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Perks on the Job: Do They Improve Employee Engagement?

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When it comes to fancy office amenities, who can resist? Just the thought of playing a video game like Golden Tee in the office while ordering lunch on the company’s dime sounds enticing. But are these really the perks we hope for in a job?

It’s no secret: our country is filled with workaholics. Our standards for office tinkering time, in many cases, is in overdrive. But, that is not to say that as Americans we don’t enjoy personal time as well. Yes. We love dining out. We love getting massages. We enjoy shopping, watching sports, playing games and sweating out excess steam at the gym. All in all, when it comes to taking “me” time, we do so accordingly.The problem is, when given fun perks in our jobs, we tend to forget that taking personal time in the office is actually keeping us in the office. And despite the clear logic behind separating out our work lives from our private ones, it’s hard to resist the temptations that creep up amidst our cubicles.

Is it really our inability to resist temptation that keeps us from actively defining the line between work and leisure? Maybe. But what if it goes deeper than that? Perhaps we are overlooking this boundary because our minds are rooted in an image of what we consider the perfect job. After all, when a motivational system provides immediate rewards and is paired with a steady income, it’s not unreasonable to equate the combination as ideal. Our efforts are recognized and appreciated, therefore we gain a sense of satisfaction.

So, does it really matter then whether or not you are content in your position? In AccelaWork’s opinion, it does.

Games in the Office

© Flickr user sukiweb

For some, office perks are just that…perks. You may be reading this thinking to yourself, “Boy, they are really making a big deal over something so harmless.” Yet, it’s important to recognize that drawing a distinct line between fancy amenities and fruitful benefits can help capture the long term satisfaction desired in a career. In this regard, consider for a moment that certain factors for achieving positive work-life balance can help in determining what the solid perks in a job should be:

Assess the corporate culture
While it’s convenient to have a state-of-the-art fitness center on-site, someone who will pick up and deliver your dry cleaning every week, or round-the-clock access to a fully stocked game room, perks like these can make it easy for employees to spend a lot more time at the office than they might otherwise . . . If you believe you’ll thrive in this type of corporate culture, great — though don’t be surprised if sometimes you’ll need to bring a toothbrush and change of clothes to the office.

Look beyond bright and shiny things

Your heart may skip a beat when a potential employer says you’ll never have to pay for breakfast, lunch or dinner in the employee cafeteria — or that you can bring your dog to work. But as the hiring manager runs through the list of all the nifty perks the company provides, are you also hearing mention of things such as “professional development opportunities,” “tuition reimbursement” or “performance-based bonuses”?

Evaluate the rewards of the job itself
It’s easy to be persuaded by the promise of generous perks and pay when you’re evaluating a job offer. But it’s critical to also consider whether you’d thrive in the company’s workplace culture and whether the position would be rewarding to you professionally. Would the role challenge or inspire you? Would it provide a platform for growth and allow you to learn new skills or deepen your expertise? Trust your gut instincts if you sense the job will leave you wanting, and remember that no incentive can truly compensate for an unfulfilling employment situation.

AccelaWork understands just how easy the dilemma with employee productivity and rewards can be for stakeholders. But, we contend that motivating employees should be about respecting their work and their personal lives rather than distracting them from both. It should also be about encouraging personal time. If we can’t ever escape work, it’s time to wonder just how quickly it will be until we burn out. Don’t get us wrong, a fun office environment can be a great thing. We deserve to be happy and productive in the office. Just be cautious of how much you base career decisions upon enticing office perks.

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Ashley Lee

Ashley Lee

Ashley has been working with the AccelaWork team since 2008. She is a communications expert with a background in corporate work, and a graduate of the University of Dayton with a degree in Public Relations. She lives in the greater Indianapolis area with her husband and four children. Ashley enjoys jewelry, fashion, and coffee.
Ashley Lee

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