The top 10 perks: naps, yoga and sound therapy...

The top 10 perks: naps, yoga and sound therapy...

Company cars and bowls of fruit may be underwhelming. How about giving staff something that will really fire them up, such as yoga and sound therapy or comedy nights and mind-blowing parties? Here are ten unusual benefits which really deliver…

The top 10 perks: naps, yoga and sound therapy...

1 Daytime naps

BrightHR: cloud human resources software

Paul Harris, co-founder and chief marketing officer: “Fun and play are at the centre of our business ethos. Our office has football nets, scooters and a ping-pong table. We wanted it to be an engaging place for people to enjoy. We really liked the idea of an office bed, which was suggested by an employee. The team can take time out away from their desks to enjoy a power nap and are trusted to do so whenever they need it. We’ve had a great response from staff. One pregnant employee found it particularly beneficial. Employees have been more productive since the arrival of the bed. It is a perk we can highly recommend.”

2 Yoga

Tech Mahindra: IT services and outsourcing

Rakesh Soni, chief people officer: “A company’s health is intrinsically linked to employee health. As such, Tech Mahindra provides regular yoga sessions for staff throughout the year, from one-minute yoga breaks to yoga camps for spouses. It’s part of our commitment to employee wellbeing, an initiative called Wealth of Wellness. We support the International Day of Yoga, in which 60,000 employees took part in yoga sessions around the world. Since last year, there’s been a 43 per cent jump in participation and a 9 per cent increase in employee satisfaction levels. The key to making these programmes work is continued support from our location teams, targetted communication for employees and leadership buy-in to sustain initiatives.”

3 Holidays

Peldon Rose: interior design

Jitesh Patel, chief executive: “Our business is based on creativity and teamwork so we offer employees both a summer and winter trip each year to ensure we have the inspired, motivated, collaborative teams working on each workplace design project. Organised by employees, the trips are designed to appeal to everyone. Recent destinations have included a city break in Barcelona and skiing in the Kitzbühel Alps, which was particularly good for team building as practised skiers assisted those with less experience. On the last trip, to Fieberbrunn, Austria, 21 of our 60 staff came. The company pays for everything and staff pay it back, interest free, from their pay slip over 12 months, less than £50 per month. The trips are great fun and create lasting friendships, which boosts morale and helps us to retain valuable talent.”

4 Comedy night

isobel: creative agency

Bridget Fitzgerald, business director: “We all know beer and banter is great, but all companies, we think, have regular nights out or office drinks. So we created isobelly laughs, a comedy night held in the reception of our agency. In terms of comedians, we’ve had some really great stand-ups. The last event featured Sara Pascoe and Mark Dolan, who were both brilliant. The night not only acts as a massive thank you to our employees for being epic, but also works as an awareness vehicle within the industry and to prospective clients. Our work is all about storytelling and creativity, so this event embodies what we do, who we are and allows everyone we work with to let their hair down.”

5 Sound therapy

Threepipe: public relations and digital marketing

Jim Hawker, co-founder: “We have been trialling sound therapy sessions for a little while and have genuinely found them to be helpful. It uses the power of sound and vibration to restore your body, mind and spirit to a sense of balance and harmony. It’s a strange concept and you have to be open-minded to giving it a go and experiencing something quite unusual. It really creates a calming environment in which you can feel your body responding to the music and most people end up having a brilliant night’s sleep after the session. It works well for Threepipe because you can treat groups of people at the same time and people working here are pretty interested in similar treatments or regularly attend yoga sessions.”

6 Charity work

Intuit: accounting software

Rich Preece, Europe vice president and managing director: “All Intuit staff are given four full working days each year to spend outside the office working for a charity or cause of their choice. An example could be helping with flood or disaster relief throughout the country. We also match employee donations to charity up to £1,200 per person and offer employee grants for further charity work. Staff respond really well to this. Many have busy family and personal lives so struggle to find time in their packed schedules to help as much as they’d like to; having dedicated time out for it works. And, as they often volunteer in groups, it boosts morale, helps the team bond and gives them a sense of how to work better together.”

7 Choose your benefits

Expedia: travel website

Andy Washington, managing director, Northern Europe: “At Expedia, all our employees are eligible to receive substantive travel discounts and travel benefits that pay towards their holidays. In addition, if you work for us in the UK, you have a choice in picking benefits that suit you from a portfolio of over 20 options, including a computing scheme or gym memberships. Every employee receives a flex allowance that can be used towards paying for those chosen benefits. We know from sources such as Glassdoor, which named us the Best Place to Work in 2016, employees value our culture, but also appreciate the benefits we can offer.”

8 Shares scheme

Forster Communications: public relations

Peter Gilheany, director: “Around 45 per cent of staff own shares and in the last two years we have targeted, and achieved, a minimum 10 per cent return to employees on their investment, which has helped drive take-up of the scheme. It is one of the first things people ask us about in interviews as they are always intrigued by it. Staff who have taken up the option have indicated in appraisals that it has increased their sense of commitment and passion both in the business and the work we do. Not surprisingly, the key thing is to communicate about it often and make sure shareholders feel part of a specific community.”

09 Achieve your dreams

Cook: frozen foods

Rosie Brown, people director: “Dream Academy exists to support our people who have a dream or goal they want to achieve. It may be an ambitious grand goal, like buying a house, or something more straightforward (milking a cow). Our dreamers meet with a professional life coach, three times over four months, who helps plot a path to achieving their goal and giving them the tools they need. But ultimately they get there under their own steam. Since 2012, over 60 dreamers have achieved their dreams, which have included being the first member of their family to get a professional qualification, overcoming divorce and smiling with confidence.”

10 Worldwide staff party

Meltwater: media intelligence

Gregg Hollister, director UK and Ireland: “Meltwater’s Kick Off is a bi-annual event for all 1,300-plus employees, taking place over three days, where the global organisation, across fifty offices and six continents, comes together to share best practice, insights, successes and challenges. Locations have included Las Vegas and Mexico. Kick Off allows employees to become fully immersed in the unique Meltwater culture, which is focused on people development. Internal surveys show it significantly impacts employee engagement. The Kick Off is such a success because the entire organisation is in one space, which is invaluable. It not only galvanises clear business strategy, but also celebrates the success and friendships that make working for Meltwater so special.”

As seen in "Employee Engagement & Benefits 2016" Employee Engagement & Benefits 2016 Download this report

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