Employees want benefits. And they want them now.
Gone are the days when a handsome paycheck promised loyalty. Today, teams are looking for perks that set their employment contract apart from what the competition is offering.
Bonus advantages like offsite retreats, unlimited holidays and health insurance are now winning the hearts of job seekers. By offering these contractual add-ons, you can attract and retain top-level talent to your organisation.
So what should you include in your employee benefits package?
To help you whittle down your options, we’ve compiled a list of 40 employee benefits and perks and separated them into four distinct categories:
- Time-off-related perks
- Insurance-related perks
- Finance-related perks
- Wellness-related perks
These categories will help you to create an employee benefits package that suits your business. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Time-off-related employee benefits and perks
With one-third of our lives spent at work and another third spent sleeping, free time is a valuable commodity. Therefore, granting your employees more time away from the office is a surefire way to win them over.
1. Team-building events
Studies show that employees are beginning to value job satisfaction over higher salaries, and one way to ensure contentment is by organising team-building events.
Team-building events are a valuable employee perk because they allow your team to build stronger connections outside of work while improving essential soft skills.
A quality team-building event will typically involve an introductory icebreaker session, followed by a schedule of group activities that align with your goals and objectives.
Fun fact: Over 50% of employees have stayed at a company because they felt like part of a team.
2. Company offsite retreats
Company offsite retreats (otherwise known as team-building retreats or corporate retreats) are all-expenses-paid trips where teams can relax, socialise and work on work-related projects. They’re hugely popular with employees and yield a tangible ROI for companies.
An offsite retreat is a great chance for both in-person and remote teams to enjoy quality time together. As they engage in various group activities, they will build stronger relationships and trust. This boosts job satisfaction and improves team effectiveness.
What’s more, this time away from the office will help you to overcome some of your biggest challenges. Without the distractions of a normal working day, your employees can focus their energy on finding solutions to complex problems.
Fun fact: 73% of employees miss socialising with their colleagues.
3. Volunteer time
Giving your employees paid time off to support causes close to their hearts is a great way to demonstrate compassion for local charities and your employees. Paid volunteer time makes voluntary work more accessible to your employees, boosts morale and happiness and improves brand perception.
With younger generations becoming increasingly committed to making the world a better place, corporate volunteering is now an attractive perk for job seekers.
Fun fact: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women volunteer 6% more than men.
4. Paid sick days and holidays
Employees expect, at the very least, a few days of paid holiday and sick leave. But despite what one might expect, a quarter of businesses in the U.S. still aren’t offering paid sick days.
While most consider this ‘benefit’ a human right, many companies are nurturing their bank accounts by revoking paid sick days and holidays from their employees’ contracts.
So if you’d rather not have vomiting and feverish employees staggering around your office, consider offering paid sick days (and holidays) as an employee perk.
Fun fact: 46% of Americans choose not to use their paid holidays.
5. Unlimited holiday time
As concern for employee mental health and well-being grows, companies are offering increasingly agile working schedules, and one of the more recent concepts to rise from the flames of this movement is unlimited holiday time.
This employee benefit has gained traction, particularly in the U.S., where statutory paid time off is less generous than in countries like the U.K. Nonetheless, unlimited holiday time is an attractive offering for employees regardless of geopolitical policies.
Unlimited holiday time gives teams the freedom to offload stress on their own terms, enabling them to remain energetic and engaged at work. Also, by ditching traditional hourly tracking and shifting to a more quality-orientated system, teams can better organise their work schedule to fit in with their personal lives.
Fun fact: Online job board Indeed reported that since 2017, the number of job posts on its site mentioning unlimited holidays has increased by 148%.
6. Fridays off / half days
The conversation about a 4-day work week continues to resonate around the globe with many arguments arising both for and against the movement. In theory, companies can achieve equal, if not higher levels of productivity by working for four days instead of five while employees receive the same amount of pay.
Some claim that employees become happier and more productive, while others argue that a 4-day work week harms engagement.
The jury is still out, it seems.
Nevertheless, companies are testing the theory by offering Fridays off or half days as an employee benefit. While some offer this perk throughout the year, others have opted for a more cautious approach by limiting the benefit to fixed periods throughout the year—during the summer, mainly.
Fun fact: 78% of employees with 4-day weeks are happier and less stressed.
7. Extended parental leave
In the U.S., only 20% of employees have access to paid parental leave. This presents them with an impossible ultimatum: to quit their jobs to spend with their newborn, or remain with their employer and miss out on those precious early months of parenthood.
Fortunately, companies can relieve their employees of this impossible decision by granting extended paid parental leave as an employee perk. This allows your employees to fully enjoy priceless moments with their babies without the fear of financial ruin.
Fun fact: The typical paternity leave in the United States is approximately one week.
Insurance-related employee benefits and perks
There’s insurance for your cat, insurance in case you die, insurance in case you’re sick, insurance in case you drop your phone—there’s insurance for everything. And it all costs money.
By helping your employees out with their insurance costs, you offer them an attractive financial perk and additional peace of mind.
8. Health insurance
Employee health insurance packages are a common benefit offered by employees to entice and retain employees.
As you would with any additional cost incurred by your business, take time to analyse the various options available to you in your geographical area. Check things like tax advantages for your business and your employees and what the insurance company covers.
Offering a health insurance plan requires substantial commitment, so make sure you have the necessary resources available before you offer it as a perk.
Fun fact: Heart and cancer ailments comprise approximately ¼ of your employees’ total health risk.
9. Spousal insurance
Extending your employees’ health insurance benefits to their spouses is a simple way to demonstrate consideration for their home lives.
This is a particularly useful perk for spouses who have lost insurance eligibility through unforeseen life circumstances or job loss.
Fun fact: In America, 71% of couples share the same insurance plan.
10. Life insurance
A life insurance plan for a healthy 40-year-old in the U.S costs on average $16.31 and $15.22 per month for men and women respectively.
By providing an attractive life insurance plan for your employees, you give your employees’ families peace of mind in the case of a lost loved one.
There are numerous variables to consider when choosing a life insurance plan for your workforce such as who to cover, how much to cover and what type of benefits to include. The good news is employers are often eligible for discounts when insuring large groups.
Fun fact: Non-smokers can pay up to four times less for their life insurance than their smoking counterparts.
11. Pet Insurance
Did you know that 25% of people don’t have any emergency savings? With the cost of living rising and living wages often falling short, unexpected expenses such as pet medical bills could put your employee in serious financial turmoil.
By offering pet insurance as an employee benefit, you support them in their choice to own a pet and encourage those without one to adopt one. This is good for your employees because owning a pet relieves anxiety and reduces stress.
Fun fact: Nearly 70% of households in the United States own a pet.
12. Disability Insurance
Disability insurance gives your employees financial security should they fall subject to long or short-term illness.
By offering either long or short-term disability insurance, your staff are protected in the event of a work-related or non-work-related injury or sickness.
Fun fact: More than 1 in 4 insured 20-year-olds will become disabled before retiring.
13. Healthcare benefits for transgender employees
Inclusivity should be a key cornerstone of all company cultures. That’s why your transgender employees shouldn’t be discriminated against when it comes to medical costs.
Some health insurance plans stipulate that services related to sex change are not covered. When choosing your health insurance provider, choose one that doesn’t exclude your transgender employees.
Fun fact: The term “two-spirit” is used in Turtle Island as an umbrella identifier for trans, non-binary and non-conforming persons.
Finance-related employee benefits and perks
14. Pension plan matching
Pension plan matching, otherwise known as defined benefit plans or defined contribution plans, are retirement plans funded by employers with payouts based on salary, age and time at the company.
This offering provides your employees with more certainty of a comfortable retirement and encourages them to stay at your company for longer. The contributions are typically funded entirely by the employer, although, some plans may require employee supplementation too.
Fun fact: 77% of workers say they’ll likely continue to work for pay once they become eligible for social security.
15. Tuition fee repayment support
Your team has likely driven themselves into debt in pursuit of a position at your company. It seems only fair, then, that employers contribute something towards repaying the cost of university tuition.
By offering tuition fee repayment support to your employees as a benefit, you’re acknowledging the investment they’ve made to procure the necessary skills to carry out their work.
Fun fact: The current outstanding amount of unpaid tuition fees in the United Kingdom is £135.6 billion.
16. Stock, stock options or equity
Offering discounted stock options is a great way to offer employees a financial stake in your company. They’re an enticing financial benefit which can help to lure in new talent and they incentivise existing employees to work hard.
By offering partial equity in your business, you inspire your employees to invest in the growth of your company because they stand to make a profit if success is achieved. This is a popular way for small businesses, in particular, to make up for lower salaries.
Fun fact: 55% of U.S. Adults have shares in the stock market.
17. Rewards and performance bonuses
Offering financial reimbursement for good work or completed projects is a straightforward way to reward your employees for their contributions.
By offering monetary rewards and performance bonuses, you publicly condone and reinforce desirable behaviours. This has a significant domino effect that sparks increased productivity in your workforce.
When arranging financial reimbursement, make sure to set clear stipulations and always follow through with your promises. Failing to deliver can have negative consequences for employee morale.
Fun fact: 33% of employers in the U.S. offer year-end bonuses.
18. Home office reimbursement
The work-from-home movement has seen 16% of businesses worldwide turn to remote work. This is saving employers a pretty penny on office overheads, but what is it costing employees?
Well, according to a recent study, employees are spending $572 on average to furnish their home offices—and that doesn’t include tech-related costs like phones, laptops and energy bills.
Therefore, to offset the costs incurred by employees, companies have started offering home office budgets to cover the costs of working from home. This is a small, yet highly appreciated perk that will help to entice and retain quality talent.
Fun fact: On average, remote workers have seen a $40 - $50 monthly increase in their energy bills.
19. Company vehicles
If your workforce has a regular need for a personal vehicle, you might consider offering a company car as part of your employee benefits package.
Doing so relieves your employees of the stress of owning and maintaining a personal vehicle for work and often allows them to use the company car for personal errands, too. Before you opt to offer a company car to your employees, conduct a thorough investigation into your local tax obligations.
Fun fact: In the U.K., Volkswagen is currently the most popular car brand for companies.
20. Corporate discounts and promo codes
By partnering with third-party businesses, you can offer unique advantages to your employees like discounted gym memberships, meal kit subscriptions and travel services.
These partnerships are a win-win for all parties—the service providers get more clients, you attract better talent, and your employees enjoy the perks!
Fun fact: 80% of workers would choose a job with more benefits over a 30% raise without benefits.
21. Hazard pay
Hazard pay is an additional amount paid on top of an employee's base salary for carrying out dangerous or physically demanding work. Jobs like highrise window cleaning, oil rigging and wood felling are typically compensated for their hazardous nature.
Employers are not obliged to offer hazard pay to their employees, but it's certainly a good way to entice talent and show gratitude for their work.
The fact: Out of 100,000 logging workers, almost 92 will be killed at work.
22. Sign-on bonuses
A sign-on bonus (otherwise known as a starting bonus or hiring bonus) is typically offered to in-demand talent in return for accepting the contract and completing a minimum term.
Sign-on bonuses have become a simple and effective way of enticing top-level talent and encouraging them to remain with your company—until they’ve received their bonus, that is.
The bonus amount offered can vary from anywhere between $150 to $100,000 depending on the position, with most featuring some kind of tenure agreement.
Fun fact: Companies currently offering sign-on bonuses (2022) include Amazon, United Airlines and Marriott International.
23. Childcare support
With both parents often working to make ends meet, childcare is an essential cost that your employees are forced to bear. This financial burden could cause your employees to leave your workforce or seek new employment with a higher salary.
Fortunately, you can alleviate this burden by offering childcare support as an employee benefit. Helping with childcare costs is a simple action that will be met with immense gratitude by your employees.
Fun fact: The average annual cost of childcare in the U.S. is $10,000 per child.
24. Child summer camp support
When the summer holidays finally come around, parents are left with the challenge of how to entertain their children. Sending them off to a summer camp is a common solution, but it comes at a price.
Businesses can help with this unavoidable expense by including child summer camp support as part of their employee benefits package. Here, the employer offers a fixed or discretionary budget to help employees keep their kids entertained during the summer.
Fun fact: Overnight summer camps can cost parents up to $2,000 per week.
25. Newborn subsidies
Having a baby is a costly affair. But the beauty of having a child shouldn’t be overshadowed by the rising costs of diapers and baby wipes.
That’s why including a simple diaper subscription in your employee benefits plan is a great way to help your employees with the mounting costs of newborn necessities.
Fun fact: Families in the U.S. spent close to $1,000 on nappies in the first year after birth.
Wellness-related employee benefits and perks
Businesses are under heavy scrutiny for the working conditions of their workforce. It’s become a hot topic that influences the company that prospective employees might choose to work at.
By offering wellness-related employee benefits, you improve job satisfaction and improve the reputation of your business.
26. Office events
Employee relations have become an essential factor for employees considering whether or not to stay at their job.
By offering regular social events to your employees as a benefit, your team will become happier at work as they’re given more time to socialise and bond outside of a work setting.
Office events can happen online or in-person and can include anything from after-work workshops to late-night happy hours.
Fun fact: 46% of UK employees say an after-work drink is their preferred way to bond with their colleagues.
27. Healthy snacks
Providing healthy snacks for your employees is an easy-to-implement employee perk with a bunch of benefits.
Firstly, by offering highly nutritious food, your team will be consuming the vitamins and minerals they need to perform to their fullest potential. Plus, offering the snacks yourself gives you control over what food enters the office—no more smelly egg sandwiches or tuna salads!
What’s more, linking up with healthy snack providers has never been easier. Start a quick Google search and you’ll find various businesses like SnackNation, Healthy Suprise and Urthbox offering snack delivery services for corporate teams.
Fun fact: Between 2019 and 2027, the healthy snack industry is forecasted to reach an average annual growth rate of 4.2%.
28. Company library
Including a company library in your office space allows employees to consume valuable knowledge or simply unwind outside of office hours or during their break. For small businesses, the employee breakroom is an ideal place to install a quiet library area.
By offering an on-site library as an employee benefit, you can hone the type of material your workforce engages with while encouraging self-learning and development.
Fun fact: Google’s Dublin office has an employee breakroom that resembles a real-life pub.
29. Professional development opportunities
Professional development (PD) opportunities allow employees to work on gaps in their professional competencies. These opportunities are usually offered in the form of fixed or discretionary budgets, enabling the beneficiary to choose the skills they would like to improve.
For employers, this perk encourages self-learning and development that leads to better quality work and increased efficiency. It’s also correlated to improved job satisfaction and tenure.
Fun fact: 94% of employees would stay at a job longer if the company invested in their career.
30. Cell phone support
Employee work-life balance has been in the spotlight alongside the mental health awareness movement. And one thing that impacts work-life balance is work-related communication outside of office hours.
When employees have group chats and collaboration tools popping up on their personal phones, the line between personal and work time becomes blurred. Over time, the build-up of work-related communication can cause stress and job dissatisfaction.
By offering an additional business cell phone as an employee benefit, your team can leave the concerns of the office behind them and enjoy their free time to the fullest.
Fun fact: 48% of Americans consider themselves to be workaholics.
31. Free meals
The food your team consumes during work has a direct impact on employee engagement and productivity.
By offering free meals to your team you can ensure your employees are getting the vital nutrition they need while saving them money on food costs. It’s a win-win for you and your team.
Fun fact: The U.S. workforce spends between $1,250 and $6,250 per year on lunch alone.
32. Mental health support
As mental health awareness continues to surge, providing services to protect your employees has never been more critical.
By nurturing your team’s mental health, you’re actively reducing employee stress levels. This reduces the chances of your staff taking time off or leaving their job due to burnout. That’s good news for them, and even better news for your bottom line.
Fun fact: Companies in Germany calculate that every absent employee (as a result of illness or burnout) costs €254.40 per day.
33. Mental health days
Mental health days are an opportunity for your employees to unwind from work and spend time doing things they enjoy.
Employee benefits like these are easy to implement and provide tangible benefits. While overworked employees produce low-quality results, rested employees arrive at the office feeling refreshed, positive and engaged.
Fun fact: Employees with unresolved depression suffer a 35% reduction in productivity.
34. Fitness centre subscriptions
Hours spent behind the desk have terrible repercussions for our health. What’s more, employees with busy home lives are unlikely to find time for exercise and are reluctant to incur the additional monthly costs of a gym membership.
By including fitness centre subscriptions in your benefits package, you make it easy for your employees to work out. This improves company culture in various ways: employees might spend more time together before and after work, and they’ll be happier thanks to the endorphins released during exercise.
Fun fact: People who exercise experience 40% fewer “poor mental health days” per month.
35. Pet-friendly policies
The presence of animals is shown to have a positive impact on mental health. One study showed that university students who spent time with dogs saw significant reductions in their anxiety levels and saw improvements in their mood.
Before you allow animals to roam freely in your office, you should first establish clear guidelines and ensure nobody in your workforce is allergic or frightened of certain animals. Pet-friendly policies are supposed to relieve stress—not cause anaphylactic shocks.
Fun fact: 94% of people are supportive of having pets in the workplace.
36. Animal therapy sessions
If your team isn’t in favour of letting pets into the office, you can arrange animal therapy sessions instead. For the animal lovers in your team, this will be a substantial employee perk!
An animal therapy session is easy to organise and your staff will perform better after spending a few hours cuddling some puppies.
Fun fact: There are companies—such as PawsInWork—that specialise in puppy therapy sessions.
37. Personal development
While it’s important to ensure your team is well equipped to deal with their work-related tasks, it’s equally vital that their personal challenges are tended to.
Offering personal development opportunities in the form of workshops, seminars and courses arm your team with the skills they need to tackle life's challenges. Think emotional intelligence, communication skills, confidence and conflict management.
Fun fact: 30% of employees considered career development opportunities for learning and personal growth in general very important.
38. Monthly office massages
Even with the finest ergonomic furniture, hours spent hunched over a computer have disastrous effects on our posture and physical well-being. Plus, extreme body tension can lead to various ailments such as chronic back pain and headaches.
To relieve your employees of the consequences of their desk jobs, include monthly office massages as a workplace perk. By having your team attended to by a certified massage therapist, employees could experience reduced stress levels, increased productivity, improved morale and fewer medical bills.
Fun fact: Just 15 minutes of massage to the neck, back, arms and hands can improve circulation, restoring energy levels and helping keep the body injury-free.
39. Discounted spa memberships
Discounted spa memberships are a win-win for employers and spa businesses. Reach out to your local spa and they’re likely to offer you a discounted rate for your team. This doesn’t cost you anything and substantially increases the spa’s client base—smiles all around!
But the perks don’t stop there.
Spas are a great way of reducing employee stress and promoting relaxation. Once your team has spent a few hours unwinding in the sauna, they’ll be refreshed and ready to get to work.
Fun fact: A 60-minute massage is the same as getting 7-8 hours of good sleep.
40. Work-from-home opportunities
Since the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to close their offices, the work-from-home movement has gained rapid momentum. While some have now returned to the office, many have opted for a hybrid strategy that allows employees to switch between remote and in-person work.
The reason for this?
Well, working from home saves employees and businesses money. Employees no longer need to pay recurring commuting costs and businesses can significantly reduce their overheads by downsizing.
Furthermore, remote work improves mental health and has positive effects on work-life balance. As a result, companies are starting to include work-from-home flexibility as an employee perk.
Fun fact: In a survey conducted by Owl Labs, 23% of those surveyed would take a 10% pay cut to work from home permanently.
Organising an offsite retreat is easier than you thought…
Earlier in the article, we said company retreats are a popular employee benefit with great ROI.
That’s true—we’ve seen firsthand what a company retreat can do for your team.
The sad part is that many businesses don’t offer this benefit because it’s a lot of work to organise. But that mountain of work need not deter you.
Because we’re here to help.
At Surf Office, we make planning and running offsite retreats easy.
We take care of all kinds of planning elements such as finding accommodation, liaising with vendors, arranging travel, you name it—we even send a member of our team with you to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.
If you want to include an offsite retreat as part of your benefits package, drop us a message and we’ll run you through the next steps.