Did you know that 75 percent of employees prefer increased benefits rather than a raise? If you’re someone who finds more value and motivation in things like employee development, tuition reimbursement and even wellness programs, these figures from Glassdoor’s Q3 2015 Employment Confidence Survey probably don’t come as a surprise. However, if you are someone principally driven by the promise of a salary increase, perhaps you haven’t fully explored how incentives can increase your motivation and engagement on the job.
Consider how you can use the following perks and benefits to drive production and improve your career:
According to the Glassdoor survey, health insurance was the No. 1 desired benefit at a company, as 40 percent of respondents indicated that it was more important than a pay raise. And contrary to popular belief, that figure doesn’t drop all that much among the millennial generation. A survey from Fit Small Business found that 34 percent of millennials view healthcare as the top priority when it comes to benefits. Less than 10 percent of the young workforce ranked office perks such as fitness classes and free food as the most important.
As Dawn Leijon, Executive in Residence at the Kogod School of Business at American University, told the source, benefits like health insurance can help drive commitment to a company. Research from the university confirmed that millennials crave the stability that traditional benefits can deliver, likely because of the shaky economy they grew up in. That sense of security helps release unnecessary burdens in this part of your life, which can free up more energy to focus on important deadlines and initiatives at work.
However, if your company doesn’t offer healthcare coverage, you’re not alone. According to Fortune contributor Laura Lorenzetti, just 9 percent of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For provide health coverage for their employees. That’s down from 34 percent in 2011, representing a shift in attitudes toward benefits in the workplace and what employees expect.
This is actually good news if you’re hoping to customize benefits, Goodman Institute for Public Policy Research founder and economist John Goodman explained. Essentially, healthcare benefits are another form of compensation so if your company has decided to do away with them, there may be some freedom to adjust your wages or other benefits to best meet your lifestyle and needs. Goodman emphasized that tailoring benefits – and coordinating appropriately – allows companies to enhance productivity among employees. Consider talking with a manager or HR to inquire about how you can make the most of your benefits.
How to make healthcare benefits improve your motivation:
1. Look beyond traditional healthcare coverage
If your company offers healthcare benefits, they likely go beyond routine coverage for annual dental and medical costs. Perhaps the chosen insurance provider offers reimbursements for weight loss and gym memberships, or discounts on fitness equipment. Leverage benefits to take care of your emotional and mental well-being too. If there’s something you’re struggling with, consider what areas your coverage can help you in. Get the most out of your benefits by researching how your coverage can improve your physical or mental well-being.
After all, healthy employees are more engaged, according to a Gallup poll that reported disengaged employees have 2.17 unhealthy days per month, compared to the 1.25 unhealthy days experienced by engaged coworkers. When you feel healthy, you’ll be more motivated at work.
2. Take advantage of preventative care
It may seem like a no-brainer, but not everyone actually utilizes company health insurance. Start by gaining a comprehensive understanding of all that your plan offers, as you may be surprised by what you find. For example, if you’re eligible and covered for preventative care, why not take advantage of it?
Doing all you can to stay healthy makes for a successful personal and professional life.
Flexible hours and remote work
In the last decade, the perk of remote work has skyrocketed to the top of the benefits list for many companies, especially tech and startup organizations. If you’ve ever worked for a company that allowed several work-from-home days per work or negotiable hours, this is likely one perk you won’t want to give up. As one such company saw, remote work produced strong outcomes. Cloud solutions company ConnectSolutions conducted a Remote Collaborative Worker Survey that found 77 percent of employers noted higher productivity when working from home.
One third of respondents indicated that they were able to accomplish the same work in less time, while about one quarter reported increased work productivity in less time.
When executed properly, remote work can help you thrive in the workplace and even encourage motivation. By switching up your daily routine and altering hours to fit your needs, you may even be willing to work additional hours to accomplish even more, as 23 percent of ConnectSolutions employees reported.
How to use flexible hours to drive engagement:
1. Monitor work life balance
Did you know that overworking can actually lead to a decline in productivity? According to a 2014 study by John Pencavel of Stanford University and IZA, the output and productivity of employees drops off when logging more than 50 hours of work per week. Monitoring your work life balance can help you get the most out of your days at the office.
2. Take responsibility
If you’re working remotely, you may very well do a lot of self-management. In this scenario, it’s important to take responsibility for your discipline and engagement. As Entrepreneur contributor Alexander Maasik advised, create a formula to measure your work and impact on the company, your co-workers and yourself. When you can clearly see your output and its overall impact, you’ll be driven to work harder and remain engaged – even when working remotely.
Culture and lifestyle perks
When you feel as though you are a valued member of a team and a part of something bigger than yourself, you’re that much more likely to stay with a company. In many cases, even if the salary isn’t quite at the level you’d like it to be, it may just be that those free bagels on Fridays, the friendly company-wide competitions held each month and the annual summer party are what keep you coming back. Ultimately, it’s the sense of community that drives you to show up and do your best each day.
As Inc. explained, perks like catered lunches during busy season and wellness classes can go a long way. In addition to feeling like your efforts and hard work are being recognized and appreciated by management, you can also take into account the money you’re saving on lunch and fitness packages. When a company makes the effort to improve company culture and offer these kind of perks, you feel valued.
How to leverage culture perks to boost productivity:
1. Learn something new
If your company perks include free training sessions, writing workshops or even after-hours cooking classes, sign up. A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology found that employees who actively engage in creative outlets and regularly challenge themselves to learn new something perform better at work. Even simple things such as taking up doodling can have an impact on engagement. See what your company offers and jump on board. And if your company doesn’t offer the kinds of workshops or training opportunities you’re looking for, don’t be afraid to inquire about discounted seminars or workshops that could help you further your career.
2. Change up your routine
If you start to notice your motivation fading at work, consider changing up your regular routine. Career Strategist Adrienne Tom explained the importance of employees taking the time to step away from their desk and take part in a new activity, project or outing each week, according to Monster. You’ll return refreshed with the excitement of trying something new, which can translate to increased engagement.
Whereas salary will always be there, these additional benefits can help drive you to focus your energy, accomplish more in the same amount of time and feel appreciated, all of which continue to motivate you as your progress in your career.