7 Non-Traditional Employee Benefits to Look for When Job Searching
When searching for a new job, it is common to look for a position that offers a competitive pay rate, an opportunity for inter-company growth, a comprehensive health-care package, and a generous time-off policy. Additional factors such as a short commute time, specific perks for working parents, and stock options could also be enticing.
Recently, however, more and more companies seem to be modernizing and innovating their employee benefits program beyond the norm to attract and retain new workers.
While these more unusual offerings could at first seem like trivial bonuses rather than significant aid, they often result in positive impacts on an employee’s life.
According to a 2019 survey conducted by The Harris Poll, 80 percent of respondents claimed they would take a job that had benefits over a job that made 30% more in salary but did not offer benefits. When determining if accepting a job with unusual benefits is worthwhile to you, it is important to keep your individual and/or family needs, lifestyle, and budget in mind.
If you’re on the hunt for a new role, keep an eye out for the following left-of-center benefits that could help you improve your physical and emotional health, better manage your time, grow your wealth, or save money.
While most office spaces probably boast amenities like free coffee and tea in the break room, it seems as though more and more companies are providing full meals and unlimited snacks at no cost to their employees. For example, companies like Spotify and Squarespace offer catered lunches and snacks five days a week.
In some cases, dinner may also be offered free-of-charge, for those that need to stay late to finish their work. Making breakfast, lunch, and mid-afternoon snack options available on-site to workers could not only help save time and increase efficiency in a work day, but also could help employees save money throughout the week.
It’s no secret that exercising regularly is linked to increased productivity and mental sharpness, there’s a growing body of evidence that suggests that exercise can have an impact on mental performance. In addition to health benefits, consistent exercise can lead to improved mood, decrease stress, and help keep your mental faculties sharp—things that could potentially lead to better performance at work.
Some companies have begun to prioritize employee health when designing their employee benefits program. Microsoft, for example, currently offers their employees $800 per year to spend specifically on a gym membership or fitness classes.
Microsoft’s benefits website also points out that you can apply this $800 credit to other health related things, including “meditation programs, massage, weight-loss program fees, caregiver support, financial advising, and debt management.”
Certain companies—such as the health and wellness service provider TotalWellness—even allow employees to exercise “on the clock.” TotalWellness encourages its workers to take 30 minutes out of each work day to visit the free on-site gym and take advantage of the group fitness classes that are offered twice a week.
On-Site Wellness Treatments
Sometimes, work can be stressful both emotionally and physically. You could come up against some demanding deadlines or have a tricky personality to navigate on your team. If you work a desk job, sitting in front of a computer could possibly lead to body pain, headaches, and eye strain.
Companies such as MINDBODY have recognized the stressors that their employees face every day and thus have begun to offer in-house massage and acupuncture services.
Google even offers complimentary haircuts for those staff members needing a quick, convenient cosmetic update that they might otherwise be too stressed or busy to schedule outside of work.
Working parents could potentially face many challenges in the workforce, chief among them being the need for childcare to make up for long work hours. Some companies, such as Nike, Home Depot, and Johnson & Johnson, offer on-site daycare at subsidized or extremely discounted rates.
In addition to possibly being easier on the wallet than outside daycare services, child care that takes place at work could be more convenient for employees. What’s more, it could maybe help to strengthen familial bonds that might otherwise be strained at a different company without on-site daycare, as a working parent could have the opportunity to visit with their child(ren) during the work day.
Unlimited Vacation Time
Some workplaces, including Netflix , Dropbox, GE, and Stitchfix have unlimited vacation policies. Having paid vacation time available at a limitless rate could allow employees to take responsibility for their own work-life balance.
Individuals are theoretically able to not only plan longer, relaxing vacations, but also given the possibility of taking shorter breaks to reinvigorate their work, all without the stress of not getting paid.
One of the more non-traditional employee benefits that companies could offer is the opportunity to take a sabbatical. You may be familiar with a sabbatical within academic pursuits, but some corporations and nonprofits are beginning to offer sabbaticals as employee benefits too.
Companies such as the management consulting company Accenture and the assurance and tax company PricewaterhouseCoopers boast sabbatical programs as part of their larger commitments to workplace flexibility; these sabbaticals are offered at unpaid and partially-paid rates, respectively.
Tuition and Student Loan Reimbursement
These days, it seems as though more and more people are entering the workforce with large sums of educational debt. Just last year, the national total of student loan debt reached an all-time high of $1.6 trillion .
As a result, some companies have started to offer student loan repayment assistance to lighten the burden of educational debt for those working for them. For those pursuing continued education, many workplaces offer tuition assistance to help make a dent in tuition and fees.
Dealing with Student Loan Debt
If you can’t find a job in your field that offers debt repayment help as part of its non-traditional employee benefits, there are several ways you could tackle the (sometimes daunting) task of paying off your student loans.
One possibility could be to utilize SoFi’s student loan refinancing. Refinancing could allow borrowers to combine multiple loan payments into one easy-to-remember payment.
For those that qualify, refinancing could potentially result in a lower interest rate, which could mean paying less in interest over the life of the loan. What’s more, SoFi offers loans with fixed and variable rates, and it is cost-free to get started. You can easily find out if you prequalify in just a couple minutes.
Refinancing isn’t for everyone, especially if you have federal loans that offer flexible repayment and forgiveness programs. It is important to remember that if you choose to refinance, you will be giving up these programs that are only offered with federal loans. Be sure to consider the benefits your current loans might offer before deciding to refinance your student debt with SoFi.
Disclosure: Some of the companies mentioned are participants of SoFi at Work.
SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are looking to refinance federal student loans, please be aware that the White House has announced up to $20,000 of student loan forgiveness for Pell Grant recipients and $10,000 for qualifying borrowers whose student loans are federally held. Additionally, the federal student loan payment pause and interest holiday has been extended beyond December 31, 2022. Please carefully consider these changes before refinancing federally held loans with SoFi, since the amount or portion of your federal student debt that you refinance will no longer qualify for the federal loan payment suspension, interest waiver, or any other current or future benefits applicable to federal loans. If you qualify for federal student loan forgiveness and still wish to refinance, leave unrefinanced the amount you expect to be forgiven to receive your federal benefit.
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Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.
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