10 Perks Your Small Business Can Afford

Perks that make your employees happy don't have to cost an arm and a leg--really.

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources, and insights to entrepreneurs and business ownersThe article below was originally published at Inc.com.

A happy, engaged workforce is a high performing workforce. When you hear of companies like SAP that offers onsite putting greens or Google, which offers onsite everything, you probably think, “We have 25 employees and cannot compete on that level. And where would we put a putting green anyway?”

Because small businesses can’t offer it all like the big players, they often think that it’s too expensive to offer anything that isn’t required by law. But here are 10 small businesses that offer perks that are doable for many small businesses–and make them more attractive to current and prospective employees.

Catered lunchesMimecast. We know that food makes employees happy. Mark Bilbe, Mimecast’s general manager of North America, explains that it goes even further–towards team unification. “We we started catering lunches four days a week to allow employees to take a break, socialize, swap stories and enjoy a lunch on us. Food in general is a great unifier of cultures, functions and personalities.”

Nap roomEngauge. Sleeping during the day has also been in the news lately as a way to re-energize and re-invigorate workers. Jenni McDonough, VP of human resources explains that they took a small, windowless room, added a sofa, a blanket and an alarm clock, turning what would normally be wasted space into a valued place.

(MORE: Cultivate Customer Connections and Grow Your Business)

RecessSHIFT Communications. Remember when you were a kid and adults would ask you what your favorite subject in school was? How often was that answer “recess?” HR Director Leah Ciappenelli realized that sentiment never went away. In addition to things like running or walking clubs, they offer an occasional, spontaneous outside recess break, as one of the things to encourage a healthy lifestyle. This is not only good for employee morale but also the health insurance budget.

Dog friendly environmentZoosk. If you’re a dog lover, this may work for you. CEO Shayan Zadeh says, “Like any successful company, we want to foster a happy and productive workforce. In order to promote a stress-free environment, Zoosk has a dog friendly workplace, which helps relieve employee tension.”

MassagesJoss & Main, Wellness is the hot word in employee perks, and John Mulliken, general manager and co-founder is a big believer. “We believe healthy, happy employees are more engaged and productive when they come to work each day.” But rather just encouraging healthy eating, they offer benefits such as onsite chair massages.

Yoga classesinPowered and Wayfair.com. Both offer onsite yoga classes. InPowered’s CEO Payman Nilforoush explains, “Nothing makes a start up more productive than having happy people who love what they do!” This is something most small companies would love to have.

Volunteer day offAngel. This is vacation with a purpose. Company president Dave Rennyson recently implemented a new program which allows employees to take a paid day to do some volunteer work in the community. Good for morale, good for the community, and good for the company.

Fitness bootcampBigcommerce. While other companies focus on the calmer methods of wellness, such as yoga or massage, Co-CEO Eddie Machaalani, says his company channels its inner drill sargeant. “Bigcommerce offers employees a weekly hard-core boot camp workout with a certified trainer. The class gives employees a guaranteed stress-free hour and is offered to build team camaraderie.”

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No vacation policyRapid7. “Unlike many employers with formal paid vacation, holiday, personal and paid sick-time policies, Rapid7 has no formal policy regarding pay during absences from work,” says Christina Luconi, Chief People Officer. They trust their employees to balance their time off with their work time, making it a good balance for everyone.

Gym membership reimbursementTango. Can’t afford an onsite gym and don’t have space for a yoga class? Tango CEO Uri Raz doesn’t let that stop him from offering a wellness perk, reimbursing employees for gym memberships. Employees are energized and healthy with no additional capital expense.

Video and board game meeting spacesSparta Systems. Employees who play together work well together, says Eileen Martinson, CEO, who encourages employees to “step away from their desks.” Not only do games like Scattergories provide fun, they stretch brains and encourage cross departmental interactions.

Suzanne Lucas spent 10 years in corporate human resources, where she hired, fired, managed the numbers, and double-checked with the lawyers. Follow her at Twitter, connect with her at LinkedIn, read her blog, or send her an email@RealEvilHRLady

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