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Low-cost employee benefits that Irish companies can implement to reward employees and create a positive work environment.
More and more, employers are playing a greater role in safeguarding the work-life balance of their employees. This can involve implementing processes like flexi-time to give employees the freedom to choose when they sit down to work which can lead to an improved relationship between management and employees and promote an environment for greater productivity.
Organisations such as Facebook and Google are known throughout the world to offer lavish corporate benefits in the workplace, everything from free meals across multiple restaurants to massages, free use of onsite gyms and more.
Others go a more traditional route with their staff incentives and offer health insurance or a contributory pension. Of course, the scale of an incentive package that a company can offer depends on its resources, which can differ depending on the business’s stage of growth.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of cost-effective incentives you can implement to create a pleasant work environment for your employees without having to declare bankruptcy.
Sports and Social
It mightn’t be feasible to open your very own corporate gym just yet if you only have a handful of staffers, but you can offer to subsidise a range of sporting or fitness activities for your employees. This could work as an arrangement with a local sports centre that sees you subsidise spin classes, Zumba, boxercise, kickboxing or anything similar your employees show an interest in. If you have the room, you can convert some extra office space into a fitness room and book a yoga or aerobics coach to come into the workplace once or twice a week.
If your employees can’t reach a consensus on the activity they would like you to subsidise in the office, you can allocate a sports budget to each person that will let them enter a running race or provide an annual contribution towards a health and fitness related membership of their choosing.
After transport, one of the biggest work-related expenses employees have is purchasing lunch and breakfast. If you can take care of one of these meals daily for employees, this can go a long way to contributing to a positive working environment. For breakfast, providing a selection of cereals, fruits, yoghurts, teas and coffees is a simple but meaningful gesture. Lunch can be a bit harder to cater for everyone’s needs if you don’t have a canteen you can subsidise, but you can give employees something back in a different way with the help of a diner’s card.
Diner’s cards are subscription plans that let your employees redeem meal discounts or 2 for 1 meals etc. in thousands of restaurants in the UK. One such company is Tastecard which would cost approximately £80 annually to provide an employee with a membership. Your organisation could subsidise this cost or cover it in full.
A great added health care benefit for your employees that is also affordable for employers is a subscription to the VideoDoc online doctor consultation service. This service allows employees to avail of a face to face consultation with a doctor before, during or after work hours, thus avoiding the logistical nightmare of trying to get a Doctor appointment for themselves or family members during peak times.
This is especially beneficial to employees that might be registered with a Doctor in their hometown but are commuting a great distance to get to work. VideoDoc can be accessed by any smart device or via a desktop. You can even set up a dedicated space in your office for employees to access the service. This is both convenient for employees and can help reduce absenteeism.
Cycle to Work
Do you know about the UK Government staff benefits scheme ‘Cycle to Work’? This initiative allows employees to get a subsidised bike and other cycling equipment for the purpose of commuting to work. Once an employer registers with the scheme, employees can save between 25-39% depending on their tax band and equipment cost. In the UK, the scheme operates as a tax-exempt loan scheme between businesses and their employees.
Employees are essentially renting the bike from their employers during an agreed upon period and have the option to change their ownership arrangement after a year or when their employment conditions change. Learn more about the scheme at Cyclescheme.
While we’re not suggesting you start paying off employees’ student loans just yet, you can offer an education and upskilling benefit by buying memberships to resource libraries that staff can access at their own leisure. There is a wide range of providers to choose from out there including the likes of Udemy and Lynda.
As well as enabling employees to expand their horizons and dip their toes into new business directions, it lets management explore the viability of setting up new teams, assigning new responsibilities and could even influence future products and services. Who knows, you could discover your accountant has a flair for UX design or that your head of creative has a passion for programming.
When it comes to meditation, it’s often a case of ‘each to their own’, but one service that has opened up the world of meditation and mindfulness to a much wider demographic than ever before is Headspace, the guided meditation app. Users are provided with a daily meditation track that they access the same way they would a Spotify song and listen to it at their leisure. There is plenty of content that will last a user for months, with more content to unlock as users progress through the programme. You could even set up a quiet room in your office to let employees access the app in a peaceful setting.
Learn more about how VideoDoc works now.