By: Nick Brenner
10 years ago, companies described their culture in the collaboration, growth opportunities and access to management. Today, they’re touting Ping-Pong tables, free snacks, happy hours, flexible schedules and unlimited vacation: the new norms. While these perks are fun and frivolous on the surface, they tap into the productivity, happiness and loyalty of employees in your company on a much deeper level.
These benefits create the mindset for people that your company cares about your happiness and work/life balance. For example, when working from home or remotely, an employee sees their time and ability to manage themselves as being valued by their employer. It also gives them the freedom to be more productive because there is no longer time wasted with commuting, they’re able to work on the schedule that best fits their most productive times, and there are no workplace distractions.
For me personally, waking up in the morning can be a tall task. I set multiple alarms to make sure I wake up and give myself just enough time to make it into the office on time with getting the maximum amount of sleep. I have found, however, that I do my best work from my couch or bed late at night. Although I’m able to get work done at an 8–4 job, having a flexible schedule that does not confine me improves my overall productivity and happiness.
Similarly, events such as team happy hours, designated activity rooms in offices or free snacks create a culture that supports personal interaction and fun along with productivity and work. These environments allow employees to build stronger personal relationships with coworkers in more casual spaces, which leads to a stronger and more confident working relationship.
With a flexible schedule and unlimited vacation, an employee sees that their employer cares about taking time away from work to enjoy life. People will not feel pressured to be on the clock nonstop — thus, when hard work is needed and people could get stressed, the morale of the company continues to be high because employees feel valued and understand that they will get their break when the time is right.
While some of these unique benefits can be hard to offer or perfect, companies need to place effort into figuring out how they can offer unique, personal and more flexible environments as a whole. It may be snacks for one company and half-day Fridays for another, but any effort begins to show employees and future hires that the company culture is one of consideration, work/life balance and investment in growth.
So the next time you’re thinking of hiring, perhaps consider talking more about the non-traditional benefits as well — it may surprise you how well it works.
Nick is an Associate at 113 Industries, specializing in Consumer Insights and Strategy. He is also an expert millennial, watcher of sports, and Lady Gaga fanatic