We’d all like to be a bit more Googley and with every employee knowing about their slides, nap pods and perks, you want to convince your own MD to chill out, kick back, and install a relaxation room. But how can you prove ROI of employee perks? We’re definitely going to try, with some great reasons a relaxation room is the best idea ever – with real business results from employees who reported some great results to the Columbia Tribune, as well as a few ways to think about benchmarking ROI.

It sets boundaries

“It’s really nice to have a spot where you can come and chill on the beds,” Courtney Mudd, Influence & Co. human resources director, said. “If you come into work super early and you are really exhausted from a long weekend, you are going to want to sit on the bed, get under the covers, really put your head down and still get work done, but be in a comfortable environment doing so.”

“Having this room is kind of a way for us to say, ‘Okay, well, you’re at the office, if you need to focus and be disconnected from everybody else you can come in here.’ Employees respect that,” Mudd said. “They know if a person that they have a question for is sitting in the quiet room, on the bed, then they should come back and address that question later because they clearly have things they have to get done.”

“The relaxation room is an experience,” Ian Franz, Veterans United Home Loans and Columbia Safety and Supply’s director of culture, said. “It’s just supposed to be 15 minutes to relax and recharge and then head back up and focus on the job.”

“It’s this atmosphere where everyone is really working hard but having a good time while they do it,” Clapp said. “I don’t think these perks encourage that, I think they are a manifestation of that.”

It can help recruit new employees

Whilst you might want short term benefits – more energy, an enthused workforce, these perks can only help when recruiting new hires and you might also start to see benefits. According to a 2015 survey by Glassdoor, a job search website, 57 percent of people look at benefits and perks when considering a job. Something as simple as a cordoned off room could help you decrease your recruitment costs.

“People, when they come into our environment they feel something different,” says Beau Aero, owner of Columbia Safety. “They can feel the energy was different. That’s the energy that they’re attracted to, that’s the energy that’s producible. That’s what they like, we don’t have to say a word. As soon as they see that and feel it then they want to participate and be a part of that.”

They can help improve relationships and innovation

Columbia Safety, a fall protection equipment and supply retailer, offers spaces where employees can not only relax but join groups based on common interests. These groups meet off of company time, but as space is provided by the company and the business thinks this grows relationships.

“You can’t help but be friends with the people around you,” Alex Giddings, Marketing Manager at Columbia Safety, said. “You are with them; you’re next to them working shoulder to shoulder. We like to give each other a hard time about every different thing just like friends would outside of work. It’s just an extension of the friendships we have already.”

Fighting stress saves the business money

Too much-continued stress can seriously affect our physical and mental well being. It can interfere with normal daily activities, diminish self-esteem, impair relationships, and decrease work and academic effectiveness. Stress can lead to self-blame, self-doubt, feeling burned out, or becoming clinically anxious or depressed. According to studies from Dartmouth University,

  • 43% of adults experienced adverse health effects from stress
  • 75-90% of visits to a physician’s office are for stress-related conditions and complaints
  • Stress has been linked to the 6 leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has declared stress a hazard of the workplace

In the workplace, stress may be related to lost hours due to absenteeism, reduced productivity, and worker’s compensation benefits. This costs the American industry more than $300 billion annually according to Miller, Smith & Rothstein, 1994. This figure will be far larger nowadays, but just goes to show why fighting stress is a real concern

Allowing naps can improve performance for your workers

Fatigue Science reported on a great paper ‘Moderate sleep deprivation produces impairments in cognitive and motor performance equivalent to legally prescribed levels of alcohol intoxication’- Williamson A, Feyer A. (2000) which shows that  “being awake for 22 hours straight can slow your reaction time more than four drinks can”.

It also referenced that sleepy athletes have shorter careers.

“Beyond acute injuries, one recent study on MLB players has shown fatigue can shorten the playing careers (and therefore income) of professional athletes. “We were shocked by how linear the relationship was,” said the principal investigator W. Christopher Winter, MD, medical director of the Martha Jefferson Hospital Sleep Medicine Center in Charlottesville, Va. “It is a great reminder that sleepiness impairs performance. From a sports perspective, this is incredibly important. What this study shows is that we can use the science of sleep to predict sports performance”.”

Whilst it applies to sport and the physical state, mental performance should be of just as much of a concern to you as physical health in the workplace.

How to benchmark ROI for your proposed relaxation room

Can you think of an example when colleagues working together bourne from an unusual situation (work party, out of hours event, chance water cooler meeting) has produced a return in innovation or revenue? Or, how much faster could a project have been completed if teams had collaborated sooner? Take these numbers and crunch them!

A private room also promotes boundaries and sole working. Can you prove the efficiency of your home and remote workers, or even put in parameters about logging work as done when working ‘unmonitored?’ and start to see the results? If you think that someone can crank up some man powers in a comfortable environment and that this would remove their commute time and associated stress – this could be a great proof of ROI.

Don’t forget to look at your recruitment costs and also your traffic to your careers page. By promoting your perks using your own platforms, you may be able to start proving ROI from the attraction of fresh candidates coming directly to you – saving around 20% of their starting salary on finders fees.

Extra reading

Tips for reducing workplace stress

Making mental health a priority

Employees faking sick days to rest

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