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  • 27 March 2014
  • Eric Michaels

Workplace perks: Good for productivity?

The shift toward working from home, flexible vacations, and fantastic workplace perks reflects a culture in which the lines between the job and free time are blurred. Employees are willing to handle work on smart phones late at night, early in the morning, or from a beach in Barbados. But that only happens when employees feel valued in a profound way. Here's how perks at your workplace can improve productivity and overall job satisfaction.

Show a deeper respect for employees

Pressuring employees to get them to perform has backfired in workplaces for decades. More often than not, high levels of stress lead to clouded judgment and poor performance on the job. On the other hand, employees who feel valued and respected by an employer tend to give more of themselves back to a company. You can use enhanced office perks to demonstrate that type of respect for staff.

Independence in decision-making and variety in the way employees can approach tasks create that sense of fulfillment employees crave.

One Stanford University researcher who studied the effects of perks at the office told Forbes that they increased productivity only when they were part of a company's wider approach to valuing employees. For example, massages at work serve to relieve stress physically, but if the employees do not feel that they control the situation at their desks, they are less likely to benefit from the massage.

Some workplace perks validate the extra effort

There is no question that today's employees handle a great deal of work-related issues outside business hours. Between managing crises from home and checking in on vacation, some employees never turn off their commitment to the company. That is a valuable asset you should protect at all costs, and it requires a strategy of retention.

Perks like flexible vacation time and the option to work from home recognize that the lines are blurred, and that employees deserve more personal time as well as flexibility in the way they perform work-related tasks. A recent CareerBuilder.com survey showed that 59% of employees valued flexible schedules.

Workplace fulfillment takes a comprehensive strategy

The same CareerBuilder survey found that 48% said the most important thing to them was the ability to make a difference at a company. That underscores how you should aim for overall fulfillment for employees if you want them to perform at a high level. Independence in decision-making and variety in the way employees can approach tasks create that sense of fulfillment employees crave. When they feel they are essential to a company, they offer you their best performance.

Some workplace perks show employees that you respect their time outside of work as well as their long office hours. For example, setting up a fitness center allows employees to energize themselves on the job while cutting out that time chunk from their personal lives. Dry cleaning services serve as another way for them to save time while at the workplace. Avoiding a dash after work to run errands allows employees to focus their best energy on the job you pay them to handle.

Perks for employees can go a long way toward showing you appreciate their dedication. Whether you have a few people on staff or more than a dozen employees, show them you care and watch office productivity improve.

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