Up until the millennials came about, the types of employee benefits that one can provide was literally the last thing on the company’s mind.
Earlier, employees aspired to land a safe and secure job to settle into for the rest of their work life. Work-life balance was something practically unheard of.
But the corporate culture entered into an entirely new axis with the dot com boom of 1995. It brought along with it a wave of an entirely new flock of employees.
These young, bright and technology-driven workers started paying more interest to things like diversity, employee benefits package, and workplace culture. Suddenly it became really important for companies to actually try to attract and retain those top talents.
The change has managed to weave its way around the 21st century.
3 in 5 people (57%) report benefits and perks being among their top considerations before accepting a job.
However, you’re probably thinking: But we simply can’t afford to give away these types of benefits.
I really understand your dilemma. That’s why this list is all about great, actionable and (most importantly) affordable types of employee benefits that you can offer.
15 Types Of Employee Benefits That Costs Next To Nothing
Here we are focusing on 15 types of employee benefits (ideal for small businesses or those with a limited budget) that your employees would love.
1. Flexible Work Timings
This is probably one of the most desirable benefits that today’s employers can offer.
Not many employers trust their employees when not under the ever watchful eyes of the manager. But you will likely be surprised.
78% of employees said flexible work arrangements made them more productive.
Flexible work timings results in employees being more productive, have greater job satisfaction and tend to be happier in general.
The rigid 9-5 schedules push a lot of restrictions for employees who don’t work the best in the morning, had a rough night or simply work better from their bed. Flexible work timings give your employees the freedom to adjust their work schedules as per their requirement.
Also, it is easy to implement and hardly costs a penny. Start with flexible work schedules and go forward from there.
2. Yoga Classes
Workplace stress is one of the biggest factors contributing to anxiety and depression among employees.
26% of workers said they were “often or very often burned out or stressed by their work.
Yoga has long been proven to decrease stress levels, helps in resolving mood and also aids in better physical health. Thus it should seem natural to introduce yoga into your regular office spaces.
Bring in a yoga instructor once or twice a week has double the benefits. It is relatively inexpensive and also will help in increasing the productivity of employees with poor health.
3. Fun Office Activities
One of the things that attract future top candidates is having a great company culture.
Organizing fun office activities are a great way to facilitate bonding among your employees, reduce stress and gives everyone a chance to socialize and get to know each other.
And here's the plus side: they’re really fun.
Here are some examples of office activities that you can organize:
- Two Truths, One Lie: Gather everyone around a circle. Ask each of them to make three statements about themselves. Out of the three, one statement must be a lie. The other participants have to guess which one.
- Mix And Mingle: Random employees from different departments are selected to have lunch with.
- Set up a game room: Set up some group games in the break room. Get a ping-pong table or a chess set. You can even have a community jigsaw puzzle that people can work on during their lunch break.
4. Pet-Friendly Workspace
It’s official. Millennials are obsessed with pets. Open any social media and you are most likely to be bombarded with videos of puppies and kittens. In this scenario, making the workplace pet-friendly is a very attractive perk that you can offer.
Studies prove that pets have calming effects, reduce blood pressure, lower stress, and make employees more cordial and productive.
Pets bring about a kind of work-life balance that is very difficult to ignore.
For most of the owners, their pets provide a kind of stress reduction and comfort almost similar to a loved one. Also for pet owners, a lot of money can be saved which would else be spent on pet daycare or a walker.
Moreover, pets in a workplace build an environment of fun and also helps build camaraderie within the workplace.
5. Bereavement Leave
The Grief Recovery Institute reports that 85% of employees described their decision-making as “very poor” to “fair” in the weeks or months following a grief incident that affected them.
The loss of a loved one is monumental for any person. Giving time off to your employees to grieve and get their emotional state in a stable place is an essential type of employee benefit.
This reinstates the belief that you actually care about the mental health of your employees and not simply preach about it. It also aids your company in swerving off disasters that might be bought along from a distracted grieving employee.
6. Nap Area
Companies which highly prioritize employee wellness knows the benefits of napping.
Sleeping on the job is mostly considered to be a work-life taboo. But not for corporate giants such as Google, Nike or Zappos. These companies widely encourage their employees to get some winks if they feel drowsy or tired during their jobs.
A lack of sleep is estimated to costs companies around $63 billion each year in lost productivity.
Compared to the above, a short 20 minutes nap can help to boost alertness, increase performance and reduce fatigue. A short time is just enough to rejuvenate without losing essential work hours.
Set aside an area with comfortable couches, low lighting and comfortable pillows where employees can retire to during their work hour to de-stress.
7. Relaxed Dress Code
This is a crucial benefit, especially for millennial employees. Millennials tend to more assertive and view their dressing style as an essential part of their personality. They dread going to work in formals, ties and covering up piercings and tattoos.
Granted that some business roles such as sales have to adhere to strict dress mode. But for the most number of in-office roles, the formals can be discarded for a more casual look.
Case in point, Google engineers are seen around the campus wearing flip-flops and shorts, looking more like college students than actual professionals.
8. Child Care Zones
It’s no secret that workplace conditions of the past used to be tough on women. Even more so for mothers.
The scenario is far better today. With most companies offering maternity leaves and equal pay, women today have a much fairer ground. But, the responsibilities of a mother never stop.
It is very common to see women leaving their sick child, or dropping them off to daycare or taking leaves just because they couldn’t find a babysitter.
A childcare room in your office will be a boon to employees who for unavoidable circumstances need to watch over their kids. Place some toys, model trains, and dolls. Stock the rooms with diapers, common ailments, and fun wallpapers. Place some working desks so that employees can work simultaneously while watching over their kids.
9. Free Food
There’s something exciting about food. Especially when it’s free.
No matter the position, age or salary, employees simply can’t resist free food.
The cost of having around fruits, coffee, energy bars, cereal is nothing if compared to the money that you save for having happy and well-fed employees. Similarly, you can have Food Fridays where you bring in pizzas where the whole team can sit down and grab a bite.
Free snacks around the office can play a very important role in how your employees feel about you. Lowly paid interns who survive on ramen are mostly strongly inclined towards this particular benefit.
10. Workplace Gamification
Most humans are designed to have a competitive streak in them. It’s higher in some people, while the other’s are only mildly motivated.
However, no matter the circumstances workplace contests bring out the winner in every employee.
Gamification remains a cool way to make work more enjoyable for employees. It goes far beyond badges and leaderboards. It leads to a healthy competitive spirit, develops learning behaviors and leads to the feeling of achievement and getting recognized.
11. Wellness Programs For Health Benefits
Poor employee health is costing employers more than a half-trillion dollars and nearly 1.4 billion days of missed work each year.
To avoid being another one of the above statistics, a corporate wellness program is a much cheaper alternative. A wellness program can not only boost healthy living but also improve engagement and overall office morale.
Social based wellness programs with gamification provide even greater benefits with employees adopting a healthier lifestyle in general.
If you think that wellness programs are out of your budget but still want to cultivate a long term healthy culture, you can invest in other health care benefits like having an onsite gym. Or you can give away subsidized gym membership offers to your employees.
12. Paid Vacation
The good thing about this particular type of employee benefit is that it can be as conservative as giving one week a year. Or it can be as liberal as giving unlimited paid vacation such (I am looking at you Apple).
Employees today expect their company to give paid vacation off as part of their benefits package. No matter the amount of time you decide to allocate, your employees would appreciate the time off, which in turn helps in fostering employee loyalty towards the organization.
13. Commuter Benefits
The majority of office-goers live far from the company that they work in. This results in at least an hour or two of commute which in turns makes employees dread coming to the office. Subsequently, the money spent on daily travel piles up to a significant amount.
Make it easier for your employees and offer some sort of compensation for their daily commute. It might be yearly subway cards or even might be arranging for a carpool service. Also, you can arrange for a nightly cab service for employees who stay late to finish the job.
14. Insurance Plans And Fringe Benefits
No matter the type of insurance- be it life insurance, health insurance, disability insurance or retirement benefits- it heads the list of “must be provided” employee benefits. Tell employees that you don’t provide these type of benefit and watch the tp candidates walk right out of the job.
On top of that, providing fringe benefits like tuition reimbursement, retirement plans or bonuses are tied to higher employee morale and employee retention rates.
15. A Recognition Program
Doing a job becomes really tough when you don’t get appreciated for it. This is precisely why having a recognition program becomes important for an organization.
When an employee gets rewarded and recognized for doing a great job, it establishes a sense of belonging in them Moreover, the appreciation alone drives their future performance and boosts their morale.
Appreciated employees are also more likely to take responsibilities, work on more creative projects and also more motivated. Recognized employees equals to better employees.
Even something as small as a social shout out on the company’s board or getting special perks like “Employee Of The Month” Special Lunch is a sure way to make your people feel more valued.
Wrapping It Up
These 15 types of employee benefits are sure to boost your organization’s productivity, morale and even show a positive increase in overall business performance.
Do you know any more interesting employee benefits that we can use? Tell us in the comments below!