- Nearly half of surveyed employees identified fitness perks and quiet spaces as the most desired workplace perks.
- Over 30% of survey respondents found communal games the least desired workplace perk.
- Framery CEO Samu Hällfors shares insights on these findings and why it might be time for businesses to turn to more productive in-office benefits.
As employees continue returning to the office, many are turning away from the “mandatory fun” work culture of the past and demanding more serious benefits. For businesses, this means rethinking how to create different work perks to keep employees happy and productive.
Many workers have always found a relaxing, quiet work environment is crucial to boosting morale and productivity, but following the pandemic even more people got used to being able to work that way. By allowing staff to work remotely or from home during the COVID-19 outbreak, employers helped their workforce stay focused and inspired throughout the crisis.
But as they return to in-person work, employees seem to be missing their quiet workspaces and therapeutic environments.
According to a Feelback Group study, nearly half of workers identified fitness perks, including office gyms and yoga studios, and access to a designated quiet space as one of the most desired workplace perks.
The survey found that, upon returning to in-person work, 41% of employees reported that open floor plans make them concerned about their ability to focus, especially after the pandemic.
In fact, 35% of respondents said communal games, such as ping pong or gaming consoles, were the least desired perk compared to a fitness center and quiet area.
Returning employees are dreading the commute to work the most, according to the Feelback report, with dress codes and communal bathrooms following in the order of perceived miseries of returning to the office.
Framery commissioned the survey and is trading out underused office perks for quiet spaces to make it easier for their employees to focus on the task at hand.
Samu Hällfors, the CEO of Framery, told Allwork.Space that a new work environment will increase productivity and ensure that employees can focus more on their work rather than the environment around them:
Allwork.Space: What factors might be leading employees to search out these perks over others?
Samu Hällfors: Today people value practicality, convenience, and being efficient with time spent at work. Employees want perks that make their jobs easier, like access to designated quiet spaces to take video calls in private, for example, and access to fitness, such as yoga studios and gyms.
Allwork.Space: How has working from home during the pandemic affected employees’ needs?
Samu Hällfors: It made planning the workday in ways to integrate exercise and other home activities possible. It also meant quality work without the constant interruption of the open floor plan office. These are tangible benefits that make employees happier and sometimes even more productive — they don’t want to give that up as they return to the office.
Allwork.Space: What can businesses do to listen to the needs of their employees as they grow and change?
Samu Hällfors: Businesses need to listen to employees and really understand what matters to them. Run a survey, measure how a new perk has been received among your workforce, etc.
In the end, it’s not about forcing people to come back to the office but making the office a desired place to work from. For us at Framery, it’s been serving gourmet food, offering designated break rooms, and establishing functional workspaces.
Offering a mix of spaces is also key: spaces where employees can enjoy the company of their colleagues and build rapport, but also spaces where they can have privacy and room to focus.
It is also important to value real-life interactions (when they make sense): Office workers are still eager for in-person connection. Make sure that these interactions are not forced and are consistent with what employees want.
Allwork.Space: What is “mandatory fun” office culture and how can businesses transition away from it?
Samu Hällfors: You can’t force fun or happiness, it comes naturally when people are feeling good at work and can excel at what they do. In general, employers should aim to create the best working conditions that enable success. Our survey findings should put a final nail in the coffin of the ping pong tables, beer kegs, scooters, and other artifacts of “mandatory fun” office culture.