Losing those office perks in corporate cutbacks

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A less serious, but widespread fallout of tough economic times for American companies has been the cutting of employee perks and benefits to lower operating costs. Working in corporate America myself, I can attest to some of these cutbacks first hand and I know more are coming down the line as cutting costs is becoming vital to stay in business and keep shareholders happy. Still it is never nice to lose the perks and assoicated benefits that one becomes used to. Here’s some of the perks that have gone missing from my workplace over the last few months. I have also assigned an estimated value/benefit to each one.

– We used to have soda fountains/machines on all floors of our building with free Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite etc for employees. I would normally have a coke in the afternoon or during an especially long meeting. No more. With the soda gone water is the only choice. Management’s reasoning for the cutback in soda was supposedly for health reasons, but we all knew it was cost cutting.
[Benefit = $1 day or roughly $250 annually]

Friday bagels. Every Friday our group, like a number of other departments, would have a bagel and coffee breakfast courtesy the company. Unfortunately this was one of the first things to go and Friday mornings no longer feel the same.
[Benefit value = $2.50 per week or $120 annually]

Monthly drinks. Once a month we would head out for team building drinks on the company’s dime. It was definitely fun and something everyone looked forward to. We haven’t had one these for over 3 months now, so guess that’s gone too.
[Benefit value: $20. Annual : $200]

You can probably infer we had some pretty good benefits/perks when times were good (we did work very hard!). While it is dissapointing to have lost some of these free perks, I am grateful to still have my job. If these cutbacks keep more people employed at my firm, then I am all for them. However, it will really be be bad for employee morale if the savings just end up going towards our senior executive’s year end bonuses. We are already working overtime in these tough times so losing the above and other benefits is never nice. When things return to normal, hopefully most of these benefits and perks come back as I really believe the intangible and tangible value they add to the employees morale far outweigh the costs to the company.

Have you experienced or heard of similar cutbacks elsewhere in the corporate world? What are your thoughts on these types of company/office perks? Leave a comment with your thoughts.

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