(Editor’s note: aspects of this article have were taken from Feedr’s full report ‘How to Build A Winning Perks Program in 2020’)
Gone are the days of simply offering a bonus and private medical cover. This generation’s employees are looking for an employer and workplace environment that champions health, wellbeing and employee engagement; with 80% of millennials reportedly preferring a work perk to a pay rise.
Pioneered by the big tech firms, aimed at luring in the world’s best talent, benefits and perks programs are now more creative than ever.
With that, we’re looking to the most successful companies to see what benefits they’re offering to encourage a healthy, happy and productive environment for their staff to thrive in.
1. Mindfulness education
Stress, anxiety and mental illness are unfortunately at record levels, affecting a shocking 74% of us in the past 12 months. Many leading businesses are therefore looking at ways to ease this modern social epidemic, and are turning to apps like Headspace to help. Created by Andy Puddicombe with the aim of bringing meditation to the masses, Headspace for Work has been adopted by leading companies such as LinkedIn and Adobe to support their workforces’ mental health and wellbeing.
“LinkedIn has leveraged Headspace since 2015 to help our employees improve their health and happiness. In addition to having an engaging product, Headspace has been a great partner in helping us launch and promote our mindfulness initiative.” – Director of Global Wellness, LinkedIn
2. A focus on nutrition
Wellbeing should be at the heart of every company’s perks program in 2020, and nutrition is at the heart of wellbeing. Impacting everything from our concentration and productivity to our mental wellness and immune system, encouraging a healthy and varied diet is the number one thing employers can do to boost employee health and wellbeing. Our recent research also supports this: a huge 88% of people believe that eating healthily on a daily basis impacts how they feel at work.
That’s why we created Feedr – we believe it should be easy for everyone to access healthy, high-quality food at work, everyday. And we’re not the only ones who think this! Companies like Airbnb, Chanel and Stitchfix are using our service to provide healthy food at work for their teams.
‘Feedr gives Piccolo employees access to get cheaper meals every week, which is great for team morale and such a nice perk… On a Friday, we rush to find out what’s on next week’s menus and when meals arrive we all sit around the table and enjoy lunch together – whilst keeping healthy!’ – Rosanna, Operations Manager, Piccolo Foods
3. Adopt massage
One that may seem a little excessive to some, this ancient therapy has been proven to effectively help with stress and anxiety, as well as the physical impact of sitting at a desk all day. Google is a well known example: it has been offering its employees credits for subsidised massages for years. Other companies are now following suit, with startups such as Urban offering a simple and easy way to organise workplace massage.
4. A Digital Detox
In the ‘always-on’ world that we live in, it’s no wonder that employees are battling with their inboxes, struggling to switch off and feeling pressure to answer emails outside of work hours. France is leading the way in this area, passing ‘the right to disconnect’ law in 2017. But this is not the only way France is pioneering this area of workplace wellness… French IT consulting company, Atos (with over 100,000 employees worldwide) also set a bold goal back in 2011 to operate without email. Although the company hasn’t eliminated emails completely, they have reduced their emails by 60% and their employees have reported to feel more relaxed and productive as a result.
5. Flexible Working
Whether it’s work-from-home days, flexible core hours or paternity/maternity policies – flexible working is undoubtedly one of the most obvious perks to consider. The benefits are well documented, including increased employee engagement and better performance, but despite this a culture of presenteeism is still highly common in many companies. Businesses like Mediacom are challenging this however. They offer their staff the app, Open Blend – allowing employees to set and share ‘work/life blend’ targets with their team, managers and direct reports, whether that’s a couple of long lunches a week to train at the gym or 3 later starts so they can do the school run.
“If you have your leaders being open and flexible about how they work, that permeates throughout the organisation.” Karen Blackett, UK country head of WPP and chair of MediaCom