Fancy a 4 ½ day week?

When you think about employee benefits, what comes to mind first?  I read an article this week which claimed that the best perk for UK employees was a half-day off on Friday.  Pre-lockdown and you’re imagining a long weekend with friends or family somewhere, arriving early evening and back late on Sunday. Bliss.

But this survey (by Sodexo Engage – link at the bottom) was carried out during lockdown.

People who are working from home still cherish the thought of having a long weekend… but at home and not doing work.

I get that.

If people’s workdays have expanded over the past year and we are now cramming more hours into our 5 day work week than ever before, the opportunity to switch off at Friday lunchtime is highly attractive.  If you’ve done your 37.5 or 40 hours between Monday and Friday at 1pm, then why shouldn’t you get to have Friday afternoon to yourself?

In fact, a lot of their survey results were focused on maximising work-life balance.  Other highly scoring benefits were holiday allowance and a system of Summer hours (I presume finishing the workday earlier when the weather is better).

So, is “time” a more important benefit than something with a monetary value?
Unfortunately, this piece of research doesn’t really help us decide.  Not surprisingly, given the fact that Sodexo Engage specialise in “employee rewards, benefits and recognition”, the rest of the list of potential perks is strangely tilted towards the younger end of the workplace spectrum. Potentially their sample of 2,000 for this work was biased towards Gen Z/Millennials.  I don’t know that, I’m just interpreting the data… based on the fact that amazingly these 3 things appeared in the Top 10 Perks… ready…here goes;

  • #4 Student Loan Contributions
  • #6 Nap rooms
  • #8 Pawternity
  • (and weirdly at #9, Fertility treatments)

Perhaps I’m old school (or maybe just old), but I was expecting to see things like
Bonus scheme, Pension scheme, Company share scheme, Health insurance, Flexible holidays, Gym membership, Subsidised on-site food.

It’s an interesting discussion if we look ahead to when a hybrid working set-up is available for everyone. 

If we’re spending 3 days in the office and 2 days at home each week, does this mean that companies need to re-work their benefits packages to include stuff which employees can still take advantage off when they are working from home.

I’ve just managed to get this piece drafted, edited, and published before my 1pm Friday deadline.  I’m now taking the afternoon off*

*or maybe I’ll head to the Nap Room

Here’s the link I promised you

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