When you run a business, everything is data. You pore of P&L statements and spreadsheets, always attempting to reduce costs and maximize profits. It’s important to remember, though, that your employees are people. Like you, they have full lives happening parallel to their “work lives.” They do their best work when you acknowledge this. One way is by offering perks that fit their needs.
A recent survey by SCORE showed that 53% of employees reported more perks in the workplace increased their quality of life. So what can you offer that will enhance your employees’ lives, create a winning company culture, and retain the best workers in your industry?
We’ve talked in the past about some kinds of wellness programs you might offer. From physical, to mental, to financial wellness, employees benefit from these resources. When they benefit, you benefit.
Wellness programs can range in cost depending on what you can commit. You might offer something as simple as educational videos that people can watch on company time to learn about, for example, managing money or healthful eating. You could partner with a local gym on a corporate membership. Some companies even bring in experts to work with employees during lunch breaks or before work. These could be professionals who teach anything from yoga to personal self-defense to relaxation techniques.
Flexible Work Schedules
Flexibility is crucial to work-life balance. Depending on the type of company you run, flexibility may look different. If you operate during traditional business hours, you might make small concessions like letting someone start an hour earlier to avoid traffic and leave an hour earlier to pick up their children from school. If you’re an around-the-clock operation, you might vary shifts and break times to best accommodate employees’ different lifestyles.
Employees with children or dependent adults at home may be especially drawn to take a job in a place that understands their needs. For example, you might let them take a couple of hours away for a doctor’s appointment if they can make up that time later in the week. Another great perk is floating holidays. They allow a person to take a day off when they need it most.
Some companies go so far as to allow unlimited vacation. As long as an employee get all of his or her work done, it’s at their discretion to take time off. As an HR professional describes in this article for The Muse, “It’s a focus on producing great results, rather than just putting in the hours.” Only you can decide if this would work for your company.
Another way to provide flexibility is by permitting remote work. Even industries that handle sensitive information can work remotely with the right security measures. Work with your IT team to discover the technology needs to make it feasible. Ensure that employees stay in the loop, wherever they work, through regular online check-ins.
People in some positions can work remotely all the time, perhaps joining in person for meetings. However, even meetings today often take place via video. That said, if you are not comfortable with having employees off-site all the time, you can start by offering one remote day per week. Then take time to work out any kinks and decide whether to expand the opportunity.
Everyone’s brain needs a break. In fact, so do their bodies. For people who sit a lot or engage in repetitive motions all day, moving around is crucial. As part of your wellness program mentioned above, you could lead daily mini-workouts or stretching sessions. Or, you might allow employees time to take walks around the building or a nearby neighborhood. You can keep these productive by holding “walking meetings.”
Another idea, of course, is to install arcade games or a foosball table. These may sound silly, but they can provide a much-needed opportunity to decompress and generate camaraderie among workers. If you really want to win them over, let them participate in deciding what to get.
You can also plan outings or team lunches. These can be hard to fit into packed schedules, but try to make time for some kind of social interaction at least once per month.
Finally, don’t make the mistake of believing creative perks make up for lower salaries or lack of health benefits. Employees report that those basics still mean the most. After all, employees will struggle to focus on work when they’re worried about how to pay a medical bill or their child’s tuition. But do strive to provide a unique, engaging workplace where people are glad to show up each day.