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Homemade ‘Coupons’ Help Small Firm Offer Flexibility

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in Human Resources

She can't afford to give big holiday bonuses to her eight employees, so Deborah Williams, owner of Design and Image in Denver, hands out something just as valuable: a book of coupons redeemable for work/life balance during the year.

Among the eight coupons is one for a "creative day off," which employees may spend "rejuvenating their spirit." Another offers a "get out of work well" day off.

Other coupons entitle the bearer to come to work late one day, leave as early as 3 p.m. or take a three-hour lunch. Some coupons buy the employee lunch with a co-worker or an after-hours cocktail. And one coupon spreads the holiday cheer around the office: Employees can reward a co-worker for a favor with a coupon worth $100. One year, the firm's computer guru collected $700 worth of coupons from colleagues.

Redeeming the coupons costs the company about $3,300 per employee, including lost revenue on the extra days off. But Williams says it's easy to pay. "It's not cash out of your pocket, except for reimbursing lunch," says Williams.

Contact: Deborah Williams, deborah@designandimage.com.

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