7 Top Low-Cost Employee Perks

ChrisNull_8009s by Christopher Null on October 12, 2010
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(photo: iStockPhoto)

You’re already singing happy birthday once a month, have a telecommuting policy in place, and even dress down for casual Friday – but what else can you do to keep employees motivated and happy while they’re in the office? Small businesses may not have the leverage to offer cafeteria services and on-site massages that larger enterprises do, but that doesn’t mean they have to be helplessly uncompetitive.

Here are seven ways you can offer above-and-beyond incentives for your staff without breaking the bank.

1.      Bagels and fruit – Get your staff excited about coming to the office on Fridays by offering free bagels, coffee, fruit, and/or other inexpensive foodstuffs. Don’t over-purchase: Free breakfast should be an incentive for those who show up at work early. You snooze, you lose.

2.      The mail room – Let employees ship packages and letters through your company’s mail room. You needn’t pay for their postage, but allowing them access to these services is a great convenience. As a bonus, employees stay in the office longer as they have one less errand to do during lunchtime.

3.      Gym facilities – Got an unused office? Put a weight bench, stationary bike, treadmill, and television in there and call it a gym. Even better if you have a shower available. And remember: Fit employees take fewer sick days.

4.      Loaner computers – Employees who take laptops home work more on them whether you ask them to or not. As an extra incentive to get them to take care of their machine, consider making the computer become the employee’s property after one or two years on the job.

5.      Public transit reimbursements/subsidies – Kick in some money to cover bus or subway passes for those employees who take public transit to work. It’s not just a solid perk, it’s environmentally sound, too. Tax incentives may also be available.

6.      On-site car washes – Not near a public transit stop? Partner with a local company to offer on-site car washes once a week (or month, as demand requires). Again, you needn’t pay for the service, but the added convenience can be a big aid to your employees.

7.      Health discount cards – You may not be able to provide health benefits to your staff, and health discount cards aren’t insurance, but they’re better than nothing. The cards primarily offer a price break on standard medical services (including prescriptions), but cost a fraction of the price of standard insurance policies. Beware, though, scams and confusion are plentiful.

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