New study finds the majority of people find office perks to be very annoying

Forget foosball and craft beer – what people really want out of their workplace is a place to work, not get distracted. Workers want a place to focus, not childish perks or shiny objects that allegedly promote retention. In fact, all these “fun” work perks have gotten so out of control that 60% of workers say they’re making it harder for employees to do their jobs.

Workspace developer Hana surveyed 1,000 U.S. office workers about what they value in their workspaces and find the most rewarding in their offices, paying close attention to workplace designs, amenities and services people wanted most from their employers.

Survey respondents pointed out that their employers are paying more attention to extras like in-office games and happy hours and open seating and shared social spaces than they were basic needs like ergonomic furniture and modern, up-to-date technology.

Just 44% of office workers said they had time during their take to take time out to play around on a ping-pong table. That means the majority, 56%, simply don’t have time for craft beers on the roof at lunch or whatever the Head of Social Strategy has thought up this week.

Perks, fun, and food have gone a little too far, and employees with their jobs would take a step back.

  • 57% of employees say fun workplace perks simply aren’t valuable in the workplace.
  • 61% of employees are skeptical of companies that emphasize how fun their offices are.

Employees wish employers would concentrate on making the workplace more productive

The word is out: people go to work to get ahead, not play. A full 83% of employees say they enjoy going to the office to accomplish work-related goals. Not only that, but 69% of people say they wish their employer would focus on making the workplace more productive.

In fact, 75% of survey respondents said that when they were looking for work, essentials like ergonomics, quiet spaces to do heads-down work, and natural light were important considerations.

Nowhere do you see “foosball” or “jonesing on cold brew.”

What office perks do people really want?

  1. Natural light. Trying going au naturel. A staggering 83% of office workers say natural light is the most coveted workplace perk.
  2. A room of their own. People would also like a little peace and quiet for getting some work done, and another sought-after perk is having a private space to work. Employers should be all-in on this – after all, it contributes to worker productivity.

However, the reality is that just 16% of workers have access to quiet areas in their office. Employees crave silence so badly that 27% say that would take a 10% pay cut for more private space in their workplaces. One of the most distracting – yet most prevalent – sources of noise that’s the hardest to tune out is intermittent speech. In other words, your officemates’ chatter.

3. Snacks and drinks. Why not? Free snacks and drinks are well-loved by everyone. Less than a third of office workers report having these perks, and rest are clamoring to get them. Among the 32% of workers who do have access to complimentary snacks and drinks, 75% say they partake in them multiple times a week. Employers, it’s an easy, cost-effective way to make your people happy.

In short, employees come to work to get work done, and while productive perks are welcome, the rest are a distraction.

Meanwhile, across the pond in the UK, alcohol is no longer considered a perk

It’s no secret that the UK has a legendary drinking culture. But in new data from a TotalJobs survey of 2,400 U.K. workers that looks at the changing relationships between UK workers and workplace drinking culture found that it’s curiously trending sober.

Half (54%) of those surveyed called work-related drinking perks “outdated,” with another 42% saying they would turn down job offers from businesses boasting boozy work cultures.

According to the report, British workers are looking for booze-free ways to spend time with their colleagues after work. Instead of the pub, they’re in favor of “sober socials,” alcohol-free outings that are easier on the body and the wallet. Three out of five employees said they wanted their employer to pick alcohol-free locations for work events.

The British, always in the mood for a pint – during the day, after work, whenever – are starting to become “mindful drinkers.” Two reasons, according to TotalJobs: they’re watching their weight and their health.

Whatever the reason, the U.K. workplace is changing, with alcohol no longer the perk or reward it once was.

“Employers cannot fail to have noticed the rising number of non-drinkers or the shift towards alcohol-free choices in the marketplace, said Don Shenker, Director of the Alcohol Health Network. [In the workplace], senior managers can make a difference in providing a wide variety of alcohol-free options and alternatives during corporate events… so that those who do drink are more aware of recommended healthy limits. This creates a healthier environment, where non-drinkers feel equally valued and welcome, and all staff benefit from a safer workplace.”