Maybe you’ve heard it said that a happy employee makes for a happy employer. When your employees are dissatisfied with their wages, perceive a lack of employer flexibility, or don’t receive enough recognition for their efforts, their job performance is almost certain to decline. Keeping employee morale up is a sure way to ensure your company continues to thrive. But what are some perks that you could offer besides just a salary raise?
In her book Managing Off-site Staff for Small Business, Lin Grensing-Pophal argues in favor of schedule flexibility: “In a global, 24/7 world, the notion that all employees of an organization can work the same rigid schedule is obviously far outdated.” Depending on the nature of your company, it may be useful to establish a 9:00am-5:00pm schedule. However, there are several alternatives to consider when it comes to work schedules:
- Flexible start/end times: Using the example of Aflac, an American insurance company, Grensing-Pophal points out that schedules of 6:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. or 3:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. encompass the same number of hours that a 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. schedule does. Some family-minded employees will prefer these schedules; being able to create a split-shift structure with their spouse may save on childcare costs while allowing both parents to carry on full-time careers.
- Shorter weeks, longer hours: A forty-hour work week is usually compiled of eight-hour work days spread over five days, but there are other ways of accumulating forty hours of work. Ten-hour days spread over four days still establishes a forty-hour work week, as do three twelve-hour days. You may wish to offer an option to work Friday-Sunday for twelve hours a day each; this, too, will be preferable for family-minded employees whose spouse may work a traditional forty-hour week.
- Working from home: Allowing your employees to work from home part-time — or even full-time — can alleviate concerns such as office space, commute time, and disruptions in productivity that are common in the workplace. It provides perks for employees, but it can be beneficial for the employer in more ways than one; working from home may be an ideal option for the employer who is concerned about operation costs or office space.
Every business will be different, and not all of these options will work for every company. Sit down with your employees and ask for their preferences, then come up with possible plans for application. Allowing for flexible schedules may impress many of your employees, keeping them productive and with your company for a longer period of time.
Services and Provisions
Every employee has a unique background. Some employees may be married with children while others may be single; some will have a mortgage while others may be going to night school. Showing awareness for your employees’ unique circumstances will earn you their approval.
By providing some of the services below, you may be able to alleviate your employees’ stress levels considerably. Remember that stress can be a major inhibitor to productivity — the less your employees have to worry about things outside of the office, the more focused they’ll be on their jobs.
- Childcare: Many parents with young children have to wake up earlier in order to ensure their children get to daycare in time for them to get to work. By providing childcare, your employees have to make one fewer trip in the morning. They will also be able to pick up their children very soon after work. This convenient arrangement can avoid such hassles as time constraints, traffic, and fatigue for your employees, as well as potentially save on childcare costs.
- Pet accommodation: Some people, dog owners in particular, will be inclined to drive home during lunch hours to feed and walk their pets. Others send their pets to daycare to ensure they’re cared for throughout the work day. Remember that any way to make your employees’ lives easier is worth considering. You may decide to allow your employees to bring their dogs to work with them, either to sit with them at their desk or to be cared for in a daycare-type environment located at the office. A third option is to provide a company-centered dog-walking service to care for your employees’ pets at home. If you decide to allow your employees to bring their pets to work, however, ensure that all employees are comfortable; allergies or other inconveniences caused by pets may inspire more problems than they solve.
- Carpool service: Do a survey to see how many of your employees live in similar areas and provide a shuttle service. This will save your employees money — though some will object to the inconvenient nature of not having one’s own vehicle.
The best way to figure out what will work best for your company is to ask your employees! Don’t implement programs or services without first figuring out employee needs.
Remember that while flexibility and accommodation will make both you and your employees happy, being too lax may lead to a decline in productivity. Regardless of what you decide to implement, make sure the rules are very clear, and stick to them — perks are only successful if they ensure your company’s well-being. Once carefully assessed in relation to employee needs, perks have the potential to greatly improve your employees’ morale — and your company’s productivity, which can only increase your company’s profitability.
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