Small things make a big difference in the workplace

We’ve all heard it before – it’s the little things that count, and when we look back on our lives in years to come, it’s the small details that we’ll appreciate the most.

But what about today? As we zoom through our weekly routine, just how much of a difference do the little things really make?

We’ve surveyed employees and talked to employers across the UK to find out exactly what it is that makes their workplaces great. From seemingly simple perks, such as free coffee, to larger gestures, like a paid birthday day off, these are the small things that give us a big boost.

Who’s happy at work?

According to our survey, the happiest workers said the extras offered by their company were a big part of what encouraged them to apply for their role in the first place.

A further 59% of those who scored total contentment with their workplace say their work perks contribute significantly to their satisfaction. Time seems to be the most appreciated bonus – with 65% of the happiest workers enjoying perks involving time off.

As the results clearly show, the small things are huge contributing factors to the level of fulfilment employees feel about their workplace – so what makes us happy?

Money can buy you happiness

While that may not be the case for everyone, our survey shows that money does go a long way when it comes to job satisfaction.

The majority of people said that receiving financial work perks would make them happiest, and nearly two thirds would veto the extras in favour of a higher wage. Our results show that men are more motivated by money, with 67% willing to give up perks for a bigger pay-cheque, compared to only 57% of women.

When it comes to financial extras, a monetary bonus is the most desired perk. Only one in four workers receive an annual, quarterly or monthly bonus, and 45% said a bit of regular, extra income would make them happiest.

While the majority of 18-24 year olds would opt for a free or discounted gym pass, for those 34 and older, health insurance was the second most important financial perk, followed by a paid-for holiday.

To celebrate payday, each month, boutique florist Appleyard London treats their staff to an extended lunch hour and picks up the paycheque for a restaurant meal. They also make a point to get employees together for an all-expenses paid day out every six months, which they say has a positive impact:

“It certainly helps you to feel appreciated, which in turn makes you want to work hard. As a result of working harder, you see better results in your role and with that comes greater job satisfaction.”

Time is precious

With nearly a third of the happiest workers saying that perks relating to time were the most satisfying, there’s no question that a little bit of extra flexibility can make a big difference in the workplace.

Only 16% of those surveyed say they are allowed to work remotely, but 38% would like the option. When it comes to versatility, 28% say flexitime is their most desired perk for a normal working day, and the unhappiest workers cite it as the benefit they want the most.

Digital agency, Digital Impact, recognises the importance of this: “There are inflexible bits of your life but I don’t believe work should be one of them. As long as you complete your work on time, who really cares when or where you do it? If you want to head off early on a Friday to get to a gig or show, you should be able to do that.”

When it comes to the little things, nearly half of workers say that a bit of extra time with a paid day off on their birthday would make them happy. Estate and lettings agency, Paramount Properties, agrees, and offers this perk to employees noting it helps to “highlight the importance we place on staff happiness, and feedback suggests that it really is the small things that count.”

Sometimes, all it takes is a cup of tea

When it comes to your average working day, most people would be happy with a few complimentary biscuits – 38% of people say free food is their most desired everyday perk. One in four say they would be content with a free cup of tea or coffee.

Appleyard London is on board with the benefits of gratuitous grub, and, in addition to their monthly meals out, they supply fruit and hot drinks for their employees, noting that it helps to boost motivation.
While more women than men say they would happy with free food, three times the number of men than women say they would be happier if they had a games room at work.

With breakout rooms in their office, which have games consoles and TVs in them, Digital Impact believes the little things can make a big difference for both employee morale and performance.

“Creating a positive environment is about designing and implementing the structures you would want to see as an employee. It’s creating parts of your workplace and business that allow your staff to detach from work and take some time to destress.”

In addition to finding ways to relax at work, workers appreciate having perks to look forward to, especially when they’re struggling with a heavy workload. In the aim of encouraging employees to destress, Paramount Properties offers their employees complimentary, monthly reflexology sessions and massages throughout the year.

Whether it’s a financial bonus, a bit of extra time or a simple pick-me-up, there are plenty of ways to boost morale and motivation in the workplace. From a complimentary brew to a quick round of Mario Kart in the break room, the little things really do make a difference!