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The national unemployment rate stood at a low 4.4% in August of 2017. What does this mean for you as you hunt for your next job? Well, employers might be a bit more desperate to find talented workers.

And if you’re lucky, your next employer might try to entice you with some valuable perks.

What kind of perks are companies turning to today? Some are offering more affordable healthcare. Others offer flexible schedules, giving their employees the chance to work from home, whether it’s full time or part time. Still others offer onsite childcare and additional weeks of paid vacation.

Here’s a look at some of the perks that top companies today are offering. If you can grab some of them, your working days might be a bit brighter.

More Days Off 

Bigger paychecks are a great perk, of course. But Danielle Kunkle, vice president with Fort Worth, Texas-based insurance company Boomer Benefits, says that her company’s workers value time off more than they do traditional benefits or bonuses.

Last year, Boomer Benefits passed out a pay raise to the company’s entire sales team. The company also added an extra paid holiday and an early-close schedule on Fridays, and the reaction these changes surprised Kunkle.

“The employees were far more excited about our agency closing one hour early on Fridays than they were about their pay raise,” says Kunkle. “They also cheered when we added Christmas Eve as a paid holiday.”

Kunkle says that Boomer Benefits advertises the early Friday closing in its recruiting and hiring ads, and the response has been impressive.

“I’ve been blown away by how many applicants mention this one thing,” Kunkle said. 

A Family-Friendly Environment

Amber Malcom, chief executive officer of Shabby Chick Natural Products in Duncan, Oklahoma, says that the manufacturing company works hard to bring in and retain the most talented employees.

This includes offering a family-friendly workplace. Malcom says that employees are welcome to bring their children to work. These kids even have their own space — a room filled with video games, computers, board games and what Malcom says is “every type of snack imaginable.”

The family feel doesn’t stop there. Shabby Chick serves a home-cooked lunch to its employees every work day. Workers even sit down to eat this meal together, promoting workplace camaraderie.

What if workers must leave early to drive their kids to soccer practice or attend a school play? That’s no problem.

“We allow employees to work around their family’s schedule,” Malcom says. “Some employees come in early and leave early with their kids. Others work late so they can attend events with their kids.”

Self-Improvement

Mountain View, California-based Study.com, a provider of online educational courses, offers a variety of perks designed to improve the quality of life and health of its employees.

Adrian Ridner, chief executive officer and co-founder of Study.com, says that his company not only provides a tuition reimbursement program for its employees, it also offers employees and their families a chance at lifelong learning onsite through free college courses.

In addition to fully paid health insurance options, Study.com also offers sponsored gym memberships to keep employees healthy and pays for passes to the local public transit system so that workers won’t have to worry about paying for transportation.

Ridner believes, too, in the value of camaraderie. That’s why the company offers weekly happy-hour events, a summer beach trip, out-of-town company getaways and holiday parties.

“These keep employees engaged and allow them to bond with their co-workers outside of a work environment,” Ridner says.

Errand Services

What can’t employees do when they’re sitting in their offices? Run errands. That’s why a growing number of companies are offering errand-running services as a perk, says Erin Krehbiel, president of ACI Specialty Benefits in San Diego.

“Everyone hates going to the grocery store, and nobody has time to get their car washed or pick up a package,” Krehbiel says. “Today’s busy workforce needs realistic benefits that solve day-to-day challenges and maximize convenience.”

Krehbiel says that company-sponsored errand runners take on everything from grocery shopping and pet sitting to trips to the post office for workers, all of which employees greatly appreciate.

“Corporate-sponsored errand runners create a fantastic perk for employers to promote productivity and handle the pesky demands of home life,” Krehbiel says. “There is direct return-on-investment in helping employees and their families regain time and sanity.”

Money Still Matters

All the above perks are nice, but the most important perk that companies can offer? Sometimes it comes down to the money.

Kevin Miller, director of growth with Open Listings, a homebuying app based in Los Angeles, said that employees will most appreciate being paid more than what their fellow workers are at competing companies. That’s number one. An extremely generous 401(k) matching program helps as well.

Outside of that? Miller said that employees value the opportunity to move up in a company and take on new jobs and challenges, increasing the size of their paychecks as they do so, of course.

What perks do you appreciate or wish you had at your workplace? Let us know in the comments below!

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