Making us all more productive at work can be hard for employers-but perks and benefits often ease the battle.
While some corporations provide employees with free snacks, corporate discounts, and ample vacation days, others afford more surprising amenities and perks, like nap pods, on-site bars and treadmill desks, to keep their employees motivated.
But do such bizarre, lavish incentives improve workflow and productivity? Opinions vary.
Prof. Jeffrey Pfeffer, of Stanford University, studies workplaces extensively and says such added benefits are useful only where there's a positive corporate culture that values employees and rewards their work beyond just attractive perks. "What matters is whether companies let employees make decisions, offer them reasonable job security, and treat them with respect. Not whether or not they give them free food," he says. "Those are nice things, and they may represent the corporate attitude, but if they're all you do, they're worthless."
For example, your company might provide an on-site masseuse to alleviate stress, but if you don't have enough control over your work to be able to manage that stress in the first place, the masseuse won't do so much for your productivity and happiness. "Perks and benefits are an indicator of whether or not the organization is building an employee-based culture, but they're not a perfect indicator," Pfeffer says. Still, there is no doubt these perks help employee performance to some degree. "Many of these perks have two functions: removing unnecessary distractions; and keeping people at work."