The national unemployment rate, as of December 2018, is 3.9 percent. If you look at the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you can see the rate has trended downward over the past ten years. This is excellent news for people looking for work, and for our society overall. It does have one negative effect for business owners – with so many options available to prospective employees, how are businesses attracting and keeping new talent?
Since I work primarily as an actor and a writer, I don’t have a traditional workplace. The work I do takes place either at my own home or at various locations that I travel to. But among my friends and family, I’ve noticed a trend with various businesses. They are offering benefits that I’ve never heard of before. Sure, they’re still giving health, retirement, and vacation benefits as always. But they’re thinking outside the box in what they can do to entice people to work for them.
What time is it?
One of the most obvious benefits, and one that workplaces have been utilizing for awhile, is schedule flexibility. This can mean giving employees the ability to work from home. With the availability of the internet, increasing commute times, and the overhead costs of running a physical office, this one can benefit both employees and employers. Another form of schedule flexibility is altering the workday hours to give employees extra time off. For example, I once worked for a company that adjusted my weekly schedule so that on Fridays, I was able to work a half day at home and take the rest of the day off.
An unusual benefit some companies are beginning to offer is providing alcohol to employees. Being a light-weight myself, I doubt I’d use this much if I was working for this kind of company. Although, it might be nice to finish a workweek with a glass of wine or enjoy a celebratory shot with fellow employees from time to time. As long as it’s not affecting productivity or safety, why not?
Love in my tummy
A significant benefit a company can give to its employees is free food. It makes sense – we all have to eat. Dining out costs money and bringing your own food to the office takes time and planning. My husband currently works for a company that doesn’t provide free meals all the time, but on a frequent enough basis that it definitely boosts morale. Day to day, his company keeps a fridge fully stocked with sodas and snacks. Some employees say the extra weight is actually a job hazard, but I bet companies like this would be willing to consider healthier options if asked.
What else ya got?
Other possible benefits include gym memberships, relaxed dress code, emphasis on charity contributions, and even covering fertility treatments! It probably helps that I live near a major metropolitan city (Atlanta) – the options available are plentiful. I’m sure smaller businesses and cities are limited in what they can offer employees.
If you’re wondering if you should make a move to a company like this, maybe you should. However, you might not need to rush out and quit your job. Decide on a benefit you would like your company to offer and determine the kind of value it will add – either a cost-savings or in improving the lives of you and your fellow employees. Approach your manager or boss. If you can show exactly what your company could gain by adopting it, you might be surprised at how willing your workplace is to make your life better.