There is more to compensation than just salary and benefits. These days, a lot of business offer other perks to try to attract top candidates. Some are more valuable than others.
There are some job perks that go a really long way. For example, who wouldn’t appreciate flexible scheduling options or unlimited vacation time? However, not all offerings are quite so objectively great. In fact, some really aren’t worth much at all. It’s important to distinguish the good perks from the not-really-worth-it ones when making decisions about your career. Here are a few perks that tend to fall a little short:
1. Stuff you can’t use
A perk isn’t valuable unless it means something to you. A company might offer things like dry-cleaning pick-up and drop-off, or ping-pong tables in the break room. But if you don’t want to take advantage of those perks, they aren’t really doing anything for you. Maybe you’re a vegetarian who can’t enjoy that free turkey at Thanksgiving. Similarly, if you don’t drink, a company provided happy hour won’t mean much to you. The point here is to place value only those perks that mean something to you. The rest really doesn’t matter, and you shouldn’t weigh them as factors in your compensation.
2. Stuff you don’t know about
Just as a perk isn’t really a perk if you can’t use it, you can’t enjoy a perk that you don’t know about. If your company offers things like subsidized education, pet insurance plans or gym discounts, but you aren’t aware of it, what’s the benefit? Make sure you know about all of the perks that are available through your company. The perks your aware of are the only ones that matter.
3. Free food
It might seem like a perpetually stocked refrigerator in the break room or a free cafeteria would be a wonderful perk. But beware; this is exactly the kind of benefit that can actually end up being a drawback if you’re not careful. The trouble is that it can pull you into working more hours than you might otherwise. It can also tempt you to make bad food choices that you’d avoid if you didn’t have the perk. Rather than going to the gym and then preparing a healthy meal before or after work, you can decide to just grab a bite there, skip the gym and get more work done. In the end, this might not be the kind of perk you were really hoping it would be.
4. Happy hour
At first, the idea of a company wide happy hour might seem like a great plan. What could go wrong? Especially if it’s planned for, say, 4:30 on Friday afternoons.
“For the first few weeks things were okay, but after about a month some of the employees started playing beer pong,” Lauren, a career advisor and hiring manager told JP Griffin Group. “I’d never played and it seemed harmless enough, but things got out of hand. Beer was spilled everywhere, there was a lot of shouting, more than one argument happened, and the office lunch table was broken amidst the chaos. I may also have kissed another manager.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”“For the first few weeks things were okay, but after about a month, some of the employees started playing beer pong. Things got out of hand. Beer was spilled everywhere, there was a lot of shouting… I may also have kissed another manager.'” quote=”“For the first few weeks things were okay, but after about a month, some of the employees started playing beer pong. Things got out of hand. Beer was spilled everywhere, there was a lot of shouting… I may also have kissed another manager.'”]
That was all bad enough, but we also neglected to clean up after ourselves, so when cleaning service complained the next day, the jig was up. Friday happy hour had to move to post-work hours and never in the office. My advice to all managers thinking about Friday office beverages as an employee perk is to avoid it. It might seem nice at first, but it will certainly slip out of control before long.”
At first, having the opportunity to travel a lot for work can seem like a wonderful perk. But this enthusiasm sometimes wanes after a time once the reality of what it’s really like to travel for business starts to sink it. Sure, you get to visit exciting places and meet new people. But there are downsides too. For one, it’s hard to have a full life back at home when you’re away a lot Also, traveling can be tedious and tiring. Keep in mind that being on the move for business is really different than doing it for pleasure if you’re offered a job that involves a lot of travel.
Tell Us What You Think
Can you think of any other perks that aren’t really worth it? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.