What do we really want as a work perk?

It's evident that some companies have prioritised workplace frills over the years, instead of focusing on the root causes of what makes a good culture. Undoubtedly, perks like pool tables and Friday ‘desk beers’ may be fun to some, but do they compensate for job satisfaction, personal growth and a balanced wellbeing?

The modern workplace is continually evolving, and perks that once seemed extravagant are now essential components of a compelling employee value proposition. So, what does the employee of today want?

The most sought-after work perks

In honour of Learning at Work Week (13-19th May), which champions education in the workplace, we spoke to 2000 members of the UK’s workforce to find out first-hand which ‘employee benefits’ mean the most to an employee. Firstly, 60% of those surveyed admitted the perks of the job are make or break when it comes to accepting a new job role.

Overall, a fair salary, with 25 day’s holiday, room for career progression, training and development and the offer of flexible working were considered top perks. A casual dress code was also deemed preferable to the UK workforce as 74% agreed that buying formal workwear was a hindrance to their current job role and a huge 86% preferred to dress in casual clothing.

The dream job description also offers later work hours, between 10am and 6pm, with the option of hybrid working, When it comes to workplace benefits, we also quizzed the nation to find out which perks they couldn’t live without, and which are more style over substance.

The top ten work perks are:

  1. The option for hybrid or flexible working
  2. Subsidised parking
  3. A good pension scheme
  4. Extra holidays for long service
  5. Training and development
  6. Friday early finish
  7. Extended maternity/ paternity leave
  8. Optional schemes (Cycle to work, Sharesave etc)
  9. Subsidised gym memberships
  10. Discounts for local activities/ restaurants etc

The ten perks that employees could do without are:

  1. Friday ‘desk beers’
  2. Team building days
  3. Pool tables
  4. Unlimited holidays
  5. Dogs in the office
  6. Free lunches
  7. ‘Duvet day’
  8. Office parties
  9. Employee of the month
  10. Hammocks/ sleeping pods


Learning is power

Samantha Rutter-Bryant, CEO of Open Study College, said: “While lots of employers think gimmicky benefits like pool tables or office dogs are going to boost staff morale and attract new talent, the research shows that this simply isn’t the case. Those more practical benefits that support individual growth and balance, including training and development, are providing a happier workforce.

The key is for organisations to pick the right employee perks for their people. There’s no one-size-fits-all model. It’s important that organisations get accurate insights from their staff, follow up with engagement surveys, and keep an eye on the participation rates to see what’s working.

Here at Open Study College, we believe lifelong learning is the key to empowerment. It enables change by acquiring new knowledge, challenging our existing beliefs and is the catalyst for career growth, career shifts; and achievement of goals whether it’s individual, team, or organisational. Learning propels us all towards success.


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Salma Sabir

What do we really want as a work perk?