Government employees have faced a number of “downers” in recent years: sequestration and budget cuts, furloughs, and pay freezes, just to name a few. Federal employees hired today are required to contribute a greater proportion of their salaries to their pensions than those hired just a few years ago. Travel budgets have been cut down to nearly nothing in some organizations. At first glance, there’s a lot to be unhappy about.
Yet, in spite of some of these unfortunate circumstances, we’re still here. We have shown, time and time again, our ability to weather any storm. And we still have a lot to be happy about.
Being a government employee may not carry with it traditional perks like free coffee or free airline tickets, but there are still perks to be found in the realm of government. I don’t mean job duties; I mean perks: the little extras, the bonuses, the icing on the cake. Perks can turn an ordinary day into something to which you look forward, and for this reason, perks have a huge ROI when it comes to employee morale. What’s your favorite? Do you have access to amazing training resources? Tuition reimbursement? Free anything?
One of my favorite perks that I can apply to have access to through my agency is web-based Rosetta Stone software for personal use (awarded only if there are extra licenses available after awarding them for business use). I’ve been able to keep my German skills polished with access to the software for almost a year now. Another perk: the opportunity to (occasionally) work from home. You don’t have to get out of your pajamas all day unless you want to, and rather than being limited to your brown bag lunch, the whole refrigerator is your oyster.
Perks are great, but they don’t make us any happier unless we use them. How can we take advantage of perks? What little-known perks exist in government that we’re not taking advantage of? If you are familiar with a government perk, be it a transit subsidy or a software license, please share your experience and some how-tos. Our agencies may not all have the same policies, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some policies were duplicated between departments or agencies. This is our opportunity to learn from one another how to take advantage of the great options available to us!
One more thing: What perks could government agencies add to their repertoire that would boost employee morale for relatively low cost? Is there a “little extra” out there that could change your outlook on coming to work each day?
Erica Bakota is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.