I work for an amazing company that offers employee benefits I never expected to encounter in a job.
And, no, I don’t work in one of those offices with a pinball machine and a beer fridge. I work for a company that has thought long and hard about providing employees with benefits that align to its goals and values.
When I started at my job, I was immediately floored by the revelation that I got a “fitness break” (an allotted time each day to exercise—on the clock). As a working mom, my fitness regime to that point basically consisted of chasing a toddler around the house or racing to put out the garbage cans before the truck rolled up. So, when this opportunity appeared, I couldn’t believe that someone was actually paying me to take care of myself.
It seemed too good to be true, but it was real. And each day that I hopped on the treadmill or picked up the weights, I was extremely appreciative.
Plus, I was starting to notice something else.
I was beginning to reap the benefits of regular exercise. More energy. Better focus. Less sickness.
I realized that there was more to this perk than I had originally thought. Not only was I benefiting, my employer was getting a better employee out of the deal.
What’s more, my employer even brought in added benefits to support this health-focused initiative.
They supplied a personal trainer to help with setting and (more importantly) reaching fitness goals, stocked up the kitchen with local organic fruit, and even converted “sick days” into opportunities for employees to take a proactive approach to health (think dentist visits and days off to participate in healthful activities).
And now—close to seven years later—I’m not only healthier, happier, and more productive than I ever imagined I could be. I’m also an extremely loyal employee who is eternally grateful to have found my place in an organization that is both wise enough to see the benefits of offering such perks, but also values their employees as people.
Awesome New Trends in Employee Benefits
Looking back, I feel pretty lucky to have been benefiting from this fledgling trend when it was barely on the radar of so many companies. And, if you’re reading this and thinking, “Where can I sign up?” Don’t worry—many organizations are now providing fitness incentives and other types of equally exciting employee benefits. Here are just a few.
1. On-Site Childcare Facilities
Childcare costs a fortune. And it can be really hard to drop your kids off and drive away.
Because of this, many employers are now looking at ways to help. According to CNN’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” report, this enticing benefit is creeping its way into the mainstream in the form of reduced-cost, on-site day care centers, which allow employees to visit their children during the day and rest assured that they’re safely nearby.
2. Eldercare Benefits
And for those who are caught in the sandwich generation (taking care of young children and aging parents simultaneously) eldercare benefits are becoming a perk to look for. From allowing elderly relatives to be added to health insurance to providing eldercare consultants, employers are aiming to take stress off employees, allowing them to focus on their work and minimize work/life balance struggles.
3. (Paid) Volunteering Opportunities
Triple bottom lines (a focus on profits, people, and the planet) are becoming more and more commonplace for organizations. And employers are recognizing that personal fulfillment is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to employee satisfaction. That’s why organizations are more frequently offering staff the chance to participate in volunteer activities on company time.
4. Pet-Friendly Offices
You’ve probably heard about the benefits of having pets. Well, apparently employers have caught on to this too. While some progressive companies have been pet-friendly for a while, it’s becoming more and more common to see water dishes next to the water cooler in offices across the country.
You can even find dog-friendly job search tools, such as this one.
5. Paid Sabbaticals
Not only are progressive companies growing the number of holidays offered to employees, they are also offering paid time off to long-time employees who want to pursue personal or professional development goals. Sabbaticals used to be reserved for those in the world of academia, but that’s no longer the case.
And these sabbaticals can range from a couple of weeks all the way up to an entire year in some cases. With the idea of helping employees to recharge, refocus, and grow as individuals, organizations aim to get back team members who can bring even more to the table.
6. Other Innovative Perks
This is just the beginning. There is a slew of other enviable benefits that are starting to enter the spectrum of job perks such as on-site concierge services, meals, and massages. This Business Insider article highlights some of the employers leading in this arena.
What’s the bottom line?
When you’re looking for your next job, it might be wise to look beyond the numbers on your potential paycheck. Money isn’t always the bottom line.
If you’re like most people, you’ll probably be spending a significant amount of time at your place of work. So, why not invest in your happiness by choosing a job with an organization that is committed to you.
Your future health and happiness will thank you. I know mine has.
What about you? What employee benefits and perks would you like to see at your job?
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