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Most popular work perks revealed

Overtime pay has pipped a four-day week, flexible working and remote work as the most popular workplace benefit.

According to a survey of the top 10 employee benefits by HR service company Remote, a majority (79%) of UK employees would like overtime, making it the most popular work perk.

At 77% flexible working hours and company-funded retirement plans rounded out the top three.

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Early finishes on Friday (65%), a four-day working week (64%) and miscarriage leave (62%) ranked at fourth, fifth and seventh on the list.

They were followed by paid self-care days (61%), online training and coaching (61%), private health insurance (58%) and a remote work from anywhere policy (58%).

Claire Neal, head of workplace mental health at Mental Health UK, said businesses should aim to reach a point where workers don't need to take a specific day for self-care.

She told HR magazine: “Ultimately, employers should aim to make mental health such a priority in their organisation that self-care, or recovery days, aren’t necessary. The risk is that self-care days give employees a brief and fleeting respite, but not enough is done to prioritise wellbeing and prevent stress and burnout during normal working hours.

"It might also normalise the idea that you must reach a state of burnout before you ‘deserve’ some time to focus on your own wellbeing. This is an unhealthy mindset to encourage.

"Organisations should focus on how they can support these employees to ensure they are able to get the necessary rest and recuperation they need, exploring any adjustments they can make to their schedule to support their wellbeing.”

Steve Herbert, wellbeing and benefits director at Partners&, said the pandemic has helped these wellbeing-based perks become more popular.

He told HR magazine: "Flexible working, early finishes on a Friday, four-day working weeks, paid self-care days, and remote working from anywhere have all been mooted in recent years and have become far more mainstream since the enforced lived experiences of the pandemic lockdowns.

"All these concepts essentially require the employer to trust its workforce to deliver on their KPIs, while also given them the autonomy to better balance their home life, family commitments, and importantly self-care too."

The research also showed a generational split regarding which benefits are prioritised.

Globally, attending in person events was important for 57% of gen Z workers, while retirement plans were a priority for 80% of baby boomers.

Herbert added that employers would be wise to pay attention to which benefits are most popular among their workers.

"UK employers should take note of this trend. Despite looming recession, UK unemployment levels are at historic lows, and this means meeting candidate and employee expectations takes on a new importance.

"Employers need to attract and retain the very best talent while also maximising the productivity of each and every one. Employers will only be able to achieve this if their wider employment offering matches the expectations of workers."

Remote's UK results were based on the opinions of 2,000 employees and global results are based on the opinions of 10,000 people across the US, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.