What workplace perk do employees value most?

Flexible working hours is the winner, hands-down, according to a new survey by B2B research firm Clutch.

perks chartMore than 40% of the full-time U.S. employees surveyed say that flexible hours are the most important perk they receive, and over half (54%) say it's the perk that matters most to their job satisfaction.

The study defines flexible working hours as the practice of allowing employees to determine, within a preset range of hours, when they begin and end their workday. Or, employees might be given the option to work extra hours each day in exchange for one day off per week or every other week.

Professional development came in a distant second, with 22% of workers surveyed saying that it's most important.

Working from home (13%), fitness/health options (7%), and food/snacks (7%) were also cited by survey respondents as important perks.

Clutch's 2018 Company Culture and Employee Perks Survey included 507 full-time employees across the U.S.

The study did not look at what Clutch termed "traditional benefits"—for example, health insurance, retirement savings plans, and paid vacation time.

Perks Add to Quality of Life

The survey indicates that employee perks contribute to a better work-life balance; over half (53%) of respondents said their employer-sponsored perks give them a better quality of life.

Perks also suggest that employers value their employees as individuals. Just under half of full-time employees (49%) say that their perks make them feel valued.

Perks Can Take Many Forms

Employers can offer many different perks beyond flexible hours.

Almost anything can be an employee perk, says Lisa Oyler, human resources director at Access Development, a private discount network popular with employers.

"Even a candy jar sitting out lends to company culture," she says.

"It provides something that enhances employees' daily experience."

Experts recommend that companies be creative with what they offer and tailor perks to suit companywide values.

In the end, some perks may seem minor, but they matter.