Keeping the staff serious about work and on-task is highly important to any boss looking out for their business. But the well-being of the employees is necessary too in order to keep them satisfied with their choice to work for a particular company.

A few perks here and there will add a little fun to the workplace and employees will appreciate the thought that goes into offering them. These 5 cool company perks will liven up the atmosphere and keep workplace satisfaction in check, thus increasing overall productivity. Try one or all of these at your company and the feedback and results are sure to be positive!

Half-Day Summer Fridays

You may be thinking, "How will all the work get done if I let the staff out early?" Well, it will, and the staff will be happy to get it done in time. Think about it. During summertime, no one can wait for the weekend to come to get to the beach, picnic in the park, or soak up the sun poolside. The summer itch, so to speak, creeps up as the week heads to its end, and employees can get restless. Minds wander, goofing off becomes a little more prevalent, and dreams of fun in the sun replace flowcharts and spreadsheets. If an employer presents the perk of ½ day summer Fridays, if, and only if, the week's work is sufficiently complete, you'll marvel at the output the staff can put out.

Some staff members may even agree to put in a little more time during the other days of the week to reap the rewards of the ½ day summer Friday. According to Entrepreneur, "Eighty-seven percent of those who had summer hours said this benefit contributed to a healthy work/life balance and 76 percent agreed summer Friday policies were an effective tool to boost productivity. Putting in a couple of extra hours from Monday through Thursday in exchange for a short day on Friday, or taking Fridays off completely, seems like a fair trade off."

So "let the dogs out" and summertime will become even more enjoyable, both in and out of the office. As a matter of fact, as per Justworks, "Overworked employees sleep less, drink more, and cost companies more for healthcare." So a little time off is money saved by the company.

Education Reimbursement

Any wise employer seeks out a knowledgeable staff, but any smarty can benefit from even more education. But as well all know, going back to school for another degree or even taking a few classes on weekends or evenings can be costly. Offer your employees who are serious about furthering their education a priceless perk. Pay the tuition or match their cost and split the bill.

While at first this may seem out of budget, the benefits long term will pay for it all, both for the employee and the company as a whole. The employee will become better at what they do by learning the latest and greatest in their field and by expanding their knowledge in general.

As Officevibe notes, "A more educated workforce means a more productive workforce. If employees know they don't have to worry about the cost of those programs and that your company encourages them to develop their skills, they'll be happier at work." Additionally, the employee will feel a sense of loyalty to the company, as Andrew Jensen, Efficiency, Growth & Marketing points out. With a worker that's bound to stick around, the company will save money in the HR department thanks to time saved from recruiting and interviewing which could take months. Jensen notes, "In many companies, contracts are signed between employer and employee as part of the tuition reimbursement program in which the employee agrees to remain a part of the company for a set period of time (usually around 3-5 years) after the company finances their education."

A+ to that!

Gym Memberships

The health of a company's employees is important for a number of reasons. Fewer sick days, high-energy, and positive sense of self are just a few benefits of a fit staff. Get your employees encouraged to move and keep in shape with the perk of free gym memberships. Local gyms may partner up with you for a bulk membership deal making it a win-win for everyone.

Not only are traditional memberships a favored perk, but some companies are now bringing the fitness frenzy right into the office. According to Forbes, "Many companies are now bringing fitness into the office by sponsoring yoga, Pilates or CrossFit. And some companies have given each employee a Fitbit tracking device to help them keep on top of their progress."

An article in the New York Times notes, "When employees exercise more often and eat better, productivity increases and health care costs go down." And Chron adds, "Business owners can deduct (from their taxes) the costs of membership fees paid to benefit their employees. Furthermore, in limited circumstances, they can exclude the value of their gym benefits as income to their employees."

This do-a-body-good perk will not only please the already fitness-minded, but give those couch potato types a reason to consider working out. Your staff will feel and look better, and the increase in productivity will come along with the boost of endorphins and gratitude. They'll get pumped up in more ways than one!

Flexible Work Hours

If someone's a morning person but the office doesn't open 'till 10:30, valuable and productive work hours are lost. Same goes for those night owls who find their inspiration in the latter part of the day. If a company can swing it, and particular hours aren't necessarily required, allowing employees to have a flexible, yet reasonable schedule is a perk that is not only free for the employer, but freeing for the staff.

As Officevibe puts it, "Flexible schedules are about showing your employees that you respect them and trust them enough to make their own decisions."

As long as the work gets done and there's not much interruption around the office with this plan, then this flexible scheduling will allow employees to put in their finest hours and work when they're at their peak. This is also helpful for parents who need to get home to their children, folks who have a second job or volunteer, and those with commutes that are difficult.

Flexibility with employees will become a two-way street too. When the boss needs something out of the norm, these workers will be more than happy to comply. Plus, as per Entrepreneur, a survey conducted by FlexJobs resulted in the following, "20 percent of survey respondents would take a 10 percent pay cut for flexible work options. Twenty-two percent would be willing to forgo health benefits. 18 percent would be willing to work more hours." Benefits to the company are clear.

Company Trips

An annual or bi-annual company retreat is not only fun, but brings the team closer together and aligned in teamwork. A paid day outside the office with food, fun, and festivities is always appreciated and something to look forward to.

Whether an employer takes the team to an amusement park, a beach party, or a day of wine tasting, it's all about the comradery rather than the destination itself. A boss can surprise the staff each time or have each person put an idea into a hat and let the team select.

The day off will allow for the employees to unwind and reset their brains while allowing people who don't normally interact on a daily basis to get to know one another a little better. This bond helps with productivity among the group and with customers. According to Entrepreneur, "A team that acts like a family tends to have better communication, enhanced trust and appreciation for one another and increased productivity. Creating this tight-knit environment doesn't only strengthen internal relationships, it also filters into interactions with customers, which can make them feel like part of the team."

Additionally, you may find that employees have hidden talents outside their job qualifications that can help the business save money from having to hire another person for a task. As per Life Source Retreats, "A team building corporate retreat will allow your company to maximize the talent pool that it already have."

Are you perked up for company perks? These 5 can be implemented in nearly any field and employees will feel all the perkier with these tokens of appreciation from the higher-ups.

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The Federal Reserve sets the guardrails for the federal funds rate, and through that helps control the money supply for the nation.

When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.

A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.

One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.

The Federal Reserve The Federal Reserve


The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.

This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.

The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.

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