WASHINGTON — Looking to improve employee morale without breaking the bank? If so, consider offering a no-to-low-cost perk that many workers covet more than anything else: flexible hours.
Clutch, a Washington, D.C.-based research firm, recently polled more than 500 full-time working Americans, finding that the nation’s workforce prioritizes choosing its hours over anything else. Forty-one percent said that flexible hours was their favorite workplace benefit, while over half (54%) indicated that it was the perk that most contributed to their happiness on the job.
These figures were even higher among female respondents, which may be a byproduct of motherhood.
“Having flexibility is key for working moms who want to be there for drop off or pick up, go to the parent/teacher conference, or take their child to the doctor,” explains Mary Pharris, director of business development and partnerships for Fairygodboss, a reviews website for women in the workforce.
Second on Americans’ wish list at their place of employment was professional development, with 22 percent of employees considering it the most important perk at a company. Health and fitness benefits tied with free office food/snacks as the next most enticing amenity at 19 percent.
Overall, 53 percent of respondents said that workplace benefits helped them achieve a better quality of life, while 49 percent said that they helped them feel more valued or appreciated.
If you can’t offer flex hours or formal mentoring, don’t assume that your employees will automatically hate you. Providing anything to your subordinates goes a long way, experts say.
“Even a candy jar sitting out lends to company culture,” says Lisa Oyler, a human resources director at a major merchant discount firm. “It provides something that enhances employees’ daily experience.”
Creativity can help in lieu of money — and ultimately, it’s the thought that counts. Particularly because, as the survey found, 42 percent of full-time workers don’t have any perks at all.
Many mutually beneficial, yet relatively inexpensive options, such as a monthly gym membership or free food, can end up providing much more value than you’d expect.
Considering the surprising affordability of most employee wants and needs, the researchers believe that bosses have no excuse to not put employee satisfaction on their to-do list.
Clutch published their full findings in their annual Company Culture and Employee Perks Survey report.
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