You’ve probably heard about how businesses like Google have some of the best perks in their industry. How Facebook offers free housing for interns, or how Netflix offers unlimited vacation time. Maybe you’ve also wondered how you could possibly compete with businesses that size, with their titanic budgets and massive HR departments.
You don’t need to. It’s true that the modern workforce cares a whole lot more about perks and benefits than they used to. As noted in research by customer service specialist Zoro, millennials are the generation that’s likeliest to want in-office perks from their employer.
But you don’t need to boil the ocean to provide people with the level of care they want. Mostly, people are interested in the basics. They want paid vacations, flexible work schedules, and the opportunity to work from home. Provide them with those, and you’ll already be in a pretty good place.
That isn’t to say you can’t get creative. Here are a few unique perks businesses can offer employees without breaking the bank.
1. Relaxation rooms
Most workplaces have a breakroom, sure. But said breakrooms usually aren’t anything special. A kitchen, a coffee machine, a few tables. Breakrooms aren’t exactly the kind of place where anyone would want to spend extended periods of time.
Why not spice things up a bit? Alongside the standard breakroom, you could consider stocking a room of your office with some board games or video game consoles that people can use when they’re on break. Maybe a treadmill or exercise bike, if you’re feeling like helping them out with their personal health.
Alternatively, you could also provide employees with supplies like cots, pillows, and blankets so they have the opportunity to take a nap or two during the workday. Don’t knock it. An afternoon nap is proven to increase productivity and reduce stress.
2. A cool office
A friend of mine recently visited an accounting firm to discuss some questions he had about his taxes. The most interesting thing about his visit wasn’t the people he talked to or the fact that the accountant answered his questions - it was the building in which they worked. Though the office itself was nothing particularly special, it was connected to a massive, open-air atrium, complete with indoor fish ponds and a well-maintained garden; several other businesses that occupied the same building shared the atrium as a communal breakroom.
I imagine you don’t have the budget for anything quite so grand. But that doesn’t mean you can’t look for a unique office building the next time your business needs to move. Nor does it mean you can’t take a few steps to make your workplace a bit more pleasant for employees.
Business and entrepreneurial magazine Inc has a great guide on how you can make affordable improvements to your office’s design. I’d strongly recommend giving it a read.
3. Office pets
Okay, so maybe it’s not especially unique. But as any pet owner will tell you, there are few things they love more than their furry (or feathered or scaled) friends. Creating a pet-friendly workplace and allowing people to keep their cats, dogs, and other critters with them when they’re on the clock can be a great way to improve morale, and makes for a much more attractive workplace.
If you want to take it to another level, you might even consider having everyone pitch in to take care of an office cat or dog.
You don’t have to be Google, Facebook, or Zappo to offer cool, unique, and intriguing perks to your employees. At the end of the day, it’s really just a matter of showing you care. Of demonstrating to them that you see them as more than just resources.
You don’t need a massive budget for that, nor do you need to reinvent the wheel.