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23 Low-Cost Employee Benefits Ideas For Your Workforce

10 min read   |  
Last Updated on

The options for low-cost employee benefits can be as vast as your imagination. To kickstart your ideas, here are 23 creative ideas that won’t disappoint.

Key Takeaways

  1. Introduction
  2. 23 Low-Cost Employee Benefits Ideas For Your Workforce
  3. Wrap up

The concept of employee benefits evolved significantly with the rise of millennials, who prioritized work-life balance, diversity, and workplace culture. This shift became crucial for companies aiming to attract and retain top talent, marking a transformation in corporate culture that continues into the 21st century.

However, you probably think the beloved employee benefits are costly, and we understand your concern.

That's why this list highlights the most practical and low-cost employee benefits that are easy to implement.

23 Types Of Employee Benefits That Costs Next To Nothing

Here, we are focusing on 23 types of employee benefits (ideal for small businesses or those with a limited budget) that your employees would love.

1. Flexible Work Timings

This is probably one of the most desirable benefits that today’s employers can offer.

Not many employers trust their employees when not under the ever-watchful eyes of the manager. But you will likely be surprised.

78% of employees said flexible work arrangements made them more productive.

Flexible work timings result in employees being more productive, having greater job satisfaction, and being happier in general.

The rigid 9-5 schedules push many restrictions for employees who don't work the best in the morning, have a rough night, or simply like to work from their bed.

Flexible work timings give your employees the freedom to adjust their work schedules as per their requirements.

Also, it is easy to implement and hardly costs a penny. Start with flexible work schedules and go forward from there.

2. Yoga Classes

Workplace stress is one of the biggest factors contributing to anxiety and depression among employees.

26% of workers said they were “often or very often burned out or stressed by their work.

Yoga has long been proven to decrease stress levels, help resolve mood, and aid in better physical health.

Thus, it should seem natural to introduce yoga into your regular office spaces.

Bringing in a yoga instructor once or twice a week has double the benefits. It is relatively inexpensive and also will help in increasing the productivity of employees with poor health.

3. Fun Office Activities

One of the things that attract future top candidates is having a great company culture.

Organizing fun office activities is a great way to facilitate bonding among your employees. It reduces stress and gives everyone a chance to socialize and get to know each other.

And here's the plus side- they're really fun.

Here are some examples of office activities that you can organize:

  • Two Truths, One Lie: Gather everyone around a circle. Ask each of them to make three statements about themselves. Out of the three, one statement must be a lie. The other participants have to guess which one.
  • Mix And Mingle: Random employees from different departments are selected to have lunch with.
  • Set up a game room: Set up some group games in the break room. Get a ping-pong table or a chess set. You can even have a community jigsaw puzzle that people can work on during their lunch break.

4. General Mental Health Support

Small businesses often have tight-knit teams where each employee's well-being directly affects the overall atmosphere and productivity.

Untreated mental health issues, such as stress or anxiety, can impair concentration, decision-making, and problem-solving abilities. This can lead to increased sick days and decreased productivity.

Thus, investing in mental health support programs is a proactive strategy. Yes, there will be minimal initial expense, but the long-term benefits of a healthier, more productive workforce outweigh these costs.

Mental health support can take different forms:

  1. Offering confidential counseling to employees by professional counselors or therapists.

  2. Build up and execute Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) that are available 24/7.

  3. Providing educational workshops and training sessions on mental health topics. Like,

  • helping employees build resilience,
  • manage stress, and
  • recognize signs of mental health issues in themselves and their colleagues.
  1. Offering access to reputable online mental health resources, apps, or self-help materials.

  2. Encouraging open conversations about mental health and fostering a stigma-free workplace culture.

5. Pet-Friendly Workspace

It's official. Millennials are obsessed with pets.

Open any social media, and you are most likely to be bombarded with videos of puppies and kittens. In this scenario, making the workplace pet-friendly is a desirable perk that you can offer.

Studies prove that pets have calming effects, reduce blood pressure, lower stress, and make employees more cordial and productive.

Pets bring about a kind of work-life balance that is very difficult to ignore.
For most owners, their pets provide a kind of stress reduction and comfort, almost similar to a loved one.

Also, for pet owners, a lot of money can be saved, which would be spent on pet daycare or a walker.

Moreover, pets in a workplace build an environment of fun and also help build camaraderie within the workplace.

6. Transportation Subsidies

Unlike initial perceptions, transportation assistance programs are highly cost-effective for employers. Subsidizing public transportation passes or parking fees generally costs less than implementing salary increases or other conventional benefits.

Additionally, this investment can be offset by potential reductions in payroll taxes and associated expenses.

7. Bereavement Leave

The Grief Recovery Institute reports that 85% of employees described their decision-making as “very poor” to “fair” in the weeks or months following a grief incident that affected them.

The loss of a loved one is monumental for any person. Giving time off to your employees to grieve and get their emotional state in a stable place is an essential type of employee benefit.

This reinstates the belief that you actually care about the mental health of your employees and not simply preach about it. It also aids your company in swerving off disasters that might be brought along by a distracted, grieving employee.

8. Community Garden

A workplace community garden aligns with sustainability goals, potentially reducing costs by encouraging homegrown produce and eco-friendly practices. Most importantly, such activities foster a sense of camaraderie and connection among team members in a relaxed, non-work setting.

9. Nap Area

Companies that highly prioritize employee wellness know the benefits of napping.

Sleeping on the job is mainly considered to be a work-life taboo. But not for corporate giants such as Google, Nike, or Zappos. These companies widely encourage their employees to get some winks if they feel tired or drowsy during their jobs.

A lack of sleep is estimated to costs companies around $63 billion each year in lost productivity.

Compared to the above, a short 20-minute nap can help to boost alertness, increase performance and, reduce fatigue. A short time is just enough to rejuvenate without losing essential work hours.

Set aside an area with comfortable couches, low lighting, and comfy pillows where employees can retire during their work hour to de-stress.

10. Hobby Allowance

An easy, cost-effective approach to nurturing employee development and fostering creativity involves offering a hobby allowance. This modest monthly or annual stipend empowers individuals to allocate funds towards their personal interests, be it books or art supplies.

This kind of budget-friendly perks enhances employee happiness and motivation and contributes to a sense of well-being and financial autonomy within the workplace.

11. Relaxed Dress Code

This is a crucial benefit, especially for millennial employees. Millennials tend to be more assertive and view their dressing style as an essential part of their personality. They dread going to work in formals, ties, and covering up piercings and tattoos.

Granted that some business roles such as sales have to adhere to strict dress mode. But for the most number of in-office roles, the formals can be discarded for a more casual look.

Case in point, Google engineers, are seen around the campus wearing flip-flops and shorts, looking more like college students than actual professionals.

12. Child Care Zones

It's no secret that workplace conditions of the past used to be tough on women, even more so for mothers.

The scenario is far better today. With most companies offering maternity leaves and equal pay, women today have a much fairer ground. But, the responsibilities of a mother never stop.

It is prevalent to see women leaving their sick child, or dropping them off at daycare, or taking leaves just because they couldn't find a babysitter.

A childcare room in your office will be a boon to employees who need to watch over their kids during unavoidable circumstances.

Place some toys, model trains, and dolls. Stock the rooms with diapers, common ailments, and fun wallpapers. Place some working desks so that employees can work simultaneously while watching over their kids.

13. Social Impact Days

Social Impact Days offer employees a unique opportunity to make a significant difference in their communities, elevating their work experience beyond routine tasks.

Engaging in activities such as volunteering or supporting local charities instills a profound sense of purpose. These experiences not only enable individuals to give back but also help them develop essential life skills like empathy and collaboration, enriching their personal and professional lives.

Ultimately, this fosters a work environment where employees feel valued and proud to be part of an organization dedicated to positively impacting the world.

14. Free Food

Everybody loves food. Especially when it's free.

No matter the position, age, or salary, employees simply can't resist free food.

The cost of having fruits, coffee, energy bars, and cereal around is nothing compared to the money you save for having happy and well-fed employees.

Similarly, you can have Food Fridays, where you bring in pizzas where the whole team can sit down and grab a bite.

Free snacks around the office can really change the way your employees feel about you. Lowly paid interns who survive on ramen are mostly strongly inclined towards this particular benefit.

15. Workplace Gamification

Most humans are designed to have a competitive streak in them. It's higher in some people, while others are only mildly motivated.

However, no matter the circumstances, workplace contests bring out the winner in every employee.

Gamification remains a terrific way to make work more enjoyable for employees. It goes far beyond badges and leaderboards. It leads to a healthy competitive spirit, develops learning behaviors, and leads to people feeling seen and valued.

16. Wellness Programs For Health Benefits

Poor employee health is costing employers more than a half-trillion dollars and nearly 1.4 billion days of missed work each year.

Investing in a corporate wellness plan is a less expensive alternative to being part of the above statistic. A wellness program will not only boost healthy living but also improve engagement and overall office morale.

Social-based wellness programs with gamification provide even greater benefits with employees adopting a healthier lifestyle in general.

Suppose you think wellness programs are out of your budget but still want to foster a long-term wellbeing culture.

In that case, you can invest in other health care benefits like having an onsite gym. Or you can give away subsidized gym membership offers to your employees.

17. Ergonomic assessments

Ergonomic assessments involve evaluating workstations to address ergonomic issues.

Its goal is to enhance comfort and reduce the risk of physical strain in the workplace. They significantly boost efficiency and job satisfaction while relatively inexpensive compared to potential productivity losses from stress and discomfort.

Moreover, they underscore your commitment to a healthy and supportive work environment.

18. Paid Vacation

The good thing about this particular type of employee benefit is that it can be as conservative as giving one week a year. Or it can be as liberal as giving unlimited paid vacation (I am looking at you, Apple).

Employees today expect their company to give paid vacation off as part of their benefits package.

No matter the amount of time you decide to allocate, your employees would appreciate the time off, which helps foster employee loyalty towards the organization.

19. Commuter Benefits

The majority of office-goers live far from the company that they work in. This results in at least an hour or two of commute, which makes employees dread coming to the office. Subsequently, the money spent on daily travel piles up to a significant amount.

Make it easier for your employees and offer some sort of compensation for their daily commute.

It might be yearly subway cards or even might be arranging for a carpool service. Also, you can arrange for a nightly cab service for employees who stay late to finish the job.

20. Paid Time Off (PTO)

Employees highly value PTO as it allows them to take much-needed breaks without stressing about their finances. Thus, it helps in boosting their general satisfaction and increasing retention rates.

21. Insurance Plans And Fringe Benefits

No matter the type of insurance- be it life insurance, health insurance, or retirement benefits- it tops the list of great employee benefits.

Tell employees that you don't provide these benefits and watch the top candidates walk right out of a job.

On top of that, providing fringe benefits like tuition reimbursement, retirement plans, or bonuses are tied to higher employee morale and employee retention rates.

22. A Recognition Program

Doing a job becomes really tough when you don't get appreciated for it. This is precisely why having a recognition program becomes vital for a company.

When an employee gets rewarded and recognized for doing a great job, it establishes a sense of belonging. Moreover, the appreciation alone drives their future performance and boosts their morale.

Appreciated employees are also more likely to take responsibilities, work on more creative projects, and also more motivated. Recognized employees equal to better employees.

Even something as small as a social media shout-out or getting special perks like "Employee Of The Month" gift cards is sure to make your people feel more valued.

23. Remote Work Option

Remote work options are the most cost-effective because they decrease the utilization of office spaces. Employees love this benefit because it provides them with flexibility, eliminates transportation costs, and allows them to work in their preferred environment.

Wrapping It Up

These 23 types of employee benefits are sure to boost your organization’s productivity, morale and even show a positive increase in overall business performance.

Do you know any more exciting employee benefits that we can use? If yes, then do drop us an email. We'd love to include your suggestions on this list.

This article is written by Susmita Sarma, a digital marketer at Vantage Circle. She was involved with media relations before shifting her interest to research and creative writing. Apart from being a classical music buff, she keeps a keen interest in anchoring and cooking. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com

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