One challenge of running a small business is finding the money to compete with the benefits packages offered by the big guys – a challenge that makes it hard to attract and keep the kind of workers that could take you to the next level. You won’t be able to outspend the likes of Microsoft, LA Fitness or Coca-Cola, but you can add some low-cost benefits that show how much you value your team.

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1. Flex Time

This is one of the best options available if your company is task-based instead of appointment-based. So long as the work gets done, it rarely matters when your workers do it. A flex time policy means your employees can sleep on their schedule, catch their kids’ ball games and feel more in control of their daily lives. Better still, it costs you literally nothing – and can be a net gain by letting your people work during their most productive hours.

2. Disability Insurance

Often described as “life insurance’s little brother” disability insurance keeps income flowing into a worker’s family when she’s too hurt or sick to work. All of your team is already covered with this for workplace injuries via workers’ compensation insurance, but this coverage protects them from illness and accidents outside the office. It’s one of the least expensive insurance benefits you can provide, especially if you work through a broker.

3. Eating Together

There’s something important about sharing a meal with people, which is why families gather around the dinner table to celebrate accomplishments and major holidays. Springing for lunch together once a week shows your people that you value them like family, and gives you time to forge the tight connections that will keep them loyal if tempted away by larger companies with bigger budgets. And if you ever require your team to work past dinner on an emergency project, always order in some take-out. It’s only polite.

4. Innovation Days

Companies like Google are already putting this in place, but it’s just as viable for a local shop. The idea is simple: take a day each quarter or month (Google does it the equivalent of once a week) and let your people work on projects other than their primary responsibilities. Set ground rules about what kind of project they can work on, and the legal aspects of who owns the results of the work. Once that’s settled, you have a way for your people to express themselves in their careers while growing your company in unexpected directions.

5. Fitness Lunch

A half hour of exercise can pay off dividends of more than an hour’s worth of extra productivity, but how can you get your employees to hit the gym? Some companies do that by adding 30 minutes to their lunch breaks, provided they use that time to go to the gym or participate in a wellness class. The end result is healthier staff, fewer sick days and more productivity. Everybody wins.

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