Aussie Workers Want Free Food, Not Free Tech

Being provided with a mobile phone or tablet is often viewed as a desirable workplace perk. The logic of that approach has often seemed questionable to me, and it seems Australian workers agree: we're more likely to demand free office food than to be supplied with technology.

The 2012 HR Beat Survey of Australian HR managers (commissioned by SuccessFactors) identified common trends when professional seek to negotiate extra benefits as part of their compensation package). Top of the list was free meals or drinks (31 per cent), then tablets or smart phones for personal use (17 per cent), time off for volunteer activities (16 per cent) and free massages (9 per cent). I've never met anyone who routinely gets free massages at work outside of Google US (which offers some very extreme benefits including getting paid after you die), but I guess it doesn't hurt to ask. The survey suggests we're not scared to, with 86 per cent of us seeking additional benefits beyond the original offer when a job is on the table.

There was also an evident gender split when it came to job roles. According to the HR managers surveyed, women are more likely to ask for flexible work locations and hours, while men are more likely to ask for extra money or a promotion.

Any good free food going in your office? Tell us in the comments.


    I'll take the free tech. If there's an easily accessible supply of delicious food at work, I'll probably spend the entire day snacking.

    Food for me thanks. The money I don't spend on lunch everyday can go towards tech of my choosing! ^_^

    Despite being a little startup-like software company in Melbourne (think complete opposite of the Google campus) we have all sorts of free food offerings.

    There is the usual stuff:
    - various coffees, teas, hot chocolates, chai, etc
    - coke, coke zero, and whatever other soft drinks you request
    - biscuits, lollies, noodles, canned food etc for quick meals
    - bread, spreads, cheeses, meats for sandwiches (toasted or cold)

    Then we add in some extras such as
    - many chili and other asian sauces
    - equipment and ingredients to make sushi and rice paper rolls
    - fresh bread, cakes, pizzas etc from the bakery
    - ice creams and callipos
    - virtually whatever you want!

    The last thing we want is for staff to feel hungry, or to have to stress about making lunch before they leave for work, so we offer it all to them. The system has never been abused. The kitchen is kept clean. Everyone works hard to keep the perks!

      I can vouch for this man. That kitchen was always stocked to the brim!

    You don't have to give the food back when you finish employment there. Also, enough food is essential for me to work to the best of my ability, so not having to worry about that cost of that would be nice. Tech costs are far easier to manage, as they're one-off.

    Free food would be amazing. We get a box of fruit delivered on monday mornings, but it's gone by about 9am.
    Massages kick arse - my old workplace had a couple of masseuses that would walk around once a week and give you a 5-10 minute neck rub at your desk - best thing ever. (I don't work there any more because they pay half as much as their competitors, but free massage!!!)

      You realise that they probably paid you less because they had to pay for the masseuses, right?

    ideal for me would be the time off for volunteer activities. too many workplaces don't allow emergency services volunteers to attend incidents any more. i understand they have to draw some kind of a line so you are still productive but in the end the community is the one missing out.

      That's a shame. I'm fortunate enough to work from home and my employer has no problem with me having a second emergency job with NSW Fire Rescue retained.

    Public service = no free food or drinks beyond access to hot and cold water.

    I know! I was as surprised as you when I started here.

      Good pay, job security and other perks though? ;)

        I think you mean average pay, when I left the public service I instantly got a $30k payrise for moving down to a junior position.

        Job security? Are you kidding? Have you seen the size of the holes that Campbell Newman has dug and now proceeded to fill with the corpses of laid off public service folk?!

        Good pay, OKish super, flexible work hours, and you're fired.

        I'll take my well paid, excellent super, very flexible work hours, and here's a raise every year just because job over anything in the public service any day!!!

    Freebies are great, unless they come at the cost of something else.

    A well known australian company that I previously worked for (probably the same one as Jake D above) provided lots of goodies (massages, free cake, free nespresso coffee pods, free alcohol every friday). However when these are only there to keep you happy because you are treated like dirt and underpaid by up to 40-50% - you start to question the real cost and benefit of this scheme.

    Best solution - keep your staff happy by engaging them and actually getting to know them. Then you can provide the leeway they require for a perfect work-life balance.

    Free Coffee, Fake coffee (decaf), Tea, Sugar (both white and raw), and milk (full cream and lite).
    Access to free hot Water for coffee, and cold water from the tap.
    And two vending machines.
    Would like free Food, but I am happy with the above.

    I get a work phone , free pizza lunch on a tuesday, and plenty of good bear and whisky on a friday. Pretty good really :)

    Our office in Melbourne (around 400 staff) get neck and shoulder massages at our desk once a month, and free coffee. Along with a number of other benefits. Food would be good though.

    We get free tea/coffee here, but premium stuff in a very expensive machine you would normally find in a coffee shop. Also get free fruit every week and biscuits/chips etc. No free tech for me but the company does have a free staff wifi, slow but it is unrestricted so you can do whatever you want on it.

    I work casual at a resort, and until recently, the chefs were more than happy to make us up a little something, or when there was a wedding slip in an extra main meal for each staff member, so we could eat on out 10 hour no break shifts, but now the management has cut down, we don't even get coffee or postmix soft drink for free, no more smoke breaks, even when its quiet, and even after a buffet, we aren't allowed to eat the leftovers still in the serving trays unless we pay for it. No wonder all of us have our resumes out elsewhere!

    My boss shouts everyone in the office(7 including him) a crust pizza for lunch, nearly every week

    I'd prefer more money over gadgets. That way I can buy what I want and keep it even after I've left.

    A few of my previous jobs have had free food or drinks. I worked at a Chinese restaurant once, and if I wanted I could get a free lunch pack at the end of each shift. Then when I worked at a golf club I could have as much soft drink as I wanted. More recently though, my previous employer supplied tea, coffee, and biscuits for everyone, and even went so far as supplying pies or cakes for the entire office when it was someone's birthday. Not only that, but the other staff would regularly bring in stuff for everyone to share, such as biscuits, chocolates, and home-made slices and cakes, as well as home grown fruit and veggies.

    I have a staff canteen... with $6.50 hot meals daily many of the single workers get two (one take-away for dinner). We also have Tea Ladies and tea/coffee/milk and biscuits but we pay $5.00per week for that...

    i worked @ a crown casino as a graphic designer for a bit & was totally wowed by the huge almost; food court sized staff dining area with some pretty amazing food on offer.. kind of made the daily grind alright (oh & they had a great italian coffee machine in the office as well!)

    At Warcom, we always have plenty of food and drinks available for the team and we're always up for pizza Friday, and Maccas Wednesday!

    We also have a guy who rocks up every Friday with a van full of various types of booze, chips and chocolate bars!

    - Paul.

    I work in a small business, less than 10 employees. We get free tea and coffee (good stuff), biscuits, well supplied staff room with toastie machine/mini oven etc, pizza during staff meetings, lunch on special occasions and cakes on people's birthdays. Plus we have wifi at work with no restrictions. Oh, and the boss is shouting us all a weekend away at a beach house for the weekend! It's a pretty sweet deal.

    we get coffee, tea, milo
    as well as a monthly biscuit order (30 odd packets). so many shapes, mint slices, and tim tams..
    no wonder im fat.

    FIFO mining - free food and accomodation.

    Free Red Bull
    Free Coffee from an actual machine

    I don't care about free food as I normally only eat salad/fruit for lunch, which is cheap.

    I get nothing. My boss offers nothing and negotiating is not an option. The pay is very low for a solid 40hr week on my feet and there is no extras or freebies to make life a little easier. They give nothing at all and expect everything in return. The world revolves around their success and everyone else can go to hell.
    Oh, ... and I lied.... the water out of the tap is free... during my short break time.

    Subsidised canteens are the way to go, healthy, properly portioned meals, (you could always get a schnitzel wit h chips if you want to be a fatty) and it just helps out so much, I eat lunch as my main meal and sandwiches and salad for dinner and it's cheaper and saves so much time.

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