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How company benefits have changed in the digital age

(Image credit: Image Credit: llaszlo / Shutterstock)

Whether it’s by offering all members of staff free food on a monthly basis, providing healthcare without charge or allowing people to have their birthday off work so that they can enjoy a stress-free day celebrating, company benefits have been a part of many organisations throughout the UK for years.

However, these perks have started to become rather topical in recent years. It’s becoming less surprising to see companies providing their employees with the chance to work from home, unlimited holidays or shorter working hours. Are these types of perks providing benefits to businesses though? Trying to find out the answer to this question is Impact International, who are specialists in providing digital learning techniques. Read the findings of their investigation here…

How beneficial are shorter working hours?

Shorter working hours is a strategy that has been adopted by a raft of companies across Scandinavia and is an employee perk that is now beginning to gather momentum throughout the UK.

According to research in Sweden, a workday that typically lasts six hours can provide a boost to productivity and bring down absentee rates when compared to the eight-hour workdays that many of us are accustomed to in Britain. In fact, in the UK, six out of ten bosses noticed that when they cut down working hours, overall productivity was boosted.

There’s an increase in the health of workers seen too. This could be explained by the negative effects that long working hours lead to — working more hours has been linked to sleep deprivation and stress.

How beneficial are unlimited holidays?

Many employees will surely find the idea of unlimited holidays appealing. If your company offered this benefit, there would be no need to think about how your 28 days are going to last until the end of the year!

LinkedIn, Netflix and Virgin are among the well-known organisation to already offer this perk to their members of staff. They aren’t alone either, as nine per cent of companies around the world offer the same, if not very similar holiday policies.

Manifest PR is a UK-based creative organisation and their CEO Alex Myers was responsible for bringing unlimited holidays in as a company benefit at his firm. He found that the amount of holiday days being taken is very similar to the amount that was taken before the implantation of the new perk. He noticed that people took their holidays more broadly across the year now as opposed to saving them for the end of the year in case they needed them. He couldn’t find any drawbacks with introducing the strategy and people did not take advantage of the scheme in a negative way.

Focusing in on a similar scheme at Virgin, one of Virgin Management’s spokespeople commented: “People working at Virgin Management have busy lives and by giving them the flexibility and the opportunities to spend valuable time out of the office, we believe that it has created a happier and more empowered environment, which can be an incentive for some people.”

More quality and free time is without a doubt one of the main benefits of unlimited holidays. Having unlimited holidays as a work policy allows employees to spend time with family, take extended trips or have a few days off for milestones such as big birthdays or their child’s first day at school.

How beneficial is working from home?

Working from home is another company benefit that is beginning to be provided by more and more firms. Some organisations allow employees to have a certain number of home working days and provide them with laptops and the computer programmes that they need to complete work at the same standard as if they were in the office. It’s an attractive option to many too — 80 per cent of millennial women said that they’d like the option to work from home.

According to research, people who have the option to work from home become more productive. Could this be because they have less distractions than they would encounter in the workplace? One survey found that homeworkers ranked their productivity at 7.7/10 and those who worked in the office ranked 6.5/10. This could mean that more, better quality work could be produced from people working from home.

People who are given the chance to work from home are found to be less likely to take a sick day as well. A study on the subject showed that office workers took 3.1 sick days in 2016, whereas homeworkers only took 1.8. Again, this can affect overall productivity of the business and the amount of work that gets completed.

Employees receive various benefits from being able to work from home too. For instance, it allows them to avoid travel disruption, which is a headache for many workers, as it’s not uncommon for people to have to make a two-hour daily commute to work! Working remotely allows for greater flexibility, a happier work life and a higher employee retention rate. This can reduce recruitment costs such as advertising, the hiring process and training. Savings can also be made in office space as less desks, chairs and computers are required as people can alternate being in the office and at home.

A company can also open their firm up to a much wider pool of talent by introducing working from home incentives around their offices. This is because they can advertise to people who live outside of the local area or to disabled people who may find it difficult to make it into the office.

Company benefits that are a little bit different from the norm

There are several organisations which have begun to definitely think outside of the box when it comes to providing their employees with unique company benefits.

Take the California headquarters of Netflix for instance, where both work hours and vacation days are no longer tracked at all! Instead, the company measures what people get done and as long as they get their work completed, the managers are pleased!

Couples who are expecting to introduce to a new child into their families are likely to be pleased if they work at Facebook too. This is due to the company offering new parents four months of parental leave, reimbursement for day care and adoption feed and up to $4,000 in ‘baby cash’ after the birth of a child.

Then there are the companies which know the importance of people to help out in the community and cherish their free time. For this reason, they offer their employees paid time off or flexible working hours so that they can carry out voluntary tasks.

Then there is snow accessories and outerwear company Burton. There, employees are provided with season ski passes and can use them on ‘snow days’ due to their head office being within an hour’s drive of ski resorts.

Georgie White, copywriter, Mediaworks
Image Credit: llaszlo / Shutterstock

Georgie White
Georgie White is a copywriter at a digital marketing agency in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. After completing his traineeship at the National Youth Film Academy and finishing his studies in Creative Media Production, Georgie transitioned to Mediaworks in August 2017 where he uses his creative flare to write unique content for a range of clients from all different industries.