With a still-uncertain economic outlook stretching ahead of us, many employers are hesitant to jump full-speed back into raises and bonuses. Budgets remain tight and employees are expected to do a lot more work for no more money.
However, there are some work benefits you can ask for that don’t involve a fiscal investment from your employer. Each of these four free benefits will give you extra time and/or money, two high-demand commodities that all of us could use more of!
Here are four free work benefits to ask for in lieu of an annual raise or bonus:
A Flexible Work Schedule
Flexible schedules can take many forms, so consider your options before approaching your boss. You may want to come to work and leave the office earlier (say, 7am to 3pm) to avoid rush hour or spend more time with your kids after school. Or you might like a loosey-goosey flexible schedule that allows you to take flextime whenever it’s necessary. For example, if you work 50 hours one week, you might be able to take 5 hours of your choosing off the following week, or bank that time for a few days off down the road. Decide what you really want before making the big ask.
More Vacation Time
This is especially helpful if your company only provides the minimum six holidays every year, or if your vacation time has stayed stagnant for several years. If you receive two weeks now, consider asking for four weeks, an increasingly common amount of vacation time for employees with several years of experience at their company.
The Option to Telecommute
By working from home, even if just one day each week, you’ll save 20% on fuel costs and car maintenance, find a few extra hours of time that would otherwise be spent sitting in your car, and be a more productive worker, according to studies by Stanford University and others. Convince your employer with these telecommuting stats: telecommuters work 11% more hours than their office-bound coworkers, are 4% more productive overall, and they’re healthier – they exercise more, report feeling in better health, and smoke less. This all translates into lowered healthcare costs for your employer.
Time to Work on Individual Projects
Especially for those of us who are entrepreneurially-minded or have a freelance business on the side, having time to work on these projects during a normal work day is valuable. Google generously offers all employees 20% of their overall work hours to focus on their own special projects. The support and freedom to follow your own ideas in addition to providing excellent work for your company is sure to make you a more satisfied, more engaged employee.
What are some of the “free” work benefits you’ve asked employers for? Are there any others you’d add to this list?
by Brie Weiler Reynolds