Four Work Perks That Unexpectedly Benefit Employers Too

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Put these to your boss.

Office space and three indoor plants upon a table

A good work perk has the power to influence your decision to join a new company or, more crucially, how long you’ll stay in your current one.

It’s tempting for employers to ignore just how attractive non-contractual bonuses can be, but the reality is, more companies are waking up to see that all work and no play really does make employees pretty dull – and disgruntled.

Here are some of the more popular work perks and exactly how they benefit both employees and employers.

Unlimited leave = great employees

Most companies who employ the unlimited leave rule – namely eHarmony Australia, Virgin, Netflix, Evernote – do so in order to attract top talent. But, in addition to pulling in the big guns, companies actually save money by implementing this policy for their workforce. Ask.com, for example, reportedly saved 52 hours every year due to not having to track employee holiday days. Not only that, but studies also show that when given an unlimited amount of leave to take, employees actually take less.

Free meals = higher productivity and more actual work

Dropbox, Yahoo and Google are on the list of workplaces that provide their staff fantastic free meals, and with good reason.

Not only does a good old feed give employees a serious reason to love their jobs, as well a boost of energy, helping them to get their work done faster, but it’s actually a sneaky way of getting staff to do a little extra work.

Consider this: if an on-site café or the like can save just half an hour a day (a coffee break to grab a latte alone is around 15 minutes) every day for 48 weeks a year, you’ve just got an extra 120 hours of work out of that employee, with the only cost being a few free sandwiches. And the employee is pretty happy too: workers being “extremely happy” at work jumps from 11 to 67 per cent when free food is offered, says this US-based survey.

Play centres = more creativity

We may joke about the abundance of ping-pong tables in top tech firms, but there’s a cognitive benefit to having spaces to play in your office.

“Neuroscience is finding that when we are idle, in leisure, our brains are most active,” explains Brigid Schulte in her book, Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time. “The Default Mode Network lights up, which, like airport hubs, connects parts of our brain that don’t typically communicate. So a stray thought, a random memory, an image can combine in novel ways to produce novel ideas.”

On-site childcare = lower staff turnover

For company culture leader Patagonia, on-site childcare has been a mainstay of their Ventura, California, office for 33 years, and considering how beneficial it is for employee productivity and staff turnover, it’s a wonder more companies don’t follow suit. Patagonia’s CEO, Rose Marcario, even says that the costs of the venture are recouped at 91 per cent – taking into account things like costly staff turnover (the turnover rate for the last five years is 25 per cent less for parents who have children in the program versus those throughout the rest of Patagonia’s workforce) and the increase in productivity and workplace happiness, which estimates to count as 11 per cent of the recouped costs. Think about it – if you were a hardworking parent and your company offered on-site childcare, would you go anywhere else?

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