20 Low-Cost Benefits for Your Employees
Showing appreciation to your employees doesn’t have to be expensive. Your small business’ budget may not allow you to lavish them with hefty bonuses, fancy trips or gold watches, but people recognize and enjoy creative rewards for their hard work. Options for low-cost employee benefits are limited only by your creativity. Here are 20 suggestions that mix fun, practicality, and acknowledgement of staffers’ value.
1. Flexible schedules. Allowing employees to shift their hours forward or back of the core workday lets them avoid rush-hour commuting and suit individual preference.
2. Telecommuting. Not every business can offer this perk, but those that can allow employees to work from home occasionally or on a set schedule may reap rewards in higher productivity and appreciation.
3. Movie, theater, sporting event tickets. Give employees and their family members access to a free entertainment or a cultural experience.
4. Fitness/wellness stipends. Reimburse employees for all or part of health-club memberships, yoga classes, bicycles, and related items. Plus, these may be taxable benefits.
5. Fully stocked employee kitchen. Let workers enjoy coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and snacks any time of the day. Consider including fresh fruit and nuts.
6. Casual dress code. Designate certain days as casual-attire days, or, depending on your business, dispense with a dress code altogether.
7. Parental leave. Only about 16 percent of U.S. employers provide paid maternity/paternity leave for their workers. Your company can stand out by providing this important benefit.
8. Benefits for part-time workers. Allow part-timers some of the same perks given to full-time employees.
9. Commuting assistance. Provide public transit passes to help staff defray the costs of traveling to and from the office; give car commuters free or subsidized parking.
10. Tuition assistance. Offer to pay a portion of employees’ tuition costs when they pursue education relevant to their jobs.
11. Free lunch. Once a month, once every two weeks or one day every week, provide lunch for your staff. A group meal can also promote camaraderie.
12. Chair massages. Especially nice for those who work at a computer all day. Hire a massage therapist for a day to get the kinks out of employees’ necks and shoulders.
13. Direct paycheck deposit. Offer employees this option to save trips to the bank.
14. Birthdays off. Let employees have a paid day off on their birthday, or offer a floating holiday.
15. Computer discounts. Because businesses buy technology products in bulk, ask your supplier to give your workers a markdown for personal computing equipment.
16. Bring-your-dog-to-work day. This won’t fly everywhere, but small businesses can often accommodate well-behaved canine colleagues in the office. A great morale booster!
17. Summer hours. Let your workforce leave an hour or two early on Fridays during the summer months so they can take advantage of the extended sunlight.
18. Yoga classes. Arrange for a yoga instructor to offer a class at your place of business once a week at lunchtime or at the end of the workday.
19. On-site wellness benefits. Fitness classes, lunchtime speakers addressing health topics, flu shots, online health assessments, health coaching services, a workout and/or locker room, weight-loss program, smoking cessation program, and the like show you care about employees’ well-being.
20. Paid volunteer time in the community. Offer to pay regular wages up to a certain number of hours to staffers who devote time to community service.
The right mix of cost-conscious employee perquisites can make your company a sought-after place to work.