If you're fortunate enough to land a job at one of the tech juggernauts like Google, you'll probably stay there forever. Why? Because companies like the Big G provide top-notch perks like free food, napping areas, on-site physicians, massages, nurses, and reimbursements for degree-level education.
I'll tell you what? It's possible and I've been able to attract some of the hottest talent in the world at my startup with some "very cheap" perks.
Here are 20 perks that your employees will love, but won't break the bank.
1. Flexible scheduling.
Flexible hours have become increasingly popular and more and more employees are realizing the importance of work-life balance. With flexible scheduling, your employees can still get their work done, while still not neglecting their personal lives, like missing a doctor's appointment or picking their kids up from school. It's one of the most important perks that employees are looking for and it's only a minimal cost for startup.
2. Remote work days.
Thanks to technology, there really isn't a need to have an employee come in five days a- week. Allowing your employees to stay home on a Friday is a major perk that employees love since it saves them a commute. And, they can to stay in the comfort of their own home. For business owners, this drastically reduces expenses because you can cut down on the amount of electricity, office supplies, and heating/cooling that you use.
3. Standing desks.
Your employees are well-aware of the dangers of sitting all day. That's why standing desks have become so popular. Besides being better for your employee's health, it should boost their productivity. If there's one problem with standing desks is that they can get pricey. To get around this, you could have a team excursion to IKEA and have everyone build their own for as little as $22. Or, you can invest in this nifty $30 cardboard standing desk converter and workstation from Oristand.
4. Desk allowance.
Let your employees have a little fun with their work areas by letting them decorate their desks anyway they like. But, if you really want to stand out, give them a small allowance so that they can purchase items, such as a plant or picture frame, for their desks.
5. Greater responsibilities.
Most employees want to be challenged. They want to learn and enhance their skill sets. They want assurance that you trust them. Instead of holding them back, let your employees shine and push their limits by giving them more responsibilities - even if it's in an area that they weren't hired to do.
Just become you hired someone as a programmer doesn't mean that they're not a social media whiz. Let them periodically update your channels - which also saves you some cash as well.
6. Employee recognition.
We all want to be recognized for our hard work and dedication. The best thing is that recognizing employees doesn't have to be expensive, or even a grand production. Write them a handwritten letter thanking them and acknowledging their hard work.
Mention them in a company-wide newsletter. Reserve an 'Employee of the Week' parking spot. Hand out monthly awards or certificates.
7. Business travel.
There are some of us who love to travel. So, this is a perk for them. Of course, they'll have to work, but it not only itches that travel bug, it gives them a chance to learn something new if they're attending a workshop, network, and have the responsibility of representing your brand. And, those business travel expenses can be deducted on your taxes.
8. Bring your dog to work.
If you own a dog, then you obviously know how guilty you feel about leaving them alone all day, every day. You can eliminate that worry by allowing your employees to bring their dogs into work occasionally. Besides. It's been found that allowing dogs in the office can increase morale, creativity, and productivity. It also reduces stress and absenteeism.
9. Backup childcare.
If you think employees are concerned about their pets, how do think act when it comes to their children? If they're children get sick, the babysitter bails at the last second or doesn't have a ride to soccer practice they're going to have to call out of work. And, when you're trying to launch a startup, you can't afford to have anyone miss a day of work.
You could consider providing on-site childcare, per employer-sponsored backup childcare at places like Bright Horizons. If those options are too expensive, then you could consider offering discounts at services like Care.com.
10. Relaxed work environment.
One of the easiest perks that you can offer, and probably one of the least expensive, is by providing a laid-back work environment where everyone dresses casually, there are quiet places for employees to rest and recharge, and making sure that you aren't micromanaging and are communicating effectively.
It's not uncommon for workplaces to offer free hot and soft drinks, as well snacks like fruit bowls or bagels. It's a simple method to keep employees happy and productive since this prevents hunger from distracting them - the right snacks can also boost everyone's memory and brain power.
Besides free food, you can offer your team member freebies like tablets, FitBits, or products or services from your startup.
Lyft, for example, gives their employees $100 of free Lyft credit each month.
12. Team meals.
Either every month or at least every quarter, treat your team to lunch or dinner. This boosts morale, strengthens relationships, and allows everyone to learn more about each other outside of the workplace.
13. Catered meetings.
There will be times when meetings have to be scheduled during breakfast, lunch, and maybe even dinner. To help keep your team focused, and ease the pain of a meeting, provide them with food and drinks, such as bagels, salads, sandwiches, coffee, and maybe even a cocktail if it's later.
14. Games room.
Games are one of the best ways to build relationships among your team and help them unwind after a hard day. You could go big y purchasing a pool, ping pong, or foosball table. Or, you could keep it small by investing in a dart board, board games, or video game consoles.
15. Pamper your employees.
If you want your employees to de-stress, you should pamper by offering a massage or spa treatment - especially after a hectic period of time. If that's not within your budget, you could buy a second-hand massage chair for under a $100.
16. Physical fitness and health.
It's not unusual for companies to encourage their employees to be healthy by providing them with healthy snacks, an on-site gym, or yoga classes. If you don't have the funds or space, you could provide free or discounted gym memberships to a local gym.
Speaking of health, don't rule other on-site physical wellness options like flu shots. Remember, when you're employees are healthy, the less likely they are going to get sick.
17. Birthday vacation/celebrations.
Who doesn't enjoy celebrating their birthday? You can have a party in the office by hanging some banners and bringing in a cake. Or, you could give the employee an extra day of vacation time during the week of their birthday. These both recognize the employee and can improve morale.
18. Scheduled days out together.
Whether if it's going to a baseball game, going to the movie theater, or going camping, this is another way to show your appreciation and strengthen the relationships between your team. If you really want to make an impression, do this during working hours so that you're not cutting into anyone's personal time.
19. Partner with local businesses.
By partnering up with other local businesses, you can offer your employees a discount at a local restaurant, coffee shop, gym, salon, or car wash. In return, you may have to offer discounts as well, but this perk keeps your employees happy, introduces you to new customers, and shows that you're a valued member of the community.
20. Corporate responsibility.
Employees, specifically Millennials, want to work for a company that gives back and is ethical. One of the best ways to do this is by demonstrating corporate responsibility through volunteerism and activism. For example, Boost Media employees participate in beach cleanups, while Counter Culture offers each employee one annual paid-volunteer day.
Sizing Up Benefits
How do you decide on benefits and perks for your team? You want to consider: money versus time, workplace flexibility, and autonomy. To help narrow down your selection here's some advice;