Ping pong tables, endless snacks in the kitchen, yoga balls instead of chairs. These are just a few images that spring to mind when one thinks of company culture in today’s corporate landscape. Competition to hire and retain talent has driven companies to get creative with their culture — a work perk employees, especially millennials, take seriously.
According to a 2019 survey done by Business News Daily, 77% of adults claimed they would consider a company’s culture before applying. Another 56% claimed culture to be more important to them than salary. Compare that to 73% of employees who consider it essential that a potential employer’s values align with theirs.
Millennials now exceed Gen X in the office and desirable company cultures are at an all-time high. That may have to do with the fact that many millennials faced a brutal recession, making dream jobs scarce. Companies were able to attract young employees with perks like happy hours and flexible schedules over traditional benefits such as 401k matching. With the ever-looming rise of student loan debts in the U.S., it may mean longer working years and later retirement (studies suggest the new age of retirement to be 75), but at least the office environment can be enjoyable.
What do you do if your office doesn’t have a ping pong table, or endless snacks, or even a yoga ball because your office is your home? According to 2019 statistics remote work in the U.S. has grown 44% over the last 5 years. Whether that’s freelance or full-time, many Americans now choose the flexibility of working outside the confines of a traditional office. Other than the option to wear onesies while they work, how do remote employees experience the perks of company culture?
Carving out a virtual space for employees to meet, discuss work, and bond through communication portals such as Slack and Google Hangouts is one way. They can serve as a sort of water-cooler space, as well as a practical collaboration tool. It’s also a good idea to research upcoming events related to remote employees’ jobs/skills and facilitate attendance.
Gamerooms, snacks, and happy hours may get old, but one perk that will always be desirable, regardless of generation, is work-life balance. The average workweek hits around 47 hours, compared to the traditional 40, a fact that is not lost on employees. That’s where the built-in flexibility of remote work becomes really attractive.
Whether employees sit in a corporate office or work remotely, it’s important to keep the culture relevant and updated. It’s wise for an employer to self-audit their culture to make sure the perks and benefits they provide still meet the standard of their workers, within reason. Taking notice of employee departures is one way. Surveys, meetings, and the classic one-on-one can go a long way in gauging happiness.
When all is said and done, the game room prepped, the flexible hours recorded — the main objective of any company, remote or not, is to make sure their employees know their work is valued. That’s the true testament to company culture.