Staff prefer a relaxed working environment over financial rewards during the festive season

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According to research from Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services, 43% of employees believe free and negligible cost rewards are most important at Christmas, more so than bonuses.

The survey asked what would be most important over the Christmas period. Some respondents said extra holiday (19%) and flexible working or early finishes (16%), while others said relaxed dress codes, end of year meetings and awards. These festive perks are often easy to implement and come at negligible cost to employees.

The research, conducted by tlf Panel, also showed that balancing work with family activities and Christmas shopping causes one in three employees (34%) stress around the holiday period. This increased pressure could be alleviated by employers taking a flexible approach to winter working and providing these suggested incentives. 

Additional research by Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services conducted by OnePoll found that 84% of employees admitted that a non-financial reward would motivate them to work harder, feel more valued by their employer, more likely to stay in their role rather than job hunt, and feel more recognised for the work they have done.

Iain Thomson, director of incentive & recognition at Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services, said: “This research proves to employers that the most valued benefits are those which will immediately impact lifestyle rather than financial gain. This is a key point in the year when people want to focus on friends and family, with work naturally taking a back seat.

“Instead of risking lower productivity levels and absenteeism, businesses should look at these simple, affordable options of rewarding their staff. For those companies in industries where more holiday or reduced working time isn’t possible, implementing personalised non-financial rewards and encouraging a relaxed working environment should be considered. Not only will motivation remain consistent or increase, employees will feel valued and listened to.”