Ever wonder which company perks your employees would like the most? Perks, of course, are not employee benefits like vacation and health insurance, but nice things to have that show your appreciation and make the company and office space a nice place to be. Perks can range from free food in the kitchen to surprise company-wide time off around the holidays.
Let There Be Light
Well, a recent Harvard Business Review study actually found that the perk employees craved the most was natural light and views of the outside. This might seem somewhat surprising as we are regularly regaled with stories of Silicon Valley offices with free dart games and luxurious health clubs. Also, of course, having a window office has long been regarded as a perk given to upper management or up-and-coming employees. But window offices per se were not the named perk: it was the psychological and physical benefits from natural light and the environment.
More than 33% of those polled think they don’t currently have enough at-work natural light. Even more, 47%, feel either tired or very tired because natural light is missing from their workspace. Forty-three percent feel gloomy due to the absence of light.
The numbers are in keeping with a more overarching trend in benefits: employees rate programs and factors that contribute to their wellbeing very highly, with over 50% ranking it “very important.” Factors that contribute to employee wellbeing can be gyms, nutrition programs at lunch, work-life balance, and more.
Interestingly, the HBR cites mobile phone use as a potential factor influencing the choice of the top perk. The average American who is over 18 years old uses their mobile devices roughly four hours every day. Nearly three-quarters of the employees surveyed about perks felt that they needed to look at something else after prolonged device use—and looking outside or walking around were the preferred methods of breaking the mobile phone/device spell.
…and natural light.
Attracting and Retaining Employees
Knowing what perks employees would like to see is not an idle exercise in preferences, of course. Knowing what to offer can help business leadership attract and retain employees.
Well-being and a balance between work and life are cited by employees as the second most important factors when deciding whether to accept a job offer.
Studies have shown that well-being also increases performance and heightens employee engagement. So it’s good business strategy to care about employee perk preferences—and to make sure that a maximum number of offices and other spaces have light and views of the surrounding environment.
It might be a good idea, then, to make sure that some public space, like kitchens or gathering areas be designed with plenty of natural light and views. Happier employees can contribute to the health of your business, as long as you contribute to the perks that bring them well-being and health.