What’s the one amenity at work you can’t live without?

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Question: “We’re slashing costs at work and it’s time to take aim at some perks people take for granted—varied office supplies, catered meetings, a nice coffee selection. Before I maybe push things too far, which amenities do employees tend to miss more dramatically than others?”   – Marissa, HR Coordinator

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Fed Up July 9, 2012 at 12:28 pm

The ‘amenities’ can be cut so long as salaries remain intact and competitive.

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NonAdmin July 12, 2012 at 11:45 am

GOOD POINT!!

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Karen June 19, 2012 at 1:33 pm

While I will agree coffee is a big deal, most of our staffs have their own coffee pots and support their own coffee habit. We’re not permitted to purchase office supplies for our own needs, plus I would get in big trouble for using my purchasing authority for personal use. I work for the government! For me, our Wellness program is a great amenity! We get three hours of administrative leave per week for exercise and wellness, plus we have our own fitness room. Our Wellness Committee worked long and hard to get these amenities for our employees’ health and wellness.

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NonAdmin June 19, 2012 at 1:34 pm

That is wonderful!

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Lisa June 19, 2012 at 9:20 am

Please don’t take away my purified water dispenser. It dispenses cold water, but I really appreciate the hot dispenser especially to make instant oatmeal, hot chocolate or a quick cup of tea.

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Karen June 21, 2012 at 4:03 pm

I keep an electric teapot by my desk just for that very reason. It’s called a Toastmaster, and I think I purchased it at Walmart. It takes a minute or two, depending on how full it is, to heat up. Great for anytime you need hot water for something.

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Margaret June 26, 2012 at 8:45 am

I agree – I don’t want to drink tap water!

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NonAdmin June 15, 2012 at 9:24 am

Where I work we pay for everything but the water (we have two coolers). There is a price chart posted in the kitchen with everything on it – copying, faxing, coffee, soda, popcorn (when available), tea etc. Also, we we would like to purchase items in the supply cabinet (due to the bulk savings) we can get a price from our supply clerk and reimburse the company. I haven’t heard complaints so I think everyone feels it is fair.

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D.R. June 15, 2012 at 9:04 am

I think fair is not fair, we spend hundreds of dollars on coffee for all those that can’t live without it, but what about those who prefer cold caffeine such as a soda; we do not get a free ride. I think all should pitch in that drink coffee and purchase supplies, it is not just the coffee, it is creamer, sugar, artificial sweetener, cups, stirrer, napkins…, a soda is a cup and soda. Face it we all need perking up at some point.

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NonAdmin June 15, 2012 at 9:20 am

I often had this thought at my previous employer. Just because I don’t drink coffee I have to pay while others are drinking half a pot everyday!

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Melanie June 21, 2012 at 1:58 pm

I have never heard of such a thing. If you do not drink coffee, you should not be asked to chip in each month on the cost. I would refuse to do it.

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Katy June 14, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Coffee!! We just moved offices and our coffee machine decided it didn’t like the change in altitude and died. So for the past two weeks, all I have been asked about is when is the coffee machine being fixed/replaced!

We did have the stationery issue a while back, and at the end of the day, people will use whatever is available. If they want a specific pen, they will buy it themselves. We also found that those that did actually kept the pens a lot longer and didn’t lose them. With regards to lunchs, I stopped the sandwiches and started ordering either Subway or pizza – it was cheaper, and staff started turning up for the lunch talks.

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Penny Kay June 14, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Coffee is a big deal, so we switched to asking people to pitch in for those that drink it so that we can buy the flavored brands, and it worked out for the best. The admin picks it up while doing other shopping so we get it for a reasonable cost, keeps it stocked and made all day long so everyone is happy. That way the folks that want it get it and the folks that don’t drink it don’t comment about why the company is buying it. A win-win.

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Kim June 14, 2012 at 6:05 pm

We cut back on the variety of office supplies a few years ago (just to make it easier, not a budget issue). We went from 4 different post it notes to 1, 3 different styles of pens to 1, etc. At first we got a few complaints and questions but that died down after about 2 weeks. I think most folks understand about those things. As the Office Manager however, the biggest thing I hear about is coffee. I think taking that away would cause a mutiny!

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angela June 14, 2012 at 4:43 pm

COFFEE! I like having a gourmet coffee machine. We order the assorted flavors so we don’t have to be bored by the same “breakfast blend” flavor.

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Mark June 14, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Add me to the coffee crew! That is the one thing that can substantially affect the energy level, as opposed to just something considered to be a perk. We did away with free pop and water a long time ago, and have never provided snacks. Not much of anyone cares; they can just bring their own and put it in the fridge. But coffee – a must have.

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L June 14, 2012 at 4:22 pm

I would have to say professional development fees for out of town conferences. Although some might not think of it as a perk, in a way it is in our organization; especially when we have the opportunity to tag on a few vacation days to it. As for coffee, we bought a Kurieg (sp?) machine and everyone supplies their own pods keeping them in their desks. We have a regular pot for visitors who we rarely have. Works great for us and the only cost to the company was the machine itself. We use a round robin system for employees to donate other supplies such as disposable cups, creamer, sugar, etc. Works like a charm.

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LINDA June 14, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Coffee and the ice machine. Not everyone likes or drinks coffee, but we can bring tea, cola, and such so the ice is nice. And one other thing – the ice box for my lunch. Don’t want to get bad food from sitting in a hot office.

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Gigi June 14, 2012 at 4:12 pm

I think coffee. I’ve seen employees who are in charge of office supplies as well as in charge of ordering food for meetings, break rooms, etc. who really go over board. You give an inch, they take a mile.

I think keeping supplies to Just In Time is the best policy. Snacks and foods really depend more on if they are expecting you to work thru lunch. However, coffee, water and sodas should be made available.

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Laura June 14, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Cutting Paid Time Off (sick/personal/vacation) is the biggest thing, in my opinon, that effects morale. But yes, little things can cause a huge problem, like coffee. That’s what makes our cubical cave livable!

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jtEason June 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm

COFFEE! So don’t even think about it!

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bb June 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Yes, please don’t mess with the coffee. Nothing says low morale like a crappy cup of coffee. Splurge an extra 10 cents and keep the better brand!

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Gloria June 14, 2012 at 7:53 am

Supplies and coffee…biggest complaint. Actually, coffee comes in as #1 complaint.

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