Employee Benefits That Increase Productivity

Originally published on All Business | Your Small Business Advantage

“Keeping your employees productive is one of the most important parts of keeping your business profitable. The happier and less stressed your workers are, the more work they’re going to do for your company, making the salaries you pay them yield a higher ROI for your business.

But effective increases to employee productivity go beyond those ends; with the right environment and the right offers, you won’t just make your employees work harder, you’ll make them want to work harder. You’ll put them in a situation where they’re driven and fulfilled to do their best, and that means both your company and your employees will be better off in the long run.

The easiest way to create this type of environment is through specific employee benefits. Some of these benefits include:

1. Flextime. The idea behind flextime is simple: get rid of the traditional notion of 9 to 5 work. These hours were decided arbitrarily a long time ago, and don’t necessarily represent the best working window for all your employees. For example, early risers might do better working early in the morning, while others may prefer not to get started until later in the afternoon. The amount of flexibility you give your workers is up to you, the nature of your business, and your company culture, but consider implementing at least some degree of flexibility. You’ll find your workers naturally gravitating toward the working hours that work best for them.

2. Working From Home. For years, working from home has carried a significant stigma. Bosses and supervisors viewed it as an excuse for a day off, believing workers to spend their time slacking off around the house rather than conducting any meaningful work. However, many workplaces have found that their employees are actually more productive when working from home. Like with flextime, they’re able to find better working times and rhythms that allow them to do their best. Plus, because that stigma is still out there, most workers will double their efforts to show that they are getting a sufficient amount of work done from home.

3. Team Events. Team events can range from elaborate nights out for the entire company or just short catered lunches with one specific division. However you choose to approach this benefit, it needs to accomplish two things: first, it needs to bring the team together in a non-work environment, and second, it needs to be fun. This will reward your workers for their hard work with food and/or entertainment, but will simultaneously help to forge new connections between coworkers. It’s as much a team building exercise as it is a reward opportunity, and both qualities will help your workers work harder.

4. Learning Opportunities. Offering your employees chances to learn new skills and advance their current ones is a win-win situation. Your employee will be grateful for the opportunity, and your team will gradually grow stronger as more of your employees continue to advance their abilities. Of course, the type of learning opportunities you choose is up to you—bigger companies may be able to afford to sponsor workers to pursue new advanced degrees, while smaller companies may only be able to afford occasional networking outings. As long as you’re offering something, your workers will appreciate it.

5. Family Care Programs. Family care programs are typically limited to larger companies due to budgetary restrictions, but that doesn’t mean smaller companies can’t offer alternatives. Child care is usually the most impactful and popular form of family care offered by companies, but also consider elderly care, pet care, and other forms of assistance that can lower employee stress and help them stay focused on work when possible. For smaller businesses, this can be something simple like allowing for extra personal days off in the event of emergencies or family requirements. The important thing is to show you care for your workers’ families.

6. Awards and Rewards for Performance. This should be a staple in any company’s array of benefits and regular practices. Perhaps counterintuitively, the monetary value or equivalent of a reward does not always correlate with the effect it has on employee motivation and productivity. For example, a $5,000 a year raise may motivate an employee just as much as a $500 end-of-year bonus. The key here is to regularly reward employees for hard work, not just at the end of the year or fiscal year. If someone does a great job on a project, give them a shout out. If a team makes a big breakthrough, take them out for lunch. Little awards and recognition systems matter.

7. Break Encouragement. Many workplaces have adopted a culture that frowns on breaks throughout the day. Workers who remain at their desks for long periods of time and work through lunch are seen as “go-getters” who are working harder than the others. Unfortunately, this mentality is flawed; working yourself into the ground can actually lead you to a burnout rather than getting more work done. Instead, encouraging short breaks throughout the day can — and will — lead to overall more productive and motivated workers.

The biggest determining factor for employee productivity is employee satisfaction. Even if you don’t implement these employee benefits in your workplace, actively work to find out what changes you can make to improve conditions for your workers. Small changes in your work environment and small investments in the health and happiness of your workers can go a long way for your company’s bottom line.”

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