Imagine working in Malta and having your company provide you with breakfast and lunch for free, providing you with free transport to and from your workplace, allowing you to take your pet to the office and giving you extended vacations to follow your dreams. Well, for Google employees it’s not just a flight of fancy but a reality. However, do office perks still have the pulling power they were once thought to have?
Some of the world’s largest corporations are known to offer such benefits to their employees. Netflix for example, have no official working hours, so employees can work their 40-hour-week in any way they choose to. Facebook offers some great bonuses for new parents, with an extended parental leave, reimbursement for day care as well and up to $4,000 in baby cash. AirBnB offers $2,000 in cash to its employees to travel the world, while ASOS offer a 40% discount to its staff.
The concept of office perks is not a new one. The CEO of the Employee Benefits Research recalls how in the 1980s, companies were already providing dry-cleaning and auto repair bonuses to their employees.
A research by Glassdoor states that 79% of employees, particularly those of a younger age, would prefer additional benefits as opposed to a pay rise. But it is not just the customary soccer table that makes the difference. The study shows that employees value health insurance, increased vacations and performance bonuses more than an increase in salary. Having a flexible schedule and tuition reimbursement is also highly appreciated. This corresponds to research that in the long-term, experiences contribute to our happiness much more than materialistic rewards.
However, not everyone believes that such perks can offer satisfaction on a long-term basis. Sandi Mann, Senior Psychology lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire said that these benefits do not matter as much as social sensitivity. “‘The really important thing is that staff feel they are acknowledged and praised when they do good work,” he stated.
Evan Porter, who worked at a digital marketing agency in Atlana said that office perks only reach surface level. “The trendy office did sound appealing. But ultimately the actual day-to-day management and the things that went on, wore on me over time."
Others have commented that the most important thing is creating a positive company culture that helps employees feel that they fit within the organisation and that they are esteemed. The fancy office perks are likely to attract you towards a job, but in time, the satisfaction is likely to wear off, unless backed up other factors, such as being valued as an employee.
It seems that office perks can indeed make a difference, however this is only the case when combined with the right package and other work conditions.
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