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.
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!
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.
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.
As anyone who has ever sold a house will tell you, you must prioritize curb appeal. Before a potential buyer even considers looking inside your house, they notice the outside first. Does it attract the right kind of attention? Does it take away from the feel you're going for? If you plan to sell sometime soon, you must think about these things. Here are some landscaping options to increase your home's curb appeal, so you can get the best price on your home.
Extensive Plants and Greenery
A barren front yard won't get you the price you want on your home. So, invest in at least a little bit of greenery to keep the surrounding area from looking too dead. Shrubs and bushes tie the house to the lawn that precedes it, and flower beds bring a pop of color to an otherwise drab structure. You can also strategically plant some trees to improve the overall feel of your home's exterior.
As we mentioned, your lawn is one of the most prominent features of your home's exterior. A patchy, dried-up lawn will quickly drive your home's price way down. Some of the best landscaping options for your home's curb appeal involve improving your lawn for the next inhabitant. Overall fertilization, ground aeration, underbrush removal, proper mowing—all of these lawn care tasks contribute to a greener and more lively area that invites people to see your house, rather than stay away from it.
There's nothing like a broken and disheveled pathway to make someone think twice about buying a property. Just as you want the entryway in your house to be welcoming, so too should the pathway leading up to the house be inviting. The pathway from the street to your front door provides plenty of real estate to get creative with. You don't have to settle for a boring concrete pathway. Consider something more eye catching, like a cobblestone path or intermittent brick patterns, as a way to better welcome potential buyers.
Usable Outdoor Furniture
Landscaping doesn't just involve the ground you walk on; also included are the items you use as extras to the overall look. Outdoor furniture is one such extra that you don't necessarily need but can look quite attractive if done correctly. Staging is important with outdoor furniture. Old, broken-down pieces will only look like more work to the potential buyer. A few comfortable chairs, a bench, or a table with an umbrella really go a long way to improving your outdoor aesthetics.
A good tip for deciding on curb appeal items is to decide what you personally would want to see as a part of a welcoming home's exterior. You don't need to go overboard, but a little bit of forethought could net you quite a lot of extra cash in the sale.
Many people strive to support their community by donating their time or their money. When you find a meaningful cause, you might be quick to cut a donation check. Though it's admirable to be quick to act charitably, you should be wary of several common mistakes made when giving to charity. Being mindful of these mistakes and learning tips for making informed charitable choices can help you make the most out of your generous check.
Acting Quickly Out of Emotion
Mission statements are meant to be compelling. If you're an emotionally driven individual, it's natural to pull out your wallet at the sight of a sad puppy on TV or when informed about food insecurity over the phone. Unfortunately, not all charities are as effective or official as they may seem.
Take your passion for helping others one step further by making sure your chosen charity is legit. Speaking with a representative, reviewing their website and social media accounts, and looking at testaments online can give you a better idea of whether the organization is worth your donation.
Forgetting to Keep Record of the Donation
Don't forget that you can reap some financial perks from giving back! With the proper documentation of your donation, you can acquire a better tax deductible.
If you donate more than $12,400 as a single filer or $24,800 as one of two joint filers, you're eligible to deduct that amount from your taxes. So, when a charity asks if you'd like a receipt of donation, always answer yes.
Donating Unusable Materials
Most charities can utilize a monetary donation—it's the physical donations that usually cause some issues. Providing a local nonprofit with irrelevant materials or gifting them with unusable products are surprisingly common mistakes made when giving to charity.
Always check your intended charity's website for a list of things they do and do not accept. The majority of places will provide a guideline to donating or offer contact information to clarify any questions.
Strictly Giving at Year's End
As more and more people get into the holiday spirit at the end of the year, nonprofit organizations see an influx of donations. While it's great to spread holiday cheer via a monetary donation, it's important to keep that spirit going year-round.
With regular donations, charities can more effectively allocate their annual budget. Setting up an automatic monthly donation with the charity of your choosing can maximize your impact. You can account for a monthly donation by foregoing a costly coffee every once in a while.
Knowing how much you should spend on home maintenance each year is hard to figure out and may be preventing you from buying your first home. The types of costs you'll incur depend on the house you buy and its location. The one certainty is that you should start saving now. Read on to figure out how much to start setting aside based on the home you own.
The Age of Your House
Consider several factors when budgeting for home repairs. If you've purchased a new home, your house likely won't require as much maintenance for a few years. Homes built 20 or more years ago are likely to require more maintenance, including replacing and keeping your windows clean. Further, depending on your home's location, weather can cause additional strain over time, so you may need to budget for more repairs.
The One-Percent Rule
An easy way to budget for home repairs is to follow the one-percent rule. Set aside one percent of your home's purchase price each year to cover maintenance costs. For instance, if you paid $200,000 for your home, you would set aside $2,000 each year. This plan is not foolproof. If you bought your home for a good deal during a buyer's market, your home could require more repairs than you've budgeted for.
The Square-Foot Rule
Easy to calculate, you can also budget for home maintenance by saving one dollar for every square foot of your home. This pricing method is more consistent than pricing it by how much you paid because the rate relies on the objective size of your home. Unfortunately, it does not consider inflation for the area where you live, so make sure you also budget for increased taxes and labor costs if you live in or near a city.
The Mix and Match Method
Since there is no infallible rule for how much you should spend on home maintenance, you can combine both methods to get an idea for a budget. Average your results from the square-foot rule and the one-percent rule to arrive at a budget that works for you. You should also increase your savings by 10 percent for each risk factor that affects your home, such as weather and age.
Holding on to savings is easier in theory than practice. Once you know how much you should spend on home maintenance, you'll know what to aim for and be more prepared for an emergency. If you are having trouble securing funds for home repairs, consider taking out a home equity loan, borrowing money from friends or family, or applying for funds through a home repair program through your local government for low-income individuals.