We’re a nation driven by rewards and perks. We’re all suckers for exclusivity and reaping the benefits of customer loyalty programs. Having survived 2009, here are a few 2010 perks to gun for to get the most for your hard work, keep good mental and physical health, but not tax the resources of your small business budget.
1. Travel big. Hotels typically give out free breakfast and Internet access to large groups of business and leisure group who reserve dozens of rooms. With business travel down, ask hotels if they’ll give those much needed and overpriced perks for free to you and your smaller group.
2. Eat the free healthier snacks. Most workplaces try to seduce with carb and fat-rich foods like bagels on Fridays and pizza and heavy pasta delivery on work-late nights. But occasionally there are offices that aren’t spiking insulin levels with cheap comfort foods. Remember, healthier eating is always pricier, so grab the organic green bars while they’re fresh!
3. Take a nap. Seriously! If you have your very own office, use it wisely. Most of us hit a wall after lunch roughly around 2pm. Close the door, the blinds and turn of the light and lay on your office couch (or beneath your desk) for a deep 20 minute rest to the body and your mental state. You’ll wake up revived and accomplish much more in the day without anyone else knowing you got a little shut-eye.
4. Keep up with those gift cards. They really are cash when you use them. Don’t forget about the $50 gift card from Staples or all those holiday American Express cards you got! Gift cards give employees the opportunity to actually pick out something they want vs. adding yet another stainless steel business card holder to the mix. Be mindful of reward programs in the places you frequent most. Starbucks just launched a free rewards program called My Starbucks Rewards. Card-carrying customers can earn free cups of java and free wi-fi, which at roughly $10 a day for both can make the $3,650 you’re spending a year a little less damaging to the wallet.
5. If your employer permits it, explore the option of working from home occasionally. High gas prices, sitting in traffic, and paying for parking are about as fun as attending a mandatory 5:45pm staff meeting. Telecommuting saves the employee money on transportation, dry-cleaning, and lunch and saves employers on energy. (Just remember to shut down your computer ALL the way.)
6. Take a vacation or staycation – even if it’s just a long weekend at home. Across the board the best perk an employer can give to his or her employees is paid time-off. The more time away from the office, the better and more refreshed you’ll feel once back in there and ready to make some money and kick some 2010 butt.