Whether you’re actively looking for a new job or you’re simply keeping an eye out for a great opportunity, it’s easy to focus on those more modern office perks: unlimited PTO, a dog-friendly office, free snacks, office parties, etc. While flashy, and admittedly fun, job seekers often place a little too much emphasis on these “benefits.”
Take a moment to consider how some of these policies actually affect your life at work and your career going forward; the truth is that whether you purchased that bag of chips or grabbed them from the office kitchen, you still did the same work, you interacted with the same people, and you left the office at the same time. These outside influences, while they may have an affect on your mood for a second, won’t affect your happiness at work in the long-term.
If you’re looking for meaningful satisfaction in your job, consider looking for a workplace that offers these “perks” instead:
Support for flexible scheduling
Yes, unlimited paid time off (PTO) sounds great. But in reality, this type of policy is often used to actually get you to work more. Employees end up taking fewer days off than if they were allotted a certain number of days, and they may be expected to be online while on vacation. According to our 2019 Career Outlook, 92% of professionals make an active effort to maintain a healthy work-life balance. But, 45% of professionals feel that their company does not promote a healthy work-life balance.
Regardless of the PTO policy, be sure that you’re looking for a workplace that actually supports flexibility and work-life balance. Whether it’s encouraging employees to use their PTO or allowing staff to work from home as-needed, a great flexible scheduling or PTO policy has more to do with the company culture than simply what the policy says.
To make sure that you find a workplace that supports you in seeking a positive work-life balance, inquire about the company culture during the interview process to understand more about how employees and leadership within the organization view flexibility.
Professional development opportunities
For younger professionals especially, it is crucial to find an employer who will invest in your growth. If you are not learning something new and building upon your skillset, it will be more challenging to move up in your career. Additionally, professionals today aren’t necessarily interested in simply doing the same work day-in and day-out. Part of the fun of professional development is challenging yourself and learning that you’re more capable than you thought!
To find an employer who offers meaningful professional development, it’s important that you speak to the person who would be your direct supervisor during the interview process. This person will help you prioritize your day-to-day tasks, and they can give you the most insight on what you can expect to learn during your tenure. Additionally, be sure that you ask about the possibility of earning a promotion as well as potential career paths you might take within the organization. This is a great indicator to determine how much the company invests in employee growth.
Support from leadership
One of the most critical elements to your happiness at work is your direct manager. This person has the most control over your experience at work; their decisions, attitude, and working style will all affect your daily life. Additionally, your manager has the power to let you know how much you matter to the company—not just as an employee, but as a person.
Think back to all of your previous jobs. It is likely that the jobs where you felt most satisfied had a lot to do with the people surrounding you and how they made you feel. When it comes down to it, you want to feel valued and supported by the company. Whether or not you feel valued as a person may likely determine whether you feel satisfied in your role.
As a result, be sure that you are able to speak with your potential supervisor during the interview process. While it is difficult to determine someone’s personality in a one-hour meeting, you can ask questions about:
- Their working style
- What a typical day would look like for you
- The culture of your team
- What kind of impact your role has on the organization