We’ve all seen the craft beer bar at Atlassian, “bring your dog to work day” at corporates trying to get their staff involved, and the ping pong tables in just about every start up there is. But what staff really want, more than anything else, is to be rewarded and recognised for their hard work.
In an exit survey for an old job, I was asked to rate the perks of the job, and wrote “N/A.” This was followed up in the exit interview, where I was questioned about my (not so subtle) dig.
“What about the daily biscuits and fruit bowl?” HR asked, genuinely puzzled. After telling them that unfortunately, that didn’t count, I knew immediately I’d made the right decision.
Here are five of the best job perks that should be in place at every company, not just the tech giants.
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1. Extra Leave
This doesn’t need to be unlimited leave, à la Richard Branson, but a few extra ‘uncounted’ days can go a long way. It could be in the form of extra annual leave, maternity/paternity leave or even additional mental health days for employees to recharge and rest.
Camping and outdoor group Coleman, for example, give their employees a few extra days off each year to go camping.
Like Virgin, at Netflix staff don’t need to request leave because there’s no set number of days given. And tech company Moz has a paid vacation policy and gives staff a bonus $3,000 in vacation reimbursements for food and accommodation to encourage them to actually take their leave.
2. Stocked Kitchens
More than just a fruit bowl or packet of biscuits, a fully-stocked kitchen helps staff save money on breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. And one with an on-site chef? Even better.
Particularly for businesses where staff work long hours, having (healthy) food on hand is one less distraction when they’re on a deadline, and one less thing they need to worry about.
This one sounds simple but it’s amazing how many companies still require their employees to put in face-time and turn up to the office for the 9-5 grind.
Aside from a laptop and installing the right tech (apps like GoToMeeting or Skype), getting employees set-up remotely should be a quick, cheap and painless process.
Staff like to know they’re responsible and trusted enough to not have to clock hours or be seen by the powers above. So if you’ve got a job you could do from home, or anywhere, it’s worth asking about a work-from-home policy. Because who doesn’t want to work in their pyjamas?
4. Exercise Benefits
Whether it’s an on-site gym, subsidised gym membership or lunchtime yoga classes in the boardroom, businesses that help their staff out when it comes to fitness see the rewards flow both ways.
Staff are healthier, happier, more motivated and more relaxed, while businesses see higher productivity and lower turnover as a result.
Tired, lethargic, run-down employees aren’t going to hit the gym on their own accord after working 12 hours, so it needs to be implemented as part of the working day. A compulsory exercise session, or even better, team sport involvement can do great things for morale.
5. Nap Areas
We couldn’t have this list without one ‘fun’ thing, and how can you go wrong with nap pods? Whether it’s a whole room full of couches, small breakaway areas for resting or lying down, or actual pods throughout the office, it’s all about giving staff the opportunity (and time) to unwind.
So instead of dreaming about curling into the foetal position under your desk every Monday, maybe ask about a designated relaxing area.
Main pic: David Lenker via flickr.