For some lucky souls, work is enough of a reward in itself. But chances are you work to live rather than the other way around. If you’re caught in a recession net or going up a pay grade isn’t looking likely, here are some other ways you can make working work for you.

Professional development

Do you have a professional development plan in place? Whether you want to brush up your technical skills or work on your public speaking confidence, using your workplace to boost your CV can be a great advantage. Do some research about what you’d like to learn or improve on, and approach your boss with your loftiest plan. Always aim high and go for the most, while knowing in your mind that you’ll settle on splitting the difference. Check out your office policy on professional development and see if they have any courses on offer that you could benefit from.

Flexitime and working from home

Flexible working arrangements are becoming the norm in many companies, particularly in tech and startup firms. If your workplace hasn’t caught on it might just be that nobody has thought to mention it! A couple of pointers before you start advocating for your own flexitime. The first thing is to figure out what you would use it for. Do you just want to sleep in more often? If so that’s great, but remember you’ll be making that time up in the evenings. Conversely, if you’re a morning person, maybe coming in earlier suits you better and leaving at 3pm instead of 5pm means more hours of sunshine to enjoy (and less road rage). Do you want to work from home one day a week? If so, do some soul searching and figure out if you’re really going to be able to “work” at home. It’s one thing to put a few loads of washing through while keeping on top of your tasks, but if you’re considering juggling childcare with work, definitely give it a trial run. That shit is hard. And no, working from home doesn’t mean you can spend your Wednesdays catching up on Game of Thrones instead of getting things done.

Gym memberships

Some gyms have corporate rates for employees of certain companies. If your workplace isn’t partnering with any gyms, find out which gyms in your area have corporate rates and start an in-office campaign. The best person to approach would be anyone whose remit involves wellbeing – it might be HR, it might be a health and safety officer, or it may even be your work social club. Find out if there are any other gym bunnies in your office and find out where they work out. It’s always great to give a gym a trial before you join though. There’s no use advocating for a perk if you turn up and find you hate it. Gym traps to watch out for: small locker rooms, not enough treadmills, cramped weights area. It’s also a good idea to find a gym that is very close to your workplace, so that daytime workouts actually work with your schedule.

Kitchen perks

Some offices provide black tea and instant coffee and cow’s milk, and that’s it. Other offices hold lavish morning teas or are blessed with a couple of bakers who bring food in on the regular. If your office is somewhere closer to the bare basics end, maybe it’s time for a shakeup. Perhaps the milk order needs to include soy or almond milk for vegans and lactose intolerant colleagues. Maybe there’s room for some herbal tea varieties. Maybe, just maybe, some real coffee would be nice for a change! If you have a social club, why not talk to them about holding a coffee tasting session, and get the facilities manager involved so you can start a new order with a local ethical coffee company. There might be room in the budget for fresh fruit to be available in the kitchen area. Who knows, perhaps a real coffee machine wouldn’t be too much to ask for… a guy can dream. Kitchens can be tricky places in the office, and you don’t want to be putting a load of cleaning expectation on people. However, the kitchen can also be the beating heart of the workplace, and extra kitchen perks can boost morale and wellbeing overall.

Photos: Getty