A good work perk has the power to influenceÂ your decision to join a new company or, more crucially, how long youâ€™ll stay in your current one.
Itâ€™s tempting for employers to ignore just how attractive non-contractual bonuses can be, but the reality is, more companies are waking up to see that all work and no play really does make employeesÂ pretty dull â€“ and disgruntled.
Here are some of the more popular work perks and exactly how they benefit both employees and employers.
Unlimited leave = great employees
Most companies who employ the unlimited leave rule â€“ namely eHarmony Australia, Virgin, Netflix, Evernote â€“ do so in order to attract top talent. But, in addition to pulling in the big guns, companies actually save money by implementing this policy for their workforce. Ask.com, for example, reportedly saved 52 hours every year due to not having to track employee holiday days. Not only that, but studies also show that when given an unlimited amount of leave to take, employees actually take less.
Free meals = higher productivity and more actual work
Dropbox, Yahoo and Google are on the list of workplaces that provide their staff fantastic free meals, and with good reason.
Not only does a good old feed give employees a serious reason to love their jobs, as well a boost of energy, helping them to get their work done faster, but itâ€™s actually a sneaky way of getting staff to do a little extra work.
Consider this: if an on-site cafÃ© or the like can save just half an hour a day (a coffee break to grab a latte alone is around 15 minutes) every day for 48 weeks a year, youâ€™ve just got an extra 120 hours of work out of that employee, with the only cost being a few free sandwiches. And the employee is pretty happy too: workers being â€œextremely happyâ€ at work jumps from 11Â to 67 per cent when free food is offered, says this US-based survey.
Play centres = more creativity
We may joke about the abundance of ping-pong tables in top tech firms, but thereâ€™s a cognitive benefit to having spaces to play in your office.
â€œNeuroscience is finding that when we are idle, in leisure, our brains are most active,â€ explains Brigid Schulte in her book, Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time. â€œThe Default Mode Network lights up, which, like airport hubs, connects parts of our brain that donâ€™t typically communicate. So a stray thought, a random memory, an image can combine in novel ways to produce novel ideas.â€
On-site childcare = lower staff turnover
For company culture leader Patagonia, on-site childcare has been a mainstay of their Ventura, California, office for 33 years, and considering how beneficial it is for employee productivity and staff turnover, itâ€™s a wonder more companies donâ€™t follow suit. Patagoniaâ€™s CEO, Rose Marcario, even says that the costs of the venture are recouped at 91Â per cent â€“Â taking into account things like costly staff turnover (the turnover rate for the last five years is 25Â per cent less for parents who have children in the program versus those throughout the rest of Patagoniaâ€™s workforce) and the increase in productivity and workplace happiness, which estimates to count as 11Â per cent of the recouped costs. Think about it â€“ if you were a hardworking parent and your company offered on-site childcare, would you go anywhere else?