Back in the days, companies could get away with just giving employees the bare minimum for perks — health care and one week of vacation time. However, nowadays, job seekers are looking for fancy perks that will either help them achieve work-life balance or provide a fun work environment.
We asked people a fun hypothetical question: if you were to start your own company, what would be the first perk you'd give out? Here’s what some folks had to say:
Julie Auslander, President and Chief Culture Officer of Subscriptions Simplified, would allow her employees to work from home and/or offer flexible schedules in lieu of vacation or sick time.
“As a new business, it is important to make good team decisions. It takes trust. That trust needs to happen quickly so you can get on to the business at hand. Trust happens when you see that people can operate autonomously and contribute.”
“If people work from home, they are happier, and you can see from the beginning how much babysitting you need to do to get the job done. You can quickly see if they are the right team member.”
Space for Creativity
Music has a tremendously positive impact on workplace productivity. A study by the University of Wales Institute found that when adults were asked to perform a complex task of recalling a series of sound, in every instance, their performance increased dramatically if they were listening to music at the same time.
So what happens if you offer a room for employees to play music? As Gene Caballero, cofounder of GreenPal explains,
“What I would offer as a unique perk to my employees is a music room. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, most of our employees are either musicians or play music for fun.”
“Playing an instrument has been scientifically proven to engage practically every area of the brain at once, especially the visual, auditory, and motor cortices. The brain is a muscle, and learning and playing music is like a full-body workout strengthening those brain functions and allowing us to apply that strength to other activities like creativity.”
The Cheapest Perk Around
Telecommuting is becoming increasingly popular in today’s working world. And it’s no surprise since our research found that remote workers are more productive than their desk-tied counterparts.
Like Julie Auslander, Madeline Enos from Software Advice would also offer the option to work remotely. However, she takes it to another degree:
“If I were to start my own company, I would want of offer employees the opportunity to work remotely (even in other countries) for part of the year, if the nature of their job allowed it. It wouldn’t cost anything extra as an employer, and employees (especially millennials) appreciate the flexibility to be able to travel and be mobile while working.”
Optional Three-Day Weekends
It seems like flexibility and increasing work-life balance is becoming a theme here. Jay Coates, founder of HireSpike.com, says:
“We are a new company and our first employee perk is Optional Mondays. This perk was specifically chosen to motivate employee productivity on Fridays. The logic is, Mondays are typically a drag. If our team knows in advance they won’t have to come in, we see increased productivity on Fridays. We believe they become so excited about their three-day weekend, that they have a sense of urgency to complete revenue-generating tasks before the week is over.”
Work is stressful. We get it. An Everest College survey found that 83% of US workers are stressed. To make matters worse, stress results in as much as $300 billion lost in productivity, according to Health Advocate.
Kent Stones, CEO of Stones Insight wants to help his employees relieve stress.
“I own a marketing research firm — just me right now. But as I add employees, the nature of this profession would make the first “perk” be about handling stress. Facilities and time for de-stressing during the day such as meditation, exercise, flexible work schedule, etc.”