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Perks of Work: Making the Office Cozier is the Dream

Sept. 6, 2019, 9:37 AM

Time for Perks of Work, our weekly recap of intriguing data, surveys, and trends about the 21st century workplace.

Working on climbing the corporate ladder? Do you religiously Slack with work pals about dream benefits packages? Check this space every Friday to keep up with the latest water-cooler talk.

This Old Office

Tired: Pumping iron in the company gym.

Wired: Cranking up the heat from your cubby.

Were modern employees in charge, the workplace would feel a lot different.

HR hub Future Workplace quizzed 1,600 workers about how they’d run things and discovered that comfort is king. Fitness rooms and healthy snacks are appreciated.

But folks really crave natural light.

Respondents ranked fresh/allergen-free air (58%), clean water (41%), and unobstructed views (40%) above standard wellness offerings. And tweaking the environment didn’t stop there.

The most coveted office perk: Being able to adjust the temperature.

“Office personalization is the highest rated workplace wellness factor (including lighting, acoustics and air quality),” analysts wrote, noting that controlling the work environment beats being in charge of “booking conference rooms or starting conference calls.”

Wasted Years

What should one expect on an 8-year anniversary?

Real world: Something bronze (or lace).

Disinterested bosses: Bupkis.

A majority of respondents (53%) with nearly a decade of service (or more) told performance management platform Workhuman that their last work anniversary “was not even acknowledged.” Fifty three percent of those who received some sort of attention still had issues, reporting that “their anniversary experience made them feel nothing at all.”

Respondents ranked how they’d like to be feted in the future, lobbying for (in descending order of importance):

  • Shared memories and congratulations from co-workers and managers
  • Private congratulations from direct manager
  • Public congratulations from direct manager
  • Being guest of honor at a corporate-sponsored event

Appreciation nation has spoken.

Live Long and Prosper

Companies know workers need help stretching their retirement dollars.

They’re just not sure what to do about it.

Global advisory firm Willis Towers Watson (WTW) asked over 160 companies about their involvement with lifetime income products, financial tools designed to dole out retirement savings over time rather than dropping a lump sum in one’s lap.

A growing number of respondents—30% today versus 23% in 2016—said they offered some sort of solution, ranging from financial education/planning tools (70%) to ancillary investments such as insurance-backed annuities (15%).

Companies’ current go-to option: Offering systemic withdrawals (88%) from existing accounts.

“While it’s encouraging more employers are embracing various lifetime income solutions, it’s disappointing relatively few have adopted what the industry sees as more effective income-generating solutions, such as annuities and other insurance-backed products,” WTW investment director Dana Hildebrandt said in a press release.

House lawmakers passed the annuities-friendly SECURE Act earlier this year; it remains stuck in the procedurally challenged Senate.

Hungry for more? Send any tips, polls, or story pitches to wrojas@bloomberglaw.com.

To contact the reporter on this story: Warren Rojas in Washington at wrojas@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bloomberglaw.com; Randy Kubetin at rkubetin@bloomberglaw.com