their birthday off or have a weekly or monthly ‘work from home’ day.
Apart from the obvious advantage of much more engaged and awake employees the business will also benefit from the office being manned for a longer stretch of time. You’ll find that people are much more receptive to the 2am call to Thailand if they know that they can bank some hours to use later on.
Set some core hours – say 10 – 3 then allow people to vary around these. It doesn’t need to be monitored too closely either, most people act like adults and end up doing longer than their contracted hours anyway!
Perk #3 – Pets at work
Research has shown that offices are happier when dogs are allowed in so think about allowing your staff to bring in their pets.
Maybe not every day, but a weekly or monthly ‘bring your dog to work day’, is something that people really value and costs the employer nothing.
There needs to be rules of course, so angry dogs or disruptive iguanas may need to be banned. You’ll also need to have a system in place for making sure that half of the office doesn’t bring cats and the other half doesn’t bring in dogs otherwise you may have your own version of Tom and Jerry going on!
Perk #4 – music
If you are looking to create a lively and vibrant workspace then having great music playing in the background certainly helps.
Think about getting a Spotify or Deezer account and making up a shared playlist that everyone can contribute to and watch the office debates begin about Beyonce and Mahler!
It costs the grand sum of £9.99 per month and in the UK employers will need to buy a PRS licence but it’s small beer compared to the extra engagement that it produces.
You may also become a fan of Taylor Swift.
Perk #5 – shared experiences
If you want to increase employee engagement then getting people together regularly is a great way to produce team spirit.
Think about getting in a yoga teacher to do an hour session once a week so that everyone can have a go, or look for a masseur who will ease those tired shoulders and necks.
We’ve seen companies who invite potential suppliers in to do a talk about their area of expertise such as a wine and cheese night and a fantastic book club.
One surprising by product of this sort of thing is that it gets talked about outside of work. You’ll find that people will be posting on social media and talking about it in the pub. Before long your Google page ranking will increase and people will already have heard of you when you mention the company name.
These are just a few ideas for ways to add a little bit of spice to your employee’s day but don’t let it end there.
Be creative and come up with ways to liven up the day without it costing megabucks. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much fun it is.