From subsidised household bills to greater recognition for work: Perkbox reveals the perks employees want in 2021

New data has found the perks employees desire most for 2021. The survey of 1,532 employees, commissioned by Perkbox, the employee experience platform, revealed that currently, just 4% of employees believe that they have the right perks for them.

The working world has changed drastically in 2020 and the study has shown that what employees want from their employer has altered to match this new environment. Employee discounts are now the most desired employee benefit for the upcoming year, as 52% state that this perk will both make them happier (52%) and improve wellbeing (50%) the most in 2021.

Receiving ‘greater recognition for work’ closely followed in perks most likely to bring happiness, accompanied by ‘unlimited/greater amount of holiday’ (41%), ‘at-home entertainment’ (40%) including free film rentals, Netflix subscriptions, etc and the ‘ability to always work from home’ (38%).

When it comes to perks most likely to boost wellbeing, the results varied slightly. ‘Employee discounts’ still came out on top, with half of employees showing a growing awareness of how financial security ties into overall wellbeing. ‘More flexible working hours’ (40%), ‘ability to work remotely’ (37%) and ‘time off for mental health’ (35%) also topped the list of most wanted wellbeing perks, suggesting that financial and emotional wellbeing are two key areas for employees in 2021.

Naturally, not all employees can work remotely or flexibly – so when these perks are off the table, non-remote employees have different wishes. The most desired perks from non-remote employees include ‘free breakfast/lunch’ (39%), ‘subsided commuting costs’ (25%) while a further quarter wish for ‘free COVID-19 tests/vaccinations’ if and when they become available.

For remote workers, the most wanted perks are directly related to improving the home working setup. A whopping half of remote employees want their employer to pay money towards their household bills next year, followed by 46% who would like a budget for their at-home working set up. Further, more than a quarter also want to be provided with ergonomic equipment (26%), upgraded work technology (19%) and to have regular snack boxes / care packages sent by their employer (18%). Showing that remote workers still want their employers to contribute to their working environments.

Overall, with 2021 looking like it could shape up to be a year which includes much more remote working than previous years – employees want to see some benefit from any savings their employer may make. A huge 74% of employees say they should be given a pay rise if their business saves on office costs in 2021.

Money towards household bills is also the next most popular option, wanted by 54% of employees, while 39% of employees would like those savings reinvested in perks which they can use at home. A quarter of employees would like money towards their rent/mortgage.

On the contrary, after an unstable year showing just how uncertain our futures can be, it appears that some workers would just like their employer to be as stable as possible in 2021. Nearly a quarter (24%) would like their employer to retain the savings they could make from reducing office costs to ensure the financial security of their business.

Of course, with desirable perks, there are always less desirable ones to match. The perks that topped the list of least desirable perks for 2021 include ‘budget to get a pet’, with 48% stating that they wouldn’t be interested in receiving this perk. Perks of least interest also include being allowed to bring a pet to work’ (44%), ‘free alcohol at work’ (42%) and ‘at-work entertainment’ (33%).

Top ten most popular perks to make employees’ happier in their jobs in 2021:

  • Employee discounts (supermarkets, eating out, clothing, etc) – 52%
  • Greater recognition for work – 42%
  • Unlimited/greater amount of holiday leave – 41%
  • At-home entertainment (free film rentals, Netflix subscriptions, etc) – 40%
  • Allowed to always work from home – 38%
  • Free breakfast/lunch – 33%
  • Free COVID–19 tests/vaccinations (if/when available)
  • Present on birthdays – 26%
  • Subsidised gym membership – 24%
  • Learning and development budget/tools – 21%

Top ten perks employees are least interested in receiving in 2021:

  • Budget to get a pet – 48%
  • Allowed to bring pets to work – 44%
  • Free alcohol at work – 42%
  • At-work entertainment (pool table, ping pong, computer games, etc) – 33%
  • Free unhealthy snacks (crisps, sweets, chocolates, etc) – 32%
  • CSR initiatives/volunteering days – 22%
  • Subsided gym membership – 22%
  • Free healthy snacks (fruit, nuts, smoothies, etc) – 22%
  • Regular social events (in person and/or online) – 18%
  • At-home entertainment (free film rentals, Netflix subscriptions, etc) – 17%