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The new era of workplace perks

Philip Shepherd

28th May 2021

Perks or benefits are a great way for workplaces to show their appreciation to employees and build staff loyalty.

While they have long been a standard part of the job offering, what constitutes a desirable benefit has changed over the years. Following the pandemic, we’re starting to see a new era of workplace perks breaking the mould yet again.

Traditional perks

Many of what you might consider to be more traditional perks are very much still alive and well, although they may take a back seat in terms of preference for younger jobseekers.

These might include:

  • Pension
  • Healthcare plans
  • Generous annual leave
  • Company car
  • Annual bonus

While these can still be valuable options to attract and retain a great workforce, they no longer hold as much sway as they would have done ten years ago—at least not on their own.

Post-Google perks

When the world first learned of Google’s fun and laid back offices, other companies began to emulate the Silicon Valley style in the hopes that these more unusual perks would boost morale and encourage a physical presence in the office.

We started to see:

  • Free meals and snacks
  • Pool, ping-pong and table football
  • Hot-desking and breakout areas
  • On-site gyms and gym memberships
  • Free beer

While these perks are quite fun, they are often only a temporary fix. They are relatively cheap to implement, cheaper than boosting salaries across the board or offering generous pension or healthcare plans, and can feel superficial compared to other benefits.

Over recent years, employees have begun to resent a fun-only approach to benefits, placing more value on their free time than shiny distractions like beer and pool. This approach to benefits is unlikely to win you long-term loyalty and may instead result in high staff turnover.

Post-pandemic perks

The coronavirus pandemic has had a profound impact on just about every aspect of our lives, with employment being one of the most noticeable changes.

The ONS reported that 46.6% of people in employment in the UK worked from home in April 2020, and that 86.0% did so as a direct result of coronavirus. Home working has shed new light on how we spend our time, with many workers realising the toll that the commute, 9–5 working hours and time away from their family has on their happiness and mental health.

In light of this, come of the most sought after employment perks now include:

  • Flexible working hours
  • Option to work from home
  • Project-based workload rather than set hours
  • Help with commuting costs
  • Mental health support

Mix-and-match perks

However, a one-size-fits-all approach simply isn’t going to cut it when it comes to the new era of workplace perks. It’s important to remember that every employee is a unique human being with their own lives, hobbies and responsibilities outside of the office.

As well as offering a wide variety of actually beneficial benefits, allowing employees to mix and match the ones that most appeal to them is a great way to build loyalty and actually improve the wellbeing of your workforce. This means that each person is able to tailor their benefits package to suit their individual needs and preferences, giving them real value.

Very few companies are offering these more modern perks, and even fewer give employees the opportunity to choose which benefits they would like to receive. Offering this in your organisation is therefore a great way to stand out from the competition in a meaningful way, allowing you to attract and retain great talent.

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Philip Shepherd

Philip Shepherd

Founder & CEO

Philip specialises in: Senior, Director and C-Level roles in Digital Marketing

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