It's interesting to note how the perks that accompany a fair salary have changed over the years. Though I was too young to take advantage of it at the time, most bank workers of a certain age would be aware of a huge historical perk in the form of a 2.5% mortgage, at a time when interest rates were nudging 10% year in, year out. Additionally, you could get a zero-interest train season ticket loan, which wasn't back then rivalling your mortgage in size. I don't remember them being taxed as benefits in kind then also, or maybe that's the misty water coloured memory of the way I was.

The company car was also a major perk for some time and has been taxed not quite out of site but certainly some way off in the distance. I remember receiving my first company car many moons ago and thinking I had made it and I also remember receiving my third, brand new, as I commenced work in a new role, delivered to my house.
As I got home late and left early I didn't get to drive it. My wife did though.
In fact, someone ploughed into the back of her on her maiden journey in that vehicle. Not her fault and no one got injured but on my second day in a new position, I couldn't find it within myself to report the fact that the new car they went to a great deal of trouble to arrange, had been damaged and I hadn't actually driven it.

A company pension used to be in the perk side of benefits but is now a legal requirement, so what are employees looking for in 2018?

We surveyed a cross section of our readers and to be honest the results were not that surprising. Not a bean bag or chute from the first to the ground floor, anywhere.

Flexible working practices were up there but although the legal framework is in place, there is probably a generation of older managers that have a natural distrust for employees working off site. There are of course networking, security and own device issues to be dealt with, that makes it an easy delay until IT people have caught up with their never-ending backlog of urgent projects.

The main non-cash perk that prospective employees are looking for at the moment, is to belong to a company health scheme.

The reason isn't too difficult to find.

The National Health Service is not keeping up with the demands being made of it and this starts at the front line - your doctor's surgery, where you can't get an appointment easily and let's hope the doctor guesses what's wrong with you in your allotted ten minutes. This sums up in my mind a large part of what is wrong with the health service. They do not have the resources to look in depth into your symptoms, so are more likely to go for the national average top result, rather than run a series of expensive lab tests that take up time and cost money.

Wind up in A&E and you could end up on the missing persons list and again do they have the resources to investigate what is really wrong with you, rather than look for the most obvious.

There are thousands of very talented and knowledgeable people in the National Health Service and probably what they need is thousands more of the same to take the pressure off. Or a system of working that makes better use of today's technology.

You don't have to look that far around your friends and family to find situations that have gone badly wrong, sometimes irretrievably, where hospital working conditions could have had a bearing on the diagnosis and of course treatment.  If the National Health Service is indeed 100,000 staff short, then I would get a private or company health scheme on board pretty quick.

What are the options?

There are many schemes out there that cover individuals and families and your employer might fund one of those for you having negotiated a group package that makes the overall cost quite reasonable. These can be all inclusive, covering dental and eyecare or more basic depending on cost and age of the employee.  Being able to speak to someone out of surgery hours and not having to dial at the allotted time to be told after ten minutes repeat dialling "there is nothing left for today we can fit you in a week next Tuesday" will convince anyone that this is a very serious benefit and gives long term confidence that if you do fall ill you can have quick and high quality treatment.

There are plenty of options out there and they can be tailored to the staff number you have so there is no reason not to offer this kind of benefit as an employer. Furthermore, if you think that bad health is the domain of the elderly, think again. I have seen some very serious illnesses inflicted on people in their 20s upwards that may well have had different outcomes if they had access to early and comprehensive medical treatment.

I am not a hypochondriac, I visit my GP yearly at best, but I have got in the habit of having a very detailed private check-up every other year, a vigilance triggered by a good friend of mine having a heart attack at the age of 37. It's a cost I have easily come to accept that gives me and my family substantial peace of mind.

New Business works with very reputable companies in this area but make sure as an employer, or an individual that you do your homework and sign up with someone that offers a good package at the right cost and has a spotless reputation. Looking after your employees' health and peace of mind and enabling them to access treatment when they need it will ultimately save you money through reducing workdays lost to sickness, the benefit that keeps on benefiting