Celebrate, people: the dreaded Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 grind is finally on its way out.
In its place, we have perks like flexible work hours, spaces to do yoga or exercise, beer or wine social nights and team bonding through community involvement.
It seems like employers are finally catching on that prioritizing the mental and physical health of their employees creates a more positive, productive and comfortable work environment.
Here are six unique perks that are proven to change the workplace for the better. If your company doesn’t have them yet, it’s high time to start campaigning.
1. Remote work and flexible hours
From working in sweatpants to being able to take the dog out for a walk on breaks, working from home is definitely a company perk loaded with benefits. Being able to adapt working hours to spend more time with loved ones (and work near a fridge packed with healthy food) helps employees feel happier and less stressed, allowing them to strike a more manageable work-life balance. Working remotely also means less time spent commuting and more time actually working; which is a win-win for the whole team.
2. Space to breathe, move
Is sitting the new smoking? With so many desk jobs and only two in 10 adults meeting the Canadian Physical Activity guidelines, it’s more important than ever for employers to encourage movement for their employees. That could mean anything from incorporating bike storage, spaces for yoga, bouldering and meditation, to developing work environments with natural sunlight and open-spaces. Physical activity improves existing health conditions, prevents disease and reduces stress and anxiety, making the workplace a more positive, healthy place to be.
3. Volunteering opportunities
The power of volunteering is often overlooked. Becoming more involved in the community through your workplace has some serious benefits; it helps others build confidence and a sense of purpose, reduces stress and anxiety, strengthens bonds between colleagues and can even help advance your career through creating a new network.
Some companies like TELUS have a longstanding history of encouraging their employees to give back: their team members and retirees have volunteered more than 7.7 million hours since 2000 and committed to giving another million hours in 2017 in honour of Canada’s 150th Birthday.
TELUS wanted to learn more about Canadian’s attitudes towards volunteering and how to encourage more people to give back where they can, so they conducted a national survey that showed that 50 per cent of working Canadians think it’s important that their company organizes employee events to volunteer in their local community. It’s clear that Canadians want to donate their time, and their employers can help them make that a reality.
4. Positive company culture
From beer on tap, to rooftop BBQs, to themed fiestas, companies with positive corporate culture help to strengthen relationships between employees. Team building in a more organic way (no more stiff ice breakers, please!) encourages employees to actually stick around and get to know each other. Just as long as that extra social time doesn’t become mandatory.
5. Tuition for continuing education
Some companies have taken it upon themselves to invest in long-term career development with tuition subsidies for courses relevant to an employees’ position. This type of support allows employees to work while also developing new and valuable skills that improve their craft and build confidence.
6. Unlimited vacation time
Nothing eases stress like a solid block of vacation time (a few days here or there is nowhere near enough, is it?). Some high-performance tech companies have even taken it a step further, giving their employees unlimited vacation time to take as they please. Allowing employees to spend time away from the workplace has massive benefits. According to Forbes, some of these benefits include higher productivity, stronger workplace morale, health benefits and employee retention. We will take a pina colada with extra pineapple, please!
From beer on tap and company games nights, to meditation spaces to clear the mind, to community involvement that makes a real impact, companies are starting to realize how perks make a positive difference in the workplace. Plus, considering that the average person will likely spend more than 90,000 hours of their life working, these benefits can really make a difference in employees’ lives, too.