In an effort to boost morale, companies have been offering one-off benefits but they don’t improve employees’ long-term happiness


As a result of political and economic uncertainty, employers are offering more short-term rewards such as early finishes, team drinks and lunches. However according to research by OnePoll on behalf of Cyclescheme, 43% of respondents who received these perks admitted that they did not have a sustained impact on their happiness.

The study found that over a fifth (21%) of employees felt the triggering of Article 50 had decreased the morale in their workplace. This was felt most strongly amongst SMEs, with 53% also admitting that the constant onslaught of coverage about current affairs had a negative impact on their work over the past year. For 20% of those surveyed this also affected their ability to concentrate on their daily tasks.

Employees can see right through their employers attempts to appease negative work cultures, with 47%, and 51% of SME employees saying they believed that their employer uses one-off perks to compensate for working overtime.

Adrian Warren, director at Cyclescheme, said: “It’s clear that not enough employers are helping employees get the right benefits that make a genuine impact on their health and happiness. In an uncertain economic climate, companies must do more to listen to what employees want and give them initiatives that will have a lasting impact on their well-being.”

Long-term and permanent perks that work for a diverse workforce would improve long-term happiness, according to the study. Of those who did received one off perks, 50% expressed a need for employee benefits that focused on helping them become happier. Those who were surveyed stated they would respond positive to benefits that allowed:

  • more chances to exercise (34%),
  • more time to switch off mentally (28%)
  • opportunities for a greater work-life balance (37%)

“Helping employees to be happier more often and for a longer period of time is one the most powerful ways a business can improve morale and productivity.” Warren adds “Often leaders think that giving staff ‘popular’ perks like team drinks or a company lunch are what employees want most, but it’s having initiatives that will help them adopt healthier behaviours over the long term that are of the greatest value. With a new government, we’d like to see better efforts to promote sustainable modes of transport to work, which we know provide huge benefits not only for the environment, but for our health, too.”