Puppy party anyone? That’s what one employer is offering its staff to lure them back into work. Perks have always been a part of employment packages but, during the pandemic, employers have become a lot more imaginative in a bid to keep their people engaged remotely - and then get them back in the office. What is the point of these perks, do they work - and what do managers need to know to offer staff what they really want?

Isabel talks to Alicia Ries, director of communications for Emea at Steelcase, a US-based furniture company that brought in a welcome programme including barbecues and its own bagpipe band when its employees returned to work. Alicia discusses what really motivates staff and how employers can help them thrive. We also speak to FT management editor Andrew Hill about the weirdest workplace incentives and what the research says will really keep us engaged at work.

We would love to hear from you - email us at workingit@ft.com. Follow @isabelberwick on Twitter or email her direct at isabel.berwick@ft.com

Mentioned in the podcast and further reading:

Andrew Hill’s article on back to work perks, including Steelcase

What are the most in demand new perks? Charlotte Middlehurst’s FT article: https://www-ft-com.newman.richmond.edu/content/6f34b761-aa03-42e7-b5f2-0b128102e33b

Frederick Herzberg’s research into what really motivates employees [tl;dr - make the job more interesting] from Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2003/01/one-more-time-how-do-you-motivate-employees

Presented by Isabel Berwick. Editorial direction from Renée Kaplan. Assistant producer is Persis Love. Sound design is by Breen Turner, with original music from Metaphor Music. Produced by Novel.

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