Employee Benefit Freebies You May Not Realize You Have
Take Advantage of These Top Benefit Freebies
In our post Affordable Care Act world, employee benefits are on everyone’s minds. Unfortunately, over the last few years, the cost of group health coverage and financial insurance have risen. According to data from PwC’s Health Research Institute, just in 2015 alone, premiums increased by an average of 5.4 percent across the board. The reasons for these increased costs include an increased need for technology to manage and protect health care information coupled with higher costs associated with the development of specialty prescription drugs.
While much of the additional costs have been absorbed by companies, a large portion of health insurance premium increases has been passed on to employees too. Many are feeling the pinch as health insurance premiums have grown to as much as 30 percent of the average gross annual income. Even with high deductible health care plans, monthly premiums and annual out-of-pocket costs can be high for most people.
Getting the most out of your employee benefits can help to stretch dollars when it comes to protecting your health and well-being. You may have some benefit freebies you are not aware of that can help. Here’s a rundown.
Free Meals, Snacks, and Beverages at Work
In an effort to step up to help more employees make healthy lifestyle choices, many companies have begun offering free food, catered lunches at discount, and beverages to employees, at least on a sporadic basis. Your company may have started providing free snacks in meeting rooms and break areas. There may be a cooler in an employee common area where you can pick up spring water or other beverages for nothing. Register for free food samples and drink mixes to bring to work too. Take advantage of this to supplement your work lunches and grab a few to go whenever you can.
Free Workplace Exercise and Fitness Equipment
Gym memberships can be costly, especially if you don’t ever have the time to go before or after work. Why not take the time to start your exercise routine at the office instead? Many companies offer a variety of cardio activities from gym equipment and bikes to walking trails in and around the campus. You can set up an indoor walking space by using hallways and stairwells to get moving. You can even get free audio books to listen to while you work out. This is all free, so start a club and get busy working on your physical fitness each day.
Free Corporate and Purchase Power Discounts
Companies often have access to multiple discounts with local and national vendors. Ask your business office or someone in your human resource department for information about any corporate discounts you may be eligible for. Consider things like printing services, office supplies, travel and hotel discounts, technology and software discounts, cell phone discounts, uniform and shoe vendors, restaurants and entertainment venues, and more.
Free Wellness Program Benefits
If your company offers any kind of health insurance benefits, there are likely to be a number of corporate wellness freebies you can tap into. Most insurance groups offer access to weight loss support with discounts for gym memberships, weight loss products, and even weight loss surgery. Other benefit freebies may include smoking cessation product and program discounts, stress reduction, Diabetes product discounts, vision and dental discounts, and more.
Free Access to Emotional and Legal Support
Companies that offer employee benefits may also have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in place too. This is generally a toll-free number that you can call to speak with a caring professional for free about any number of personal and professional reasons. For example, you may have some career concerns you need to talk to someone about or a legal matter you have questions about. Take advantage of this no-cost benefit.
Free Financial and Retirement Planning
Most companies offer some kind of retirement plan so that employee can invest in their futures. If so, your retirement funding is managed by a financial service, which may give you some free counseling on how to plan for retirement, where to invest your money for the best return, and more. Be sure to ask about this financial freebie so you can get the most from your hard-earned dollars.And if you are not actively participating in your employer-matched retirement program, you are throwing away free money!
Onsite Services (Shipping, Daycare, Dry Cleaning, Wellness, etc.)
Chances are, your company offers some hidden perks that you are not currently using. For example, you may have an onsite shipping department at work that you can use to send out your holiday packages at the company rate to save money. Or how about the complimentary dry cleaning service, or the onsite daycare? While these are not actually freebies, they could save you a nice chunk of change if you use them.