Some companies provide amazing perks to their employees including free housekeeping services at Evernote and a bowling alley at Google. While these perks sound great, if you hate your job, it's likely that you couldn’t care less about these over-the-top benefits. Sure, a clean house is nice, but employees who hate their job would probably rather spend an extra two hours at home, even if that time were spent cleaning, than head into the office.
According to Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace, "Gallup has found that engagement has a greater effect on workers' wellbeing than any of the benefits it studied. At the end of the day, an intrinsic connection to one's work and one's company is what truly drives performance, inspires discretionary effort, and improves wellbeing. If these basic needs are not fulfilled, then even the most extravagant perks will be little more than window dressing."
It’s no surprise that an engaged management team and a positive work environment are more beneficial than housecleaning and bowling alleys. But, engaged employees who also benefit from swanky workplace perks have got it made.
Gallup also found that access to flexible work time, which is considered a more mainstream workplace perk, is related to increased employee engagement. Employees who have workplace flexibility reported a 44 percent higher wellbeing than employees with little or no flexible work time.
Flexible work time isn’t limited to telecommuting, which is good news for Yahoo. CEO Marissa Mayer banned telecommuting in an attempt to build better employee engagement and boost creativity at the company. Mayer’s decision makes a cameo in the Gallup study.
“A popular workplace trend — working remotely — has garnered headlines with Yahoo's CEO requiring its remote workers to return to the office. The company made the point that employees working from home have fewer chances to collaborate with coworkers. While this may be true, Gallup found that companies that offer the opportunity to work remotely might have some advantages when it comes to employee engagement.”
Interesting – you don’t have to actually have employees in the office to build engagement. In fact, remote workers are slightly more engaged than onsite workers, 32 percent compared to 28 percent. The Gallup data does reveal that there is a point of diminishing return for engagement, though. The peak engagement is found in employees who spend less than 20 percent of their time working remotely. Employees who work more than half of their time remotely have similar disengagement levels to employees that don’t work remotely.
Workplace perks and flexible work time aren’t the only items covered in Gallup’s report. Other topics in the 2013 State of the American Workplace include a look at unemployment in the nation from 2010 through 2012, the effect that employee engagement has on business growth and the relationship between employee engagement and customer growth.
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