Company benefits have become quite topical recently. There are many companies that offer unlimited holidays, shorter working hours and the opportunity to work from home. But are these beneficial for the business? Impact International, experts in change management, investigate…
This perk sounds like an attractive one to many employees. If your company offered this benefit, there would be no need to think about how your 28 days are going to last until the end of the year!
Some big companies which offer this employee advantage are Virgin, Netflix and LinkedIn. They aren’t alone either, as 9% of companies around the world offer the same, if not very similar holiday policies.
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Alex Myers who is CEO of Manifest PR, a creative organisation based in the UK, introduced unlimited holidays into his company. He found that the amount of holiday days being taken is very similar to the amount that was taken before the implantation of the new perk. He noticed that people took their holidays more broadly across the year now as opposed to saving them for the end of the year in case they needed them. He couldn’t find any drawbacks with introducing the strategy and people did not take advantage of the scheme in a negative way.
Speaking about Virgin’s similar scheme, a spokesperson from Virgin Management said: “People working at Virgin Management have busy lives and by giving them the flexibility and the opportunities to spend valuable time out of the office, we believe that it has created a happier and more empowered environment, which can be an incentive for some people.”
This raises the big advantage of unlimited holiday — more free, quality time. Having unlimited holidays as a work policy allows employees to spend time with family, take extended trips or have a few days off for milestones such as big birthdays or their child’s first day at school.
Working from home
Working from home is another advantage that companies are starting to offer. Some organisations allow employees to have a certain number of home working days and provide them with laptops and the computer programmes that they need to complete work at the same standard as if they were in the office. It’s an attractive option to many too — 80% of millennial women said that they’d like the option to work from home.
Research suggests that working from home is more productive, possibly as there are less distractions than in the office. One survey found that homeworkers ranked their productivity at 7.7/10 and those who worked in the office ranked 6.5/10. This could mean that more, better quality work could be produced from people working from home.
It seems as though those who have the option to work from home are less likely to call in sick too. A study on the subject showed that office workers took 3.1 sick days in 2016, whereas homeworkers only took 1.8. Again, this can affect overall productivity of the business and the amount of work that gets completed.
Working from home has many benefits for the employee too. It allows them to avoid travel disruption, which is a headache for many workers, as it’s not uncommon for people to have to make a two-hour daily commute to work! Working remotely allows for greater flexibility, a happier work life and a higher employee retention rate. This can reduce recruitment costs such as advertising, the hiring process and training. Savings can also be made in office space as less desks, chairs and computers are required as people can alternate being in the office and at home.
When an office offers the opportunity for employees to work from home, it gives the company access to a wider pool of talent. They can advertise to people who live outside of the local area or to disabled people who may find it difficult to make it into the office.
Shorter working hours
Another employee perk that we are hearing a lot about is shorter working hours — a strategy adopted by some Scandinavian companies.
Research in Sweden showed that a six-hour workday (as opposed to the eight-hour workday in the UK) can boost productivity and reduce absentee rates. In fact, in the UK, six out of ten bosses noticed that when they cut down working hours, overall productivity was boosted.
The health of workers was also found to improve. This could be explained by the negative effects that long working hours lead to — working more hours has been linked to sleep deprivation and stress.
Aside from the common employee perks, such as social nights out and early finishes, there are a few companies that give their workers something a bit different…
At Netflix’s California headquarters, for example, vacation days and work hours aren’t tracked at all! Instead, the company measures what people get done and as long as they get their work completed, the managers are pleased!
Facebook is a great company to work for if you’re expecting. The company offers new parents four months of parental leave, reimbursement for day care and adoption feed and up to $4,000 in ‘baby cash’ after the birth of a child.
Some companies understand the importance of free time and helping out in the community. For this reason, they offer their employees paid time off or flexible working hours so that they can carry out voluntary tasks.
Employees at snow accessories and outerwear company, Burton, are even provided with season ski passes and can use them on ‘snow days’ due to their head office being within an hour drive of ski resorts.