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Health, wellbeing and WFH allowances: Work perks for 2021

Forget nap pods and ping pong tables, WFH allowances and wellbeing support are 2021’s top work perks, according to our latest research.

With tight recruitment budgets leading to widespread pay freezes and even ‘firing and rehiring’ at some workplaces, 2021’s new work perks are one of the most cost-effective ways to tempt new staff – without breaking the bank.

Over the last few years, we’ve seen a rise in perks like nap rooms, free food and on-site medical care. But 2021’s top work perks instead cater to the growing number of remote workers not able to access an office.

Our study analysed over 750,000 open roles featured on Adzuna in February 2021, to highlight some of the more unusual perks currently being advertised.

Read on to find out more about the top work perks currently being offered by British employers, as well as tips on how to ask your boss to include perks within your package.


1.  Work from Home Allowance

There are currently over 69,000 vacancies on offer for work-from-home positions, meaning more employees than ever are setting up a home office. We’ve seen a spike in employers offering a ‘Work From Home Allowance’ as part of their benefits package as a result, helping new recruits create a good working environment at home. Some of the packages we’ve spotted include digital consultants Red Badger, offering a £2,000 WFH budget, Facebook, offering all UK employees £750 for their home office, and vehicle comparison site Carwow, offering a £500 WFH allowance. Some employers are going one step further and paying for their workers’ internet and phone bills and home office furniture.

When it comes to defining what the workplace will look like after the pandemic, UK technology companies are leading the way. London-headquartered Spotify has announced it will let its employees choose to work from anywhere they want, indefinitely, signalling they believe working from home is here to stay. TransferWise has announced a hybrid flexible working model, allowing employees to work remotely anywhere in the world for 90 days a year – even the Seychelles.


2.  Virtual Exercise Classes

With gyms remaining closed, many companies are offering virtual exercise classes to help their employees stay healthy. Online florist Bloom & Wild are offering virtual yoga classes, while news site Citywire has a personal trainer who runs weekly lunchtime virtual workout sessions.


3.  Wellbeing support

Encouragingly, many employers are caring for the minds, as well as the hearts, of their employees by championing mindfulness. Fashion sale platform Depop are going one step further, offering their workers subsidised counselling, access to mental health first aiders, and yoga and meditation sessions. We’ve also witnessed more companies offering a ‘wellness allowance’ for workers to spend on anything from meditation app subscriptions, to trainers, to airpods.


4.  Pawternity leave

Puppy sales have boomed over the pandemic, making this perk more popular than ever. First popularised by brewery and pub chain Brewdog who introduced pawternity leave in 2017, more and more employers are allowing time off for employees adopting a furry friend, including online retailer Sofology.


5.  Childcare

As many parents struggle to juggle childcare and work, (especially with schools currently closed!), some forward-thinking companies are introducing child care as a work perk. This trend originated in Silicon Valley, where Facebook recently implemented a policy of 10 weeks of paid leave for employees needing to care for a child or relative. Meanwhile, Google has increased its Carer’s policy to 14 weeks pay, and Amazon has brought in back-up childcare and subsidised tutoring. Encouragingly, the trend may now be taking off in the UK, with American Express offering back-up childcare or adultcare for UK employees, while for those in the office, Leeds-based bank First Direct offers a subsidised on-site nursery.


6.  Duvet Days

This work perk allows employees to take time off without notice and with no excuse necessary. Duvet Days are separate to sick days and don’t come out of an annual leave allowance, perfect for days when all you’re good for is bingeing a Netflix series. They’ve been around for a few years now, but we’ve seen an uptick in employers offering this perk since the pandemic, with 520 jobs boasting duvet days currently on offer. Notable employers jumping on the bandwagon include video game developer nDreams, offering employees two annual duvet days, and the Money Advice Trust, allowing staff one duvet day per quarter.


7.  Free language lessons

The number of people choosing to learn another language spiked in lockdown 1.0, with language-learning app Duolingo reporting a 300% uptick in new users and a survey by The British Council suggesting as many as 1 in 10 Brits were learning a new language after the start of the pandemic. But can you do this as part of your job? The answer is yes – if you choose carefully. Both Tui and Flight Centre offer their employees free language lessons, while gaming giant SEGA is offering workers Japanese classes.


8.  Birthday Treats

Celebrating your birthday remotely needn’t be forgotten with these companies. Online florist Bloom & Wild celebrate their employees’ lockdown birthdays with a letterbox cake, while over 2,100 of job openings on our site advertise employees get the day off on their birthday.


Tips for asking your boss for work perks

  • Ask in person. That could be via video-call, phone call or face-to-face. You are more likely to get a positive response if you ask in person rather than over email. 
  • Look for precedents. Remember the adage ‘Knowledge is Power’ and do your research. Quiz your colleagues to assess if anybody else at your company has already requested the perk. This could help uncover any relevant workplace policies. Where there is no precedent, give examples of other companies in your industry that are offering the work perk you’re after to illustrate that offering it is a way for your company to stay competitive.
  • Focus on what you need to work effectively. Perhaps access to childcare support or wellbeing packages will help you think more creatively. Adopting flexible working hours or working from home could save you time commuting. Settling in a new pet with Pawternity leave may improve your mental wellbeing and boost your productivity. Framing your request around the positive benefits will help your employer make the business case for your perk, boosting your chances of securing what you want.
  • Anticipate any concerns. Try to put yourself in your bosses’ shoes and think about their worries. Maybe they are concerned that tasks will be missed if you request a duvet day, or that team communication will suffer if you request to work remotely, permanently. Putting in place shared schedules, group project management plans, and fixed virtual meetings can help prove that being flexible with your time doesn’t mean getting less done.
  • Suggest a trial. Suggesting a short trial period may help you prove the value of a certain benefit to your boss – without them needing to commit upfront. Then, once you’ve proven how a work perk is making a positive impact, you have a much stronger case for asking for a permanent change.


Looking to move jobs to a company with great work perks? We currently have over 800,000 open vacancies on our site. You can also check out our remote filter if you’re looking for a new role but want to work-from-home.