Office perks can liven up the workplace and have a big impact at a small expense. When you create yours, you should start by knowing what your employees want and how it reflects your workplace culture.
Perks can help your employees enjoy their jobs even more. Here are the basics to offering them at your company.
What are Office Perks?
Office perks, sometimes called fringe benefits, are non-wage offerings for employees. In other words, they’re not the same as benefits like insurance and paid leave, or bonuses given out as rewards for performance.
Office perks relate more to company culture, and they look different for every business. That makes them somewhat difficult to define, but they should reflect and support the work experience you want to build for your employees.
They’re not meant to be used to distract employees from bigger issues, like leadership problems, or to relate directly to employees’ work at all. Instead, they should improve employee well-being and support your team in their work and lives.
The Basics of Office Perks
Office perks come in many forms, and the ones at your company won’t look the same as those at someone else’s.
Here are a few things you should know about office perks before you decide what to offer.
As the name suggests, purchasable perks are those you can buy for your employees.
Many people know these as catered lunches or company outings, but they can extend beyond that. Purchasable perks can include gym memberships, dry cleaning services, professional education opportunities, student loan forgiveness, and any other things that require dipping into your company budget to offer.
For these types of offerings, perk stipends allow your company a certain amount of the budget to cover employee needs. These accounts are sometimes called lifestyle spending accounts.
Perk stipends exist for various employee needs, from mental health support to family needs, like pet or parent care.
In short, purchasable perks include anything you buy to support your employees that doesn’t have to do with their salaries, insurance, or parts of the job they are already entitled to, like office supplies or new equipment.
Programmatic perks are written into your company’s policies. They often have to do with workplace flexibility and how employees can spend their time in the office.
These perks might include remote work opportunities, allowing employees to bring pets to work, or giving them the option to take Fridays off in summer, possibly in exchange for extended hours during the rest of the week.
Programmatic perks allow workers more choice and agency in their work style. They move away from your typical rigid workplace and give employees the freedom to choose how they work most productively.
These perks often create a more relaxed atmosphere that makes employees feel more comfortable in their environment.
Environmental perks relate to how you set up your physical office. They encompass any on-site amenities that employees can take advantage of while at the office.
That includes office setup, meditation rooms, areas for exercise and activity, and other options for how employees spend their time at work.
Environmental perks typically allow for employee breaks that allow them to replenish or have fun during the workday. Google’s famous napping pods are a great example of environmental perks.
These options give employees the ability to do more than sit at their desks all day. It also helps keep them healthy when they have flexibility and wellness options in their work environment.
Support Employees Beyond Work
They’re called office perks, but their impact isn’t limited to the office.
Some places offer unstructured work hours that allow employees more flexibility, so they can work at their best, whatever that looks like.
Office perks go beyond mandatory benefits and workplace accommodations. They make employees’ lives easier, which can mean in-office benefits or a stipend that employees can use as needed, for everything from office snacks to memberships and subscriptions.
Many places offer childcare or even pet daycare services.
Office perks boost productivity by reducing stress on employees and making their lives easier. That’s why when you create them, you should focus on employee wellness, not just the amount of work they’ll produce in return for having a certain perk.
These perks often allow employees to connect by letting them bond over personal interests. It creates a friendly work culture and makes it easy for employees to want to come to work if the company has an otherwise positive environment.
3 Tools to Improve Office Perks
When you offer office perks, you need to know which ones have the most impact on your employees. These tools can help you adjust your perks to suit your staff and ensure they have the impact you want on your company culture.
Gusto offers comprehensive features and tools to help you understand your employee needs and productivity.
Project tracking and workforce costing show you employee productivity. These metrics show the difference between offering employees different perks, so you can see how new ones impact their work life.
Gusto lets you set paid time off (PTO) and other events in its system. That includes a calendar to keep track of company events, along with team tasks.
With plenty of integrations, you can keep track of everything from payroll to employee development and learning opportunities. Gusto also lets you set up commuter benefits and cash accounts for spending on employee perks.
Gusto offers three packages:
- Simple: $40 per month base price + $6 per month per person
- Plus: $80 per month base price + $12 per month per person
- Premium: Contact Gusto for custom pricing
The higher tiers offer more HR tools to help with office perks and analytics. The biggest difference is that Simple allows you to run payroll in one state, whereas the Plus plan allows you to run multi-state payrolls.
With upgraded plans, you also get greater access to HR professionals for advice on how to take care of employees over the long term.
Gusto works best for small businesses and teams. It helps you focus on everyone, so no one falls through the cracks.
Whether you use it on desktop or mobile, Zenefits gives you the resources you need to create and track office perks.
It has a benefits tool to set up perks and shows you what’s working and what isn’t with analytics. With time tracking, you can see how your employees use their perks, as well as other benefits like PTO. These metrics give you an idea of how your employees benefit from different offerings.
Zenefits is an all-in-one HR software solution that helps you manage every aspect of your company. It ensures that all your benefits come at an affordable cost while giving your employees the maximum value from each offering.
Zenefits offering three packages:
- Essentials: $8 per month per employee
- Growth: $14 per month per employee
- Zen: $21 per month per employee
The Zen tier in particular offers information on employee well-being based on time tracking metrics and other statistics.
It also has assessments that measure employee well-being. With employee engagement surveys and the People Hub, you can engage employees further and involve them in improving their work environment.
Deputy’s strongest point is scheduling, so you’ll never lose track of company events. It helps you adapt better to employee needs as you create new ways to work that benefit employees and your business as a whole.
Deputy comes in handy if you have a remote or flexible work schedule rather than the traditional nine to five. It also offers custom solutions for different industries, from restaurants to manufacturing to offices.
This solution helps you stick to your budget without sacrificing employee wellness. It helps you allocate funds toward office perks while maintaining your budget and scheduling needs.
Deputy integrates with other tools to ensure you have well-rounded perks and see how your employees benefit from them. That way, you know which ones to keep, what to do more often, and what doesn’t have the desired impact.
Deputy offers four packages:
- Scheduling: $2.50 per user per month
- Time & Attendance: $2.50 per user per month
- Premium: $4.50 per user per month
- Enterprise: Custom pricing
For maximum value in your office perks, the Premium and Enterprise tiers offer reporting, employee scheduling, and other features that let you customize how you make office perks work for your company.
3 Tricks for Creating Office Perks
There are a few things you should consider when you’re putting together office perks. Here’s how to make the best of them so that your employees can use them to the fullest.
Balance Personal and Professional
Make sure your office perks account for both your employees’ personal and professional wellbeing. Perks should help them balance their work and personal lives.
For example, childcare is a workplace perk that saves the employee money on daycare services, reduces stress when it comes to finding childcare, and allows them to keep their children nearby. It can even mean that they can see their kids on breaks or during the workday.
Perks should allow employees to make use of services they may not otherwise have access to, like getting a gym membership.
Perks should benefit your employees in ways that their regular benefits, like insurance, don’t. They go beyond absolute necessities and extend to offerings employees can use to better their overall quality of life alongside their workplace productivity.
Focus on Employee Wellbeing
Employee well-being is a major part of productivity, morale, and even employee retainment. By giving employees opportunities to take care of themselves at work, you create a more positive company culture and keep employees happy.
Offering healthy food at work means that employees have the nutrition they need to maintain optimal mental and physical functionality.
Meditation, yoga, and other relaxation perks reduce employee stress. Lower stress increases productivity and keeps up mental health, allowing employees to feel their best at work.
Focusing on well-being looks different depending on the company, but the biggest consideration here is that anything you offer should intend to benefit your team, not just your revenue.
Ask What Employees Want
Office perks don’t mean much if your employees either don’t want or can’t use them. For example, if most of your employees don’t have pets or kids, offering pet insurance or childcare won’t mean much.
To find out what your employees need, get them involved in your workplace culture and the perks you offer. That way, they know you’re listening and value their input.
Involving your employees shows that you’re willing to create actionable solutions that benefit them. People want to work for a company that cares, and they’ll notice if you work to implement perks that work for them.
Asking employees what they want also saves you the trouble of trial and error. While perks are usually fairly low cost, understanding employee needs avoids wasting time and money trying out things employees don’t need. It also ensures more satisfied employees.
What to Do Next
Along with office perks, you should learn about other aspects that contribute to workplace culture and happy employees. Creating a healthy workplace culture means having all the resources to make that happen. That might include working with a professional employer organization (PEO).
You should have a way to manage the work your employees do as much as you pay attention to their use of perks. HR software helps you maintain balance in the workplace and track time, schedule meetings, handle payroll, and more. These solutions can help you coordinate all these responsibilities in one place.