Business perks employees will love and your company can afford

Happy, engaged employees are a pleasure to have around. They’re also highly productive, which is why big hitters like Google offer workplace perks to attract talented staff and keep them happy. With free food, sports fields, nap pods, barber, masseur and a laundromat, it’s a wonder staff ever go home.

You may not be a global player, but that doesn’t mean you can’t offer some affordable perks to keep your workplace humming. Research shows that simple happiness boosters such as snacks and drinks can lift productivity by an average of 12% and up to 20%. 

Research shows that simple happiness boosters such as snacks and drinks can lift productivity by up to 20%. 

That’s good news for smaller companies trying to compete with the big guns for talented employees.

Australian software success story Atlassian deliberately took a leaf out of the Google playbook to attract highly skilled staff and meet their ambitious growth targets. Standing desks, yoga, flexible hours, free food, five days annual leave to volunteer and paid tuition to prepare staff for new roles are all part of the mix. It’s been voted the best place to work in Australia for two years running.

So why not talk to your employees to find out what would make a difference to their job satisfaction. You could also check what leading companies in your industry are offering, then introduce benefits that fit their needs, your wallet and the company culture.

Company culture is difficult to define, but employee benefits that reinforce your company’s values are one way to promote your brand in a competitive marketplace for employees and customers.

Take Blackmores, a pioneer of natural healthcare products. Its passion for health and wellbeing flows through to employee benefits including flexible work hours, a subsidised healthy cafe, on-site massage, yoga, gym and lap pool, staff discounts on their health products and an annual day off to volunteer with a favourite charity.

In today’s fast-paced world, perks that promote workplace wellness and work/life balance are on the rise. Not only are they affordable, they are often more appealing to staff than a pay rise – particularly amongst younger staff.


Here are a few suggestions to get you thinking;


Ditch the 9 to 5.

Research shows that workplace satisfaction is highest among employees who have the freedom and flexibility to decide how to do their own work. So why not allow staff to start work at 8am so they can pick the kids up after school? Or a late start so they can go for a run or a surf before work?

Introduce Summer Fridays.

Some companies encourage employees to leave early one Friday a month, a time when research shows productivity takes a natural dip.

Appeal to their palate.

Everyone loves food and drink, especially when it’s free. Atlassian feeds the creativity of its workforce with free team lunches, sparkling water on tap, nut dispensers, an annual Melbourne Cup Lunch and end of financial year Big Bash. Other companies celebrate the end of the week with Fri-yays pizza parties, or provide cake for staff birthdays.

Encourage physical fitness.

On-site gym out of the question? Then why not encourage staff to sign up for weekend fun runs or lunchtime boot camp at the local park. This is also great for team bonding.

Go barking mad.

There is ample evidence that dogs help reduce stress in their human handlers. True to its name, animation studio, Flying Bark, allows staff to bring their pet to work. Dogs in the office also help create a friendly, homelike atmosphere and encourage people to interact, which is also good for workplace wellbeing.

Group personal accident insurance.

Offer your staff greater peace of mind with insurance which can cover them against sickness and injury separate to any workers’ compensation. Benefits under personal accident insurance may be payable as a lump sum or on a weekly basis. Typical events are accidental death, permanent or temporary disablement. Your Steadfast insurance broker will be able to advise you and arrange quotes for this type of insurance.

Keep in mind, you may be required to pay fringe benefits tax depending on the type of employee perks you choose.

Keep in mind, you may be required to pay fringe benefits tax depending on the type of employee perks you choose.

While perks may help you attract staff, there are also other important factors you must consider when it comes to retaining them. Research has shown that, in addition to business perks, career opportunities, senior leadership and the culture and values of an organisation are key to long-term employee satisfaction.

That said, world-beating local companies like Blackmores and Atlassian have successfully used non-cash incentives from the get-go to recruit and retain staff who share their corporate values. And you can too by adopting some of the suggestions in this article.

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