What could beat that Friday feeling, when the weekend is so close you can almost touch it? According to 35% of UK office workers, a finish-early- Friday policy would be a good start. We surveyed 2,000 full-time office employees about perks like games rooms and employee discounts, asking what they have and what they want. We also found which industries offer the most attractive perks – ever heard of ‘pawternity’ leave?
What we found surprised us: while some UK workers are swimming in so many add-ons you wonder when they get their work done, some are feeling woefully underappreciated and it’s making them consider their employment options. In both cases, businesses should take note.
Time is money
It turns out keeping employees happy might not be as expensive as you’d imagine – what they want most is a little more free time. When asked which perks they viewed as most desirable, unlimited holiday and early finish Fridays were the most popular, as agreed by 35% of respondents.
While an unlimited holiday allowance might sound like a business nightmare, 1 in 20 people would happily give up 11–15% of their salary if they could take off as much time as they wanted.
Similarly, 30% revealed they’d like flexible working hours, with one fifth of people keen to sacrifice up to 15% of their paycheque for the privilege.
The six-hour work day
Work-life balance has become commonplace in recent years, but what about chopping two hours off your normal eight hour day? Some wonder if allowing employees to work shorter hours is a waste of money. Others argue it’s a sound investment that increases productivity.
Several of Sweden’s biggest employers have experimented with a six-hour working day, with the intention of boosting motivation and efficiency. The results have been promising: for example, Toyota introduced the policy in 2002 and reported it led to a happier workforce and a decrease in staff turnover.
When we asked them, 49% of the UK office workers said a six-hour work day would make them more productive, suggesting it’s something UK employers would benefit from.
Gone are the days when free coffee and an annual Christmas party were all you needed to wow your workforce. Perks matter in 2017, with 38% of office workers saying they’d consider switching companies to get the benefits they want. In a bid to stand out, more employers are coming up with unusual perks to attract and maintain the right talent.
BrewDog, Scottish craft lager firebrand, is one such firm. It recently announced employees who adopted a puppy or rescue dog could take up to one week paid ‘pawternity’ to housetrain their new bundle of fur.
While a standard gym membership might be old-hat, fitness giant Reebok has stepped it up, offering staff at its US headquarters one hour a day to work out on site with their own personal trainer.
New York-based online retailer Boxed went above and beyond: it paid for employees to send their kids to university and even shelled out $20k to help workers pay for their wedding.
If workers really would hand in their notice to for the right extra, perhaps it’s time for businesses to find what their most coveted potential employees are really after and tap into their perk desires?
Early finish Fridays
If you aren’t getting the perks you want, you might not just be in the wrong job but the wrong industry altogether. If you’re looking for early finish Fridays, perhaps consider a career in engineering and manufacturing, where 33% currently enjoy this perk.
This was closely followed by those in marketing, advertising, and PR at 25%.
On the flipside, only 2% of insurance and pensions workers can be found with their feet up at home at 5:30pm on a Friday.
Company-wide bonus schemes are another highly desirable perk, leisure and tourism workers are most likely to enjoy a cash top-up, closely followed by bankers. Chances are if your occupation is in public services or admin, you’re not so lucky: just 6.23% have a bonus scheme. But it’s not all bad news, because a huge 71% of you benefit from flexible hours, with charity and voluntary workers second at 55%.
Pounds to perks
Our survey confirmed that those with the lowest happiness rating received the lowest amount of perks. At the other end of the scale, the happiest UK workers said their company spends more on social events each month.
So, what does it cost a business to provide their employees with an attractive benefits package? We asked a company that employs 70 people to break down the cost attached to each of their office perks.
Flexible working – £0pcm
There is an element of admin work involved in running a flexible working scheme, but the relaxed attitude and easy booking system keep this perk relatively hassle free. Employees either make up their working hours on another day or work remotely. It’s a simple, low-cost perk that wins points from employees who enjoy the work-life balance it provides.
Perkbox – £378pcm
With a host of varied and attractive perks, such as free mobile insurance, cut-price cinema tickets, and discounted restaurant and leisure, companies sign up to the Perkbox scheme and it allows employees to pick and choose certain commercial benefits as they please.
Health Insurance – £3,150pcm
With an average cost of £45 per person each month, health insurance for a team of 70 will cost you around £3,150pcm.
Pension – £7,544pcm
While a company pension might not perk the pulse, it’ll be appreciated in the long run. It’s also now a legal requirement for all businesses.
Tea and coffee – £100pcm
We all need a caffeine kick in the morning, right? Something many take for granted, it’s pretty much essential these days, and an inexpensive way to keep your staff energy levels up.
Fresh fruit – £194pcm
They say health and happiness come hand in hand, and so encouraging your staff to get their vitamin fix is a better alternative to a vending machine packed with sugary snacks.
Christmas Party – £32pp
Unless you want to be labelled a Scrooge, this perk is essential. You can book a good-quality venue for around £32pp, which is a small price to pay for what’s often a memorable way to end the year.
Team social events – £1,200 per event
Holding regular social events throughout the year is a sure-fire way to keep staff happy and motivated. While it’s not a cheap perk, it’s one that seems to work wonders for morale.
With bigger, better perks becoming more commonplace, now is a good time for employers to review their benefits packages if they want to keep attracting the type of talent that keeps them competitive. After all, who wouldn’t want to work somewhere that gives them that early finish Friday feeling?
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