10 of the best summer perks – Workplace Focus - June 2015

It’s summer, which means it’s time to give your employee incentives a bit of a seasonal spruce-up. Here are ten of the best benefits to keep your employees happy as the heat rises…

1. Summer hours

As soon as the clocks go forward, drinks giant PepsiCo switches to ‘summer hours’ mode – as long as employees build up an extra hour’s work per-day Monday-Thursday (such as working through lunch, or working a bit earlier or later), they can use the four hours gained to take Friday afternoons off. In the summer months, watchmaker Fossil Group UK lets employees clock-off at midday every other Friday.

2. Family fun days

Many companies are now augmenting their annual Christmas party with a summer bash too. Some have even extended the offer to family: comparethemarket.com owner BGL Group hosts a free summer ball for employees, their partners and their children, as well as ad-hoc BBQs, complete with bouncy castles and village fete-style games.

3. Summer cycling

Cycling to work has become hugely popular in recent years, but – surprise, surprise – this is one benefit which gets a lot lower uptake in the chilly, dark winter months. So hats off to bank BNP Paribas, which opens up a flexible benefits window for Cycle 2 Work specifically in the springtime, when people feel more in the mood to pedal to work.

4. Summer casual dress

Office temperatures are a reliable bone of contention, but surprisingly although there is a lower legal guideline for working temperatures (16°C), there isn’t an upper limit. So every year, as the mercury starts to soar, the TUC campaigns for employers to relax their dress codes and allow employees to stay cool naturally. ‘Extreme heat can be as unpleasant to work in as extreme cold,’ said the TUC’s Frances O’Grady last year. ‘Now is the time for employers to relax the dress code rules temporarily and allow their staff to dress down for summer.’

5. Festivals

Summer wouldn’t be summer without an outdoor gig. Last year Radio Times publisher Immediate Media hosted a mini festival in the grounds of London’s Chiswick House, with bands, free drinks and stalls offering classes in everything from choral signing to cartooning. For employees at restaurant chain Giraffe a mini festival is being planned for this summer.

6. Exclusive holidays

John Lewis/Waitrose owns a number of holiday homes around the UK, and employees (known as partners) can pick up the keys at subsidised rates year-round (though they are particularly popular over the summer holidays). Meanwhile, address management company Postcode Anywhere has its very own narrow boat that employees can use for free at weekends.

7. Summer team challenges

Summer means sport, and every year, supply chain consulting company Crimson & Co comes up with a range of sports-related ‘Crimson Challenges’ to give employees something to look forward to when the weather improves. They include 10k runs, triathlons, orienteering and cycle tours.

 

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