It should come as no surprise that companies like Netflix and Google are attracting a lot of millennial talent as a result of their innovative company cultures. With employee perks like unlimited vacation days, napping pods, and game rooms, spending 40 (or more) hours per week at work doesn't sound half bad. While the success of these companies would indicate that having an abundance of treats and services for employees is a good thing, there is also some speculation that too many perks can be bad for creativity. The challenge then becomes finding a balance between the two and implementing ideas that are sustainable and realistic for companies not quite the same size as Google. If you're looking to bring elements of modern, evolving business culture into your office, try implementing one of these easy and cost effective ideas.

1.     Host meetings outside of the office.

Meetings aren't always something employees look forward to, which can make coming in with fresh ideas and updates challenging. Something as simple as hosting meetings at a local coffee shop is an easy way to surprise your employees with a change of scenery while mixing up the usual meeting routine. If you have a weekly meeting with department heads, try having it over happy hour appetizers and cocktails.

2.     Cater meals.

In a perfect world, catered meals would be a regular occurrence in an office. If that's not possible, catering an occasional meal during a busy time is still a thoughtful gesture that gives your employees one less thing to worry about. Is the accounting firm you own swamped in tax season tasks? Show your accountants some love during those long work weeks by having lunch catered a couple times.

3.     Be flexible with work schedules.

The rigidity of a 9-5 work day is becoming increasingly antiquated. One way to "modernize" work schedules is by giving employees the chance to manage their own work. Instead of monitoring their production on a daily basis, try assigning tasks on a weekly basis and letting the employee allocate their own time. If all the work is done (and done well!) by Friday afternoon, let the employee leave early while still getting paid for a 9-5 work day. A small gesture of flexibility might inspire faster, efficient work.

4.     Allow paid time off for volunteer opportunities.

Philanthropic perks such as this are especially effective among millennials. Employees are more likely to proudly represent a brand that contributes to the community. Having a PTO company volunteer day at a local charity or organization is a great way to exercise teamwork and unity within a business.  It's also not a bad way to improve morale and gratitude among employees.

5.     Host friendly competitions.

A little competition among employees can have amazing results. If there's a sales department, have monthly performance competitions. By hosting healthy competition and having a reward, employees will be motivated to go above and beyond their best while raising the performance bar amongst each other.

6.     Promote health and wellness.

Health and wellness is something a lot of people are concerned about, but have difficulty making time for. Why not make your employee's concerns your concerns and help them out? Living a healthy lifestyle is critical for mental health and awareness as well as physical performance-both of which can influence the work someone is doing. Encouraging and helping your employees make their health a priority can lead to happier, consistent productivity. Maybe host an office raffle and give away a Fitbit, or make a deal with a local gym that gives your employees a discount.

7.     Lunch and learn.

If you're looking for a way to treat your employees but still want it to be a constructive activity, host a lunch and learn. You can cater lunch and while employees eat, a department head or speaker can share insightful tips on something you find fitting or relevant to the office. Employees will have the chance to relax while enjoying a free lunch, but still be gaining professional insight.

8.     Bring outside activities into the workplace.

While this one might be dependent on available space, it's still an awesome way to mix up the work day. Bringing an outside activity into the office is a fun way to see your employees engage with one another and experience a little fun in the office. Having a yoga or Zumba instructor come in during the lunch hour can get people laughing and recharging in a way that beats the afternoon slump and recharges the atmosphere with energy.

Published on: Apr 19, 2016