Early Friday finishes are employees' most desired perk

The most popular employee benefit in the UK is to finish work early on a Friday, highlighting a potential quick win for HR.

In a new survey by employee benefits platform Sodexo Engage, 87.6% of employees said an early finish on Friday was their most desired perk, followed by paid holiday allowance (84.1%) and summer hours that allow staff to work extra hours during the start of the week to then finish earlier in the latter part of it (76.8%).

To get better perks from their employer, employees said they would be willing to contribute at least 3% of their annual salary.

For discounts on food, they would sacrifice up to 5%, towards a health plan 4.3% and childcare vouchers 3.3%.

Emma Yearwood, director of HR at Sodexo Engage, said: “There’s often a lot of pressure for employees to progress and hit targets, which is why offering perks like flexible working and Friday hours supports a healthy work-life balance.

“It also shows that as a business, you value your employees whilst encouraging them to perform their best for a great return.”

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Offering staff desired employee benefits may go further than offering higher pay when it comes to staff retention.  

Over half (59.8%) of survey respondents agreed that having great perks means they’re more likely to stay at a company for longer.

Willingness for lower pay in return for benefits varied by location. Over 40% of people from Brighton (43.4%), Newcastle (41.5%), and London (41.2%) agreed that they would consider a lower-paid job if it meant they had access to great perks at work.

Yearwood added: “Whether you provide practical benefits or alternative perks to improve a person’s lifestyle, what’s clear is with 59.8% of people saying that they’re more likely to stay at a company if they provided great perks, getting your employee benefits right is vital for staff retention.”

The survey was conducted between 30 November 2020 and 4 December 2020 and surveyed 2,000 people across the UK.