Negotiating for perks when raises are off the table

This guest post is from David Lye. David is an expert on novated leasing, which is a “company car” type perk that many Australian companies offer their employees.

In today's uncertain economy, many employers are reluctant to offer raises to their employees. You may be lucky enough to keep your job, but chances are that you may not get a raise, or if you do, it could be a very small raise. However, if you're a hardworking, valuable employee, your boss may be able to offer you some “perks” when a raise isn't an option.

Here are some ideas for perks you can request, as well as some negotiation ideas for each. Good luck!

Vacation days

Vacation days are one of the most popular perks that an employer can offer. So if you can't get a raise, try for extra vacation days. Often times bosses have the ability to grant a few extra days off without any approval from the higher-ups, as they're given ultimate approval for granting time off.

A good negotiating tactic for extra vacation is to explain how extra days off are a win-win. You get some additional time to relax and recharge, and your boss gets a rested, more productive employee in return.

Working from home

With recent advances in technology, “telecommuting” or working from home has become more popular with employers. If your job can be performed remotely, you may be able to ask for the option to telecommute one or two days a week.

To negotiate for this perk, start by talking about how much more productive you are when you aren't being interrupted by your co-workers. Also be sure to mention how much time you spend commuting, explaining that telecommuting just one day a week can save you an hour or two of time that's otherwise wasted behind the wheel. Finally, it may be beneficial to mention the green benefits of telecommuting as well (but only if your company is large enough to care about such things).

Take-home car

A take-home company car can be a great benefit in place of a raise, and in many countries take-home cars (aka company cars) are a standard perk. To negotiate for this perk, let your boss know that you will be able to pick up supplies or drop off products on your way to and from work, which will be more efficient for the company. If you need a vehicle to make sales calls, for example, you will be able to leave right from your house in the morning, thus saving time by not having to go into the office first.

Finally, it's important to understand that having a take-home car over the weekend is often a bit more difficult to arrange, as many business vehicle insurance policies don't allow for regular vehicle use outside of business hours. So don't expect that your company take-home car can replace your personal vehicle.

Loaner computer equipment and electronics

Loaning a company laptop or iPad for personal use can benefit both you and your employer. You will be able to use your company-issued laptop or iPad for whatever you want, while your boss can easily expense an extra computer for the office without doing any paperwork or justifying the expense to anyone.

To negotiate for this expense, mention how you can view work reports, charts and email on your iPad or laptop when you're away from work. Additionally, this same tactic can be used to negotiate for a take-home digital camera or camcorder.

A free smartphone

A company-expensed smartphone is another perk you can negotiate  between you and your boss. It's may be easy for your boss to justify — since you could very well be more productive if you have access to a smartphone when away from the office — and it's a nice perk for you, as buying a new iPhone every year (or whatever smartphone you like) can be expensive.

Just as with the loaner laptop, talk about how this perk will boost your productivity away from the office.

Finally, as you may have noticed, many of these perks can be worked out without getting permission from higher-ups or the human resources department. This is important to understand, as your boss is likely working under a set of budget restrictions and employee policy rules that he or she can't bypass. If you ask for perks that your boss can deliver without high-level approval, you're much more likely to get what you ask for.

When asking for perks, it's important that you think of these extras as a raise that doesn't show up on your check. You don't have to buy computers, phones, pay for your own gas, or cut short your vacation, while your boss gets to hold the line on “no raises” without losing a key employee.

More about...Career

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