We’ve all heard, and perhaps dreamt about, Facebook’s barista coffee bar or Google’s free meals (I mean, every meal!). In fact, companies across the spectrum are starting to realise that money isn’t the only way to keep employees happy. Of course salary matters, but other perks do, too – from making working life easier for parents, to boosting health and wellbeing.
Recent research from Monster.com in the Philippines uncovered the expectations and challenges of fresh graduates looking for a job. It also explored what non-salary benefits they look for. Here are five common office perks that matter to people.
Flexible working It is about time the 9 to 5 died. Such a rigid work routine really does belong to Dolly Parton’s era, when fax was one of the most sophisticated technologies at work. Now, employees value being able to vary their hours to better integrate with busy personal lives. For some, that could mean coming in earlier and leaving earlier to beat the commuter crush, or taking time out in the middle of the day if they have to make late night calls to customers in other time zones.
Check what flexible working policies and tools for remote working your employer has, such as laptops and offsite login access. If they don’t have these, see whether your manager would be willing to consider different working arrangements – as long as you hit deadlines and targets, of course.
Childcare assistance Our poll found 88% of those surveyed in the Philippines said firms of a certain size should provide in-house crèches for employees. This finding chimes with demands for employers to make it easier for parents to combine work and parenthood, and measures to keep women in the workforce.
Currently, the Philippines has one of the shortest paid maternity leave policies in ASEAN – just 60 days, compared to 112 in Singapore and 180 in Vietnam. A law under discussion would double that allowance to 120 days. Fingers crossed.
Work/life balance Do you live to work, or work to live? For most people, it’s the latter. Having quality time off to enjoy with friends and family, or to pursue hobbies and interests, is crucial to producing contented staff. It should be a business priority too – after all, happy employees are productive employees.
Wellbeing Time off isn’t the only thing that leads to employee happiness. Physical exercise and health is just as important. One perk that always goes down well are wellness initiatives: either an onsite gym or weekly yoga classes in the office, to at-your-desk mini-massages. Not all companies can afford such luxuries, but even small gestures can make a big difference, such as fresh fruit each day, or vouchers or money to put towards gym membership. Find out what perks your business offers, you might find they already have them in place – they just aren’t advertised.
Volunteer time In addition to paid holiday, some companies are experimenting with giving staff a few days off each year to volunteer with their favourite charity, or local social cause. Employees are paid for these days, and what the business loses in (a very few days’) work they reap back in employee loyalty. People appreciate companies with a social conscience, which helps them feel better at work, too.