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Office workers want flex — and free food

Office workers want free food, cited by one in five employees surveyed. But that doesn't necessarily have to mean three catered meals a day. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Makidotvn)

WASHINGTON — Pay may be first, but perks are important, and flexible working hours are now the most sought-after perk employers can provide, according to a survey by D.C.-based B2B research firm Clutch.

Clutch said more than 40 percent of the full-time U.S. employers it surveyed say flex time is the most important perk they could receive, and more than half say it is the perk that most matters to their job satisfaction.

“There are a few reasons. The top one is that there are a lot of working parents out there, and flex hours allow those parents to drop their kids off at school, go to a doctor’s appointment, do whatever and still come to the office and get their job done,” Elizabeth Ballou at Clutch told WTOP.

“It is also a way for employees to fit their schedule to their life outside of work, which is why it’s so important, because employees get to set their own schedule they feel like they have more autonomy,” she said.

Office workers also want free food, cited by one in five employees surveyed. But that doesn’t necessarily have to mean three catered meals a day, for which companies like Google and Facebook are famous.

“What you can do if you’re a smaller company is maybe bring in muffins every Monday morning,” Ballou said. “It doesn’t have to be something that’s expensive. It’s just a very small way for employees to have their most basic needs taken care of when they’re at work.”

Keep it healthy food, Ballou notes, but the boss should ask around and see what kind of snacks their employees would really like to see spread out in the kitchen or conference room.

Even a candy jar sitting out lends to company culture, Clutch said.

Also ranking in the top three for most-preferred employer perks — based on Clutch’s survey of about 500 full-time employees at companies across the U.S. — is professional development.

“If you’re a computer programmer, you might learn a new programming language. If you’re in marketing, you might go to a marketing conference, and these are important because these allow people to get ahead in their trades in industry and obviously that benefits not only the employees but the employer as well,” Ballou said.

Also making Clutch’s top five preferred perks survey are working from home and fitness and health perks.


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