Workplace Benefits Study

What are the most desired workplace benefits in 2020?

Domenica D'Ottavio
By Domenica D'Ottavio
May 1, 2020

Companies in Silicon Valley often boast the “coolest” work benefits and have Americans pining for table tennis, unlimited snacks, laundry services, and even nap rooms. 

It makes you wonder: Do these benefits really improve employee satisfaction, or are they designed to keep you at the office longer? 

When it comes to workplace benefits, what do employees really value? We wanted to dive deeper into the world of work perks, so we surveyed close to 1,000 Americans who work in an office full time. 

Here’s what Americans really want when it comes to employee benefits. 

Ranking Workplace Benefits

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Well, office games (like table tennis) didn’t make it high on the list. Instead, the most important work benefit to Americans was money. In fact, the top five most important work benefits related to compensation. People wanted a competitive wage, paid vacation, good health insurance, 401(k) matching, and paid overtime. 

Does Dress Code Matter?

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With more and more offices turning to a relaxed dress code, millennials can rejoice. Over 27% of modern offices had a casual dress code. But does what you wear affect your productivity? More people said wearing business casual or business professional attire positively affects their productivity (51.2%). Only a small percentage (13.6%) disagreed. 

Office Preferences: Just Slack Me, OK? 

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Despite “cool” work perks landing lower on the list, 27.5% of American office workers said they prioritize “fun” benefits, like treadmill desks and couches, when searching for a job. 

Open-floor plans seemed to hit offices everywhere in the last decade, but the switch from cubicles to wide-open spaces had roughly 50% of Americans wishing for some privacy. 

As for in-office communication, only 52% of people preferred to speak in person, while 47% wanted to chat online. 

Speaking of working from home, only 27% of people wanted to go to the office every day. A third of people would like to work from home full time, while almost 40% said they want to work both from home and the office. 

Clock In, Clock Out: When Do Americans Want to Work? 

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Most American office workers worked from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. But when asked what their ideal work hours were, more people wanted to come in earlier and leave earlier than a typical 9-to-5 workday. A quarter of people even preferred working from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

What Do Parents and Doggy Parents Care About? 

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Understandably, parents were more likely than nonparents to value work benefits that help them with parenting. However, it might not be the same for dog owners. With fewer Americans having kids and opting to raise “fur babies” instead, employers may want to consider offering pet benefits in the future. For now, though, dog parents didn’t rank “pawternity” leave very high. 

As for whether your office should offer “bring your dog to work” days, only around 8% of people disliked doggy days. 

People of All Ages Want the Same Benefits 

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As it turns out, there was very little difference between the generations as to which workplace benefits were the most important. Millennials, Gen Xers, and baby boomers shared the same top three most important benefits: a competitive wage, paid vacation, and good health insurance. 

Benefits didn’t differ much between men and women, but nonbinary respondents were more likely to rate an inclusive work culture, diverse work environment, and gender-neutral bathrooms higher than men or women. 

Diversity and Inclusion

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Across the board, nonwhite survey participants rated work benefits associated with diversity and inclusion of higher importance than those who identified as white.

Additionally, those who identified as LGBTQ were more likely to rate work benefits associated with inclusion as more important than survey participants who identified as straight. 

Conclusion

As it turns out, most people valued the same work benefits. They wanted to be compensated fairly, have paid vacation, 401(k) matching, good health insurance, and paid overtime. 

If you’re a company looking to attract and retain top talent in 2020, the lesson is to focus on compensation. Keep this in mind when advertising for job postings. If you ever have to choose between providing treadmill desks or increasing compensation (or more flexible work hours), the data says it all.

Methodology and Fair Use Statement

We surveyed 892 Americans using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Our participants were from age 20 to age 77. 52% of our participants were male and 47% were female. The data we are presenting relies on self report. No statistical testing was performed, so the claims listed above are based on means alone. As such, this content is purely exploratory and future research should approach this topic in a more rigorous way. 

From employers to employees, we know this information might be useful to some people. Particularly if you’re a business hoping to attract the right talent, honing in on the most desired benefits might bring you the best candidates. 

Please feel free to share our work for noncommercial purposes – we just ask that you link back to this page and credit Fractl accordingly.

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