Perks

My idea of a perk. I'm pretty easily pleased.

My idea of a perk. I’m pretty easily pleased.

A friend of mine flew to Ibiza yesterday with his company. This wasn’t an exotic business trip, his company MVF decided to top their usual weekly knocking-off-at-3pm-for-free-beers perk, and take all staff to Ibiza for a few days. A pretty nice reward, and I have to feel a little jealous, although when I really think about it I can’t think of anything worse than going on holiday with my entire office…

So many other trendy young companies are seeking more exciting ways to reward their staff, from free food all day to taking as much holiday as you like. I once went for an interview at Bloomberg in London, and the whole reception early in the morning smelt of toast. Bloomberg laid on as much food and drink as staff wanted all day (and, rumour had it, free champagne on a Friday evening), which sounds wonderful when you’re used to buying the same dismal Pret A Manger sandwich everyday, but then you realise could actually be a sinister ploy to keep employees in the office all day. Why go outside or even go home when you can have all your meals provided for you in the office?

But seriously, rewards are really nice, and treats are even better. Aside from injecting a bit of novelty and excitement into the working day, the most important thing they provide is to make staff feel valued. Too often a sense of being valuable to your employer can be missing from work. I recently interviewed staff in my company and asked them how much recognition or value they felt for their work. Many seemed surprised by the question, but most when they thought about it did eventually say that they felt recognised in some way by their colleagues or their boss for their contribution. From those that struggled to think of when they felt valued there was a palpable feeling that work was unimportant or unfulfilling.

Isn’t a sense of value what gets you to work in the morning and ultimately gets you through the day? To really feel fulfilled by work we all like to feel that we’re doing a good job. But the treats when they come can be really nice. And why stop at valuing staff when you can find a way to make work fun too? If only more employers would share that attitude!

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