Overworked, Underpaid, and No Free Donuts and Coffee
March 9, 2009 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The economic meltdown has caused quite a few business practices to change in fairly short order, and office perks and various benefits that were affordable during good times are downright impossible to justify in the current economic climate.
To get a sense of what is going on out there in cubicle land, CareerBuilder.com commissioned a poll of 3,259 human resources managers (working at companies in the United States), which was performed by Harris Interactive in late November and early December last year, just as the economic crisis was ramping up to a scary pitch. Some 38 percent of managers said they expected to make administrative cuts (not necessarily layoffs) in 2009, and among those admitting they will be making cuts, 65 percent said they will be cutting back on corporate social events, such as picnics and holiday parties, and 61 percent said they would be cutting travel budgets. A quarter of the companies polled said they will have to cut healthcare benefits in some fashion and 11 percent said they would cut wellness benefits (such as sponsoring gym memberships). Another 21 percent said they would be chopping their philanthropic activities this year, and 34 percent said they would cut special office perks such as coffee, ice machines, and discounted vending machines.
The good news is that 39 percent of the HR managers polled said that they are offering flexible work schedules and telecommuting as options to their employees, which saves the company and the employee money in many cases. Some companies are offering discounts on public transportation, compressed work weeks (doing your 40 hours in four days instead of five, as if any of us work just 40 hours any more), and reimbursing at a higher rate for mileage on your car when you use it on behalf of the company. We’ll see if these perks hold up if the economy stays tough, or worsens.