Do Work Perks Matter?
Flexi-time, dress down Fridays, office snacks, the obligatory bean bag room, and maybe a games console or two. This is becoming the status quo for the modern workplace.
But while these work perks may make the outdated office cubicles of the 1990’s fall apart at the hinges, the truth is these ‘benefits’ are often doing nothing more than covering up much bigger issues in the workplace.
Think about it, if you’re overloaded with work, do you seriously think you’d feel capable of just dropping everything for a few minutes to go and play ping pong?
The answer is of course not. When you’re stressed and feel as though you’ve got too much on you cram in as many hours as the day will give you.
These ‘games’ are often left redundant and do nothing more than make it look like a great place to work, when the reality is far different.
And the same can be said for ‘dress-down Friday’.
For those struggling with a mental health experience, if your mind is making you anxious or depressed, do you honestly believe that being able to wear your jeans to work on a Friday is suddenly going to lift you out of the dark cloud?
No way. When you’re suffering from any mental health condition, what you’re wearing isn’t going to change a single feeling.
But despite the fact that people are stressed and depressed in the workplace, employers continue to invest an excessive amount of money into office playgrounds that do no benefit than to make them look good as an employer.
The fact is, employers simply don’t know how to manage people or implement effective workplace benefits. They’re often so focused on the bottom line or where the business is going next, that they forget there’s a team behind them needing their leadership and support.
If companies want to really create workplace benefits that matter to people, it has to be people focussed. Not focused on avoiding the real life issues.
When it comes to healthcare employers are quick to throw a fancy gym membership into the employee benefits scheme. But how does hitting the treadmill help to deter serious illness?
It unfortunately doesn’t, and many employees are left in a dire financial situation because they are put on minimum sick pay when serious illness occurs. Which can often leave people not being able to pay their rent or having to take out loans.
It’s the stark reality that many employers are looking for a get out quick when it comes to sickly employees, rather than taking a human approach that could support the employee in getting better and have them returning to work.
Salary protection and insurance against serious illness such as cancers can give employees a huge help when such traumas occur.
Learning & Development
Research from the University of Middlesex found that 74% of employees feel like they’re not reaching their full potential, with 40% leaving their roles within the first year due to poor training.
Learning and development matters to people because it helps to give them skills and knowledge to carry out their roles to the best of their ability and continue to grow their position in the company.
It provides employees with a sense of value that cannot be underestimated.
Mental Health Support
A study by the Mental Health Foundation found that 65% of employees feel scared, embarrassed or unable to speak to their managers about their mental health.
This identifies a grey area in the workplace, as employers either don’t know how to help those struggling with mental health or understand how to approach people that are suffering. Leaving individuals to feel like social lepers because the case is simply handed to HR to ‘deal with’.
The case for mental health in the workplace is only just coming into the spotlight, but it needs far more proactive policies.
If employers are unsure of how to offer support in the workplace, then it’s down to them to partner with a company that can.