The Perks that Employees Hate: Why Unlimited Vacation and Open-Plan Offices are a Turnoff

Sep 04, 2023 3 Min Read
employees enjoying perks that truly matter

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As employers around the world struggle to attract and retain workers, offering perks is often seen as a solution to this issue. However, a recent Twitter thread highlights that some of these perks can actually be a turnoff for employees. In this article, we’ll explore why some employee perks can be a turnoff and provide tips on how to offer benefits that matter.

The Problem with Common Employee Perks

In the thread, developer relations pro and podcaster Jessica Rose asked tech workers which supposed perks are actually a turnoff for them. The responses revealed that many supposed perks actually act as a huge turnoff to employees, including unlimited vacation policies, open-plan offices, alcohol in the office, and forced team-building activities.

Unlimited vacation policies, which seem like a great perk on the surface, often translate to “feel guilty about taking any vacation at all.” Open-plan offices, even with thick layers of design, are still hard to work in and terrible for collaboration and innovation. Free alcohol in the office can create uncomfortable situations, and forced team-building activities are wildly suspicious to employees.

What Employees Really Want

So, what do employees really want? Recent research suggests that workers are more interested in perks that align with their values, such as location-agnostic pay that encourages employees to work from wherever they want and generous leave policies, including more time for maternity and paternity leave.

Business thinkers have also pointed out that the best perk of all is a healthy and productive company culture that empowers employees to work in whatever way allows them to do their best work over the long haul.

Tips for Offering Benefits That Matter

To offer benefits that matter, employers should consider the following tips:

  1. Ask employees what they value most: The best way to find out what employees want is to ask them directly. Conduct surveys or focus groups to gather feedback on the benefits and perks that matter most to them.
  2. Offer flexible work arrangements: Remote work, flexible hours, and location-agnostic pay are all perks that can be highly valued by employees. These benefits can help employees achieve a better work-life balance and improve their overall well-being.
  3. Provide comprehensive healthcare and wellness benefits: Offering healthcare and wellness benefits, such as gym memberships, mental health services, and healthy snacks, can help employees stay healthy and productive.
  4. Create a culture of transparency and communication: A workplace culture that encourages open communication, feedback, and transparency can help employees feel more engaged and motivated.

The Importance of Company Culture

While offering benefits that align with employees’ values is important, it’s also essential to create a company culture that supports employees in achieving their goals. This means empowering employees to work in whatever way allows them to do their best work over the long haul.

One key aspect of a healthy company culture is trust. When employees feel trusted and valued, they are more likely to be motivated and productive. This can be achieved by providing clear expectations, giving employees autonomy, and recognising their contributions.

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Another important factor is communication. When employees feel that they can communicate openly and honestly with their colleagues and superiors, they are more likely to feel engaged and connected to their work.

Finally, creating a supportive and inclusive workplace culture is essential. This means fostering a sense of community among employees, providing opportunities for growth and development, and ensuring that all employees are treated fairly and respectfully.

This article was first published on

This article is also available in Chinese.

Edited by: Kiran Tuljaram

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Lee is an International Best Selling Author, Speaker & Leader and has been leading teams for nearly 20 years. He has a proven track record across HR, Technology and Business Transformation. He has led teams in excess of 60 people, delivered over $250m in annual cost savings, efficiencies, and revenue generation, successfully delivered 5 integrations following mergers / acquisitions and worked across 6 continents, 70 countries and with over 100 MNC clients. For more information on Lee, please click here.


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