When is a job perk not a perk? When it’s a Trojan horse perk designed to lure you into overwork

Click to read the story at CNBC
Click to read the story at CNBC

Many companies have stopped offering raises and are instead offering perks in an attempt to keep workers happy.  Perks are great, of course.  But they aren’t always what they seem.  I recently looked at a category of benefits I called “Trojan Horse Perks” for CNBC.com.  I think you’ll know right away what I mean. Is your company really focused on wellness and healthy eating, or just focused on making sure you never leave campus?

Plenty of managers have their hearts in the right place, of course.  But it’s important to never forget that whatever business  you are in, it’s always — well — just business, nothing personal. So workers need to make sure that take the benefits they’re entitled to without falling into the trap of overwork.  So if your company starts offering unlimited vacation, make sure you take it.

Here’s a tease of the story on CNBC; you can read the whole thing by clicking over there.

Free dinners at your desk. Free yoga classes in the lunchroom. Free rides home for workers who stay past 8 p.m. Free nanny care for young mothers on a business trip. Frozen eggs for would-be mothers. Even unlimited vacation. New-age-y job perks that once seemed exclusive to hip start-ups are making their way through all kinds of HR departments now. But do companies that offer them have ulterior motives for doing so?

When LinkedIn joined the “unlimited vacation” crowd last week, many observers cheered the move as proof that firms are working harder to keep employees happy.

But unlimited vacation, sometimes called “discretionary time off,” has plenty of detractors. Some firms that have tried it found their workers actually take fewer vacation days when there’s no clear rule about how many paid days off they’re entitled to. The policy is a nifty balance sheet boon for the corporation, however. Banked vacation days are a liability — an average of nearly $1,900 per worker at the start of 2015, according to a U.S. Travel Association report — and the bill comes due when workers with saved days off cash out.

Meanwhile, those free rides home? More incentive to work late. Free dinners? Hey, you never have to leave the office. Free plane tickets for your baby and your nanny? Now you have no reason to turn down that work trip. Frozen eggs? Have a baby later; your time belongs to us, now.

When is a perk not a perk? When it’s a Trojan horse that actually encourages overwork.

Click here to read the rest of the story at CNBC.com

About Bob Sullivan 1403 Articles
BOB SULLIVAN is a veteran journalist and the author of four books, including the 2008 New York Times Best-Seller, Gotcha Capitalism, and the 2010 New York Times Best Seller, Stop Getting Ripped Off! His latest, The Plateau Effect, was published in 2013, and as a paperback, called Getting Unstuck in 2014. He has won the Society of Professional Journalists prestigious Public Service award, a Peabody award, and The Consumer Federation of America Betty Furness award, and been given Consumer Action’s Consumer Excellence Award.

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