It’s trendy to blame Millennials for the rise in “strange” workplace perks, but the truth is, every generation pushes back against the things that didn’t work out well for the generation before it. A request from your employee for a standing desk or fruit baskets instead of vending machines is not an act of sedition. It’s a broad hint that workplaces have improved, and if you want to be a top employer and build a better workplace you need to take note.
A lot of the perks you can offer your staff are low in overhead and high in returns. These perks make your employees healthier, happier, and more productive. Consider offering:
Sitting all day at one’s desk is not ideal, but neither is standing. Convertible desks, either full desks or desktop additions, give your employees the option to sit or stand as needed. It’s a low-cost investment that dramatically improves their health. If you don’t want to buy new desks and your office is in a safe and walkable neighbourhood, build a better workplace by encouraging your staff to take a breather every hour and walk around the block.
Pets at Work
Having a dog or cute pet around the office can relieve stress and provide that cute factor for the employees that spend time looking at cats online. You know they (and you) can’t resist those cute animal memes! To do this, however, you need hard and fast rules. Build a better workplace with pets by first taking a poll to see if anyone has allergies, and stipulate that all pets must be clean and potty trained. Have designated areas where the pets cannot go and don’t allow them to wander willy-nilly. Not everyone loves animals and the non-animal lovers’ right need to be respected too.
Nix Junk Food. Offer Healthy Snacks
It’s hard to resist that big box of donuts you treat the staff to now and then, but most of them would prefer a selection of fresh fruit, mineral water, or catered sandwiches. The health trend is alive and well and treating your employees to nutrient- rich foods means healthier workers for you.
Flexible Working Hours
In this age of both breadwinners doing 9-5, living in the sandwich generation, and paying for expensive daycare, offering your employees flexible hours gives you employer-of-the-year status. Your team will be much more productive knowing they can work around school/daycare hours, their partner’s schedule, or the busiest part of the daily commute. Of course, to build a better workplace with flexible hours, you must stipulate how much work must be done each week and ensure the staff get the hours in they need, but if starting earlier and leaving early, or starting in the afternoon and working late, or working from home on some days can be accommodated, it will be greatly appreciated.
A Dress Code
What? A dress code in this day of expressing individuality? Yes. This does not mean everyone needs to wear a suit (unless your business environment depends on it). This means having clear rules about what is allowable and what is not and making sure your employees understand those rules before they are hired. Today’s casual dress codes are confusing. Are jeans okay? What about strapless dresses in the summer? Board shorts? You don’t need to be militant (demand a lady wears panty hose and expect backlash!) but have some guidelines in place to prevent an HR nightmare when you ask your male employee to wear longer shorts or your female employee to wear an undershirt.
Open up to Possibilities to Build a Better Workplace
The workplace has changed, and those changes mean a more relaxed atmosphere. It can still be a very professional one that your employees love if you take the time to look at what is possible and make the changes that benefit everyone’s health and wellbeing.
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