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.
When people think of gifting, they tend to think of the winter holiday season.
Suddenly, every store offers gift wrapping and the internet is a cornucopia of gift guides. I get super into it, making lists — like Santa himself — of who’s getting gifts r and who’s getting nuffin because they scorned me last time around. Black Friday and the winter sale season have trained me well - I’m now in the groove of saving in advance, prepping my budget, and keeping an eye out for major sales.
But with all that anticipation in winter, there’s almost nothing of the sort in spring. And, after going through my spending last year, I realized why I felt like all my money was going down the drain from April to June: this is a holiday-filled season too!
At first, I blamed it on hot-girl summer — and maybe in part, this was the case. Buying new clothes to refresh my stale pandemic wardrobe, and admittedly getting carried away with my post-vax excitement for going/doing/seeing everything all took hits at my budget.
In the future, I’ll make sure to prep more for summer because every year brings new exciting things to spend money on – especially outside.. Plus, as travel becomes more and more seamless with fewer restrictions, having a “summer buffer” will let me dip into my savings for trips that may come, not into my credit card balance.
I told myself I’d make those financial decisions for the summer, but it wasn’t just the summer. The whole spring was a financial pit and I didn’t completely understand why. After all, isn’t spring for cleaning, decluttering, and even making money by ditching things that aren’t serving you? Why then, did I keep watching my accounts get drained?
The answer is gifts. From Easter in April, Mother’s Day in May, Father’s Day in June, and more, spring is a parade of little holidays that sneak up on you with their obligatory gifting. And it doesn’t even end there for me – I have a ton of friends’ birthdays during these months! With Tauruses being known for their materialism (or maybe that’s just the ones I know), I always splurge on their presents. This leaves me with an empty checking account … kind of by surprise.
In the winter, I prep and save and budget. In the spring, I scramble and overspend. But not this year. This year, I’m very aware that it’s gifting season and I am planning accordingly.
Adele, a Taurus, courtside in all designer. See what I mean? Does she LOOK easy to impress? No, this is why I'm broke
How to Save For Short Term Goals Using Sinking Funds
According to personal finance blogs, one of the keys to saving enough for seasons like this is starting early. Establishing what is known as “sinking funds” is the most efficient way to consistently save for short-term goals. From everything to impending vacations to holiday gifts, sinking funds let you start planning early and reinforce good spending habits. No longer will you be surprised by recurring bills or how much a vacation really costs – the money will be saved, waiting for you to enjoy.
TIME defines sinking funds as a special kind of savings account. “A sinking fund functions similar to a savings account, but with a purpose and approach all its own,” says TIME. “A sinking fund is money you set aside for a specific upcoming expense. Unlike a general savings account or emergency fund, a sinking fund has a clear purpose attached to it — whether it’s to save for a vacation, down payment on a home, or a big-ticket splurge. The financial educator Haley Sacks has a sinking account just for astrologists. If you have a big expense coming up, you might consider creating a sinking fund to take the stress out of saving for it.”
I’m taking notes — and even considering starting my own astrology sinking fund — and I already made one for “Spring Surprises.” For any savings goal, keeping a separate savings account apart from your checking account is the first step to making sure you’re actually contributing to it. Seeing that number get closer to your goal is great motivation. For sinking funds, I make many different savings accounts, all with specific names according to the goal. I even add the goal amount and the month it’s “due” to the account name so I know when each is coming up. This gets me excited to see the fruits of my labor and keep contributing consistently. It also makes it easier to budget for my sinking funds each month with a dedicated amount.
Sinking funds are great cash flow tools that keep you in control of your purchases. According to Clever Girl Finance, a popular personal finance blog for women: “When you don't have a sinking fund, you may be forced to make these purchases through another source of funds, i.e., your emergency fund, your savings account, or your credit card. A sinking fund helps you to plan for large purchases. It also helps you stay on track with your savings goals, keeps your debt low, and allows you to make purchases freely without feeling the pinch.”
This added security lets you spend money on gifts guilt-free. Once it’s in your sinking fund, you can spend it for its allocated purpose without having to worry about other expenses or going into debt. You’ve planned for this. And now you can be generous without the unexpected stress of draining your checking or even your own spending money.
What to Buy This Spring
With all the little holidays that accumulate during the season, it can be easy to be surprised by them. Sinking funds take care of the financials, but an extra step of planning never hurts. Figuring out what you actually want to buy in advance lets you track prices and take advantage of sales, rather than buying whatever marked-up mother’s day bouquet you come across last minute.
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Never spiral out of control when spring comes again. Make a smart purchase decision for you, your lucky giftee, and Ukrainian refugees by choosing Uncommon Goods for all your gifts this season.
Kim K is acting up again — nature is healing.
After Kanye West recently went on an online tear trying to win Kim back by … weaponizing his fans against her and her boyfriend — the logic is flawed, especially since West was simultaneously parading his relationship with Julia Fox — a judge declared Kim Kardashian legally single. Silly me, I thought this would be the end of the whole ordeal. I naively hoped that I would get some peace, quiet, and respite from the Kardashian/Jenner/West/Barker/Fox/Davidson/whoever-else brood for at least a little while.
Once again, I was wrong.
Kim Kardashian recently made it Instagram-official with Pete Davidson in a very on-trend photo dump. And — predictably — this went viral. This is … whatever. Good for them. However, at the same time, a video of Kim’s advice to business owners also went viral.
In an interview for Variety, the magazine asked Kim for her "best advice for women in business." In response, Kim said — in all seriousness and without a hint of sarcasm or self-awareness — “Get your f—ing ass up and work.” She continued: “It seems like nobody wants to work these days. You have to surround yourself with people that want to work. No toxic work environments and show up and do the work. Have a good work environment where everyone loves what they do because you have one life.”
If this sounds like bad advice, it’s because it is. In fact, none of it really means anything substantial. At best, it’s vacuous and unhelpful. At worst, it's ignorant and completely insensitive.
Emerging from a global pandemic that ravaged the economy with high rates of unemployment and confused work boundaries for those who could work, Kim’s assessment of people “these days” is outrageously out of touch.
In fact, most people are working more. Studies show: “Nearly 70 percent of professionals who transitioned to remote work because of the pandemic say they now work on the weekends. And 45 percent say they regularly work more hours during the week than they did before.”
While the rise of remote work promised more freedom and flexibility, it actually placed increased pressure on employees. They face rising workloads — especially in shrinking departments that laid off some employees due to budget cuts — and less ability to advocate for themselves. So, even if Kim is right and people don’t “want to work,” they’re working anyway. And they’re working more than ever.
According to Paul McDonald, senior executive director at LA-based staffing firm Robert Half, "While remote work affords employees greater flexibility, it also makes disconnecting extremely difficult. Many people feel pressure to keep up with rising workloads and are putting in long hours to support the business and customer needs.”
This pressure, combined with hastily-set-up remote systems means employees have been left in limbo, clocking in at the end of the world. “Simply handing an employee a laptop and downloading Zoom or some other collaborative software is not enough to help employees manage their work and lives through the pandemic and beyond,” says Cali Williams Yost, a nationally recognized expert on workplace flexibility and founder of the Manhattan-based consultancy Flex+Strategy Group.
Due to the prevalence of hustle culture, these boundaries are even more blurred. Unfortunately, the glorification of non-stop hustling was omnipresent during the pandemic. Remember when we first started lockdown and everyone was like, “write a book,” or “get a six-pack.” Somehow, that expectation still stands, and now those who got crypto-rich or exploited people’s pandemic vulnerabilities are looking down on the people who didn’t.
Kim is the latter. Her various business ventures all depend on selling consumer insecurities back to people. The self-image she constructed for her brand is one that promises her fans they can get a piece of her life, her success, her looks if they only spend more and more money.
According to Kim, her job is burdensome. She defended herself, saying: “When you do product shots (or) when you (post) things that are work-related posts, it's still a job and it's still really hard. Success is never easy. If you put in the work, you will see results.” But once again, this is overly simplistic, oblivious, and ignorant.
Not to say that she hasn’t leveraged the privileges she’s been given, but that’s just it. Kim Kardashian was born in proximity to wealth and fame, all of which provided her with the opportunities she has now leveraged for her success. And some of these opportunities have come at the cost of other people — i.e. her whole aesthetic and how it was built on a foundation of anti-blackness. As a fair-skinned woman, Kim was praised and uplifted for embodying aesthetics that Black women have been shamed and degraded for. So her success is not merely a result of her desire to work, her individual actions. Rather, it’s because she had all the prerequisites to success. But not everyone can just reach out and choose a life of access, ease, and abundance.
To be honest, the Variety question was kind of a setup. Kim’s relationship with work is not like most people’s, so no advice she would have given would be relatable. Sure, it didn’t have to be so shallow or perpetuate toxic ideas about work. But the lesson here is clear: don’t take work advice from Kim Kardashian.