We’ve all heard the crazy stories about the work environments of tech giants like Google or Facebook, which are noted for offering extravagant Employee perks. From “nap pods” to on-site gyms, and even company-managed apartments and laundry facilities, there seems to be no limit to what companies will do in order to keep their workforce happy and engaged.
This might sound great to new hires, but problems are bound to arise when employees are showered with perks without consideration for productivity. There are certainly ways that companies can make sure they’re creating an attractive working environment without offering too much of a good thing. In order to understand how to do this, we must first look at some of the most popular perks, and how they might hurt your company if not deployed in the right way.
Connectivity is at an all-time high, and it’s only bound to grow in the future. The need for office space to house every employee is declining, and in many cases companies can recruit employees who may never need to show up to work at the office. Offering the ability to work remotely can help a company expand its hiring capabilities and allows an employee to have a more flexible working arrangement.
Though undoubtedly a much-needed innovation in recruiting and productivity, remote work isn’t right for everyone. It can be easy for employees to take advantage of this system if organizations don’t have the proper processes in place to track productivity or workflow reporting. Establishing accountability protocols, scheduling live check-ins and integrating project management and scheduling software can all help to keep employees on track, no matter where they’re working.
In the era of convenience, it’s becoming commonplace for companies to offer employees easy access to free food and beverages in addition to on-site amenities like nutritionists, masseuses and gyms.
This all-inclusive package can even combine living spaces with new offices to create a college campus vibe to attract younger applicants. This is especially prevalent in the tech industry. Prime examples include Google as well as Oracle’s Class Of program — CEO Mark Hurd recently unveiled luxury campus apartments catering to recent college grads.
As fun as an on-demand office may seem, it can create an “always-on” culture. Employees may feel like they can never get away from work. This can increase stress or resentment and lead to higher turnover rates. Additionally, companies that attempt to influence the emotional health and productivity of their employees by designing the workspace as a kind of playground are often criticized for infantilizing their workers. It’s important to take into account a company’s specific needs and organizational structure rather than try to mimic that of another simply because of their perceived success.
Open office environment
Open-floor offices are designed to foster a cost-effective, trendy environment of collaboration and transparency among co-workers and management. Coworkers can network and problem-solve without the constraints of cubicles and traditionally restrictive interpersonal interactions.
Distractions can occur in any work setting, but they are much harder to curb in an open floor plan office. Along with the potential risk of low productivity, open offices could be a tough sell for those concerned with privacy and germs. Addressing this could be as simple as regrouping pieces of furniture to create a sense of flow, or incorporating green elements like indoor plants or recycled glass accents in order to break up a monotonous texture palette.
Extended healthcare options
Healthy employees are generally less stressed and more productive than unhealthier counterparts. Good health also reduces absenteeism and voluntary turnover, along with the costs associated with workplace stress and injury, making it one of the most important tools for retaining top performers and attracting potential candidates. Some companies, like General Electric and Whole Foods, have even taken the initiative of providing on-site healthcare resources like nutritionists and health coaches to their employees.
In many cases, simply offering health insurance is not enough — taking a more proactive approach to healthcare is critical to retaining a happy, productive workforce. One way to keep employees from falling into poor health is to ingrain a collective awareness of best practices, whether that entails providing a health coach on a semi-regular basis or launching a hands-on companywide program featuring various motivational or competitive events.
Maintaining benefits while managing a workforce
It’s important to note that what we view as HR “problems” stem from issues rooted in working culture. The answer doesn’t lie in taking away workplace amenities. Nurturing an environment in which your employees feel empowered, accountable, engaged and cared for will ultimately prove to be the solution for companies hesitant to remove any of the above from their benefits package.
In short, a comprehensive benefits package is by far the most alluring factor for any job candidate. If these amenities aren’t managed properly, however, companies run the risk of unintentionally hindering their own success by simultaneously sabotaging their workforce.
Insightlink Communications is a leader in full service employee surveys and offers a range of employee survey products and services to fit their client's needs. With over 18 years of experience, Insightlink's reputation has been built on giving organizations the knowledge they need to create effective change using their acclaimed employee research, analytics, benchmarking and survey methodologies. Insightlink's expertise in data collection reporting and analytics takes the pressure off organizations that find data overwhelming and daunting creating reports that are digestible and understandable, simple and easy to understand for organizations of any size and experience level. For more information please contact Lynn Gore at 866-802-8095 ext 705 or visit our website here.
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