Innovative, culture-building perks for your employees

Written by Kaia Vincent
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Employees love added extras, but as a manager I believe these need to be more than just monetary rewards or short-term treats. Books are therefore a perfect perk because reading develops insights – plus it’s fun and relaxing.

50% of the UK population read a book everyday

That’s why every member of the Brevity marketing and PR team has access to Readsters, a book rental and delivery service available in Basingstoke. You get to hire up to 12 books per month for less than £10 per user.

We introduced the perk because it fits well with our values. Reading is not only enjoyable, it stimulates our minds to become more adventurous and creative. It can also act as a stress reliever to ensure we remain balanced.

The team can select both fiction and non-fiction reading material.

One of the books I chose to read last week was Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferris. It asks over 100 well-known people – from Huffington Post creator Arianna Huffington, to adventurer Bear Grylls, and actor Ben Stiller, the same eight questions. There’s some honest answers and genuine wisdom to learn from their  fascinating answers.

What’s interesting is that many of the people who shared an insight into their thoughts seem less obsessed with the materialism of life. If you’d asked these questions in the 1980s, the answers would have been more reflective of power and worth. Today, people from all walks of life realise that money doesn’t buy happiness and you can’t continue to function well in burn-out mode all the time, without damaging your health and wellbeing.

The book is definitely worth a browse and I don’t want to spoil it too much for you, so here are just a few extracts:

[Bear Grylls] In the last five years, what new belief, behavior or habit has improved your life?

Learning to enjoy the process, rather than striving for the future. Sometimes in these jungles or deserts, I am desperately trying to get through it, do my best, work hard, work fast, and get back to my family. But I realised I was spending too much time dreading what was ahead or striving to be out of where I was. Learning to embrace the moment changed a lot for me.

[Ben Stiller] In the last five years, what new belief, behavior or habit has improved your life?

Taking time to breathe when I feel stressed. I will try just to breathe and concentrate on my breath. I find it really relaxing.


And if Tom Ferris had asked me, these would be my answers…

What is the book that has greatly influenced your life?

The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. Being part-Scandinavian and spending lots of time with my Norwegian grandmother when I was younger, I always felt that the culture of our family was very different to those of English families. In Scandinavia, there is a word ‘Lagom’, meaning ‘just enough’. It allowed me to realise that it’s OK not to want so much of the material things in life and you can get much more pleasure from the simple things which costs nothing. Trying to keep up with the Jones’ is exhausting and pointless. I’ve often given this book as a gift.

Lord of the Rings is the best-selling fiction book of all time, selling over 150 million copies.

How has failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a ‘favourite failure’ of yours?

As long as you learn something positive from every failure then there’s still value. We’re all human and make mistakes. But let’s be clear, if you continue to make the same mistake then you’re failing.

In my mid-twenties, I set-up my first business, Planet Marketing. Leaving a safe job and a company I’d worked for over 10 years; I was so excited about my new adventure. But I was ill prepared to be a business owner. I didn’t appreciate how difficult it was to run a business and that opportunity didn’t always go your way. I was young and naïve and in the words of Jamie Oliver “I didn’t really know what I was doing”. The second time around (starting Brevity), I had more experience and the wisdom to make better choices.

What is the one of the best or most worthwhile investment you’ve ever made?

Buying a property. I bought my first flat at 21 – it was a big responsibility at the time. Owning property gives you better financial stability for later life.

In the last five years, what new belief, behavior or habit has improved your life?

Developing my positive thinking. I’ve always been a glass half-full person but understanding that thinking in a positive way does actually bring you more opportunity has really helped me grow Brevity and become a better person. It may sound a bit ‘out there’, but if I get stressed and start wondering why I ever started Brevity in the first place (it happens to every business owner) the phone literally stops ringing. I can’t explain it and I don’t understand it but it’s like I’ve told the universe to leave me alone. I do believe giving off a positive vibe attracts positive energy – and vice-versa.

What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the ‘real world’?

Don’t stay in the same job for long – move up the ranks quickly. If you don’t know what you want to do, try out lots of things until you find the role that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning. Realise that one moment you will feel young and then next thing you’re not – make the most of your youth, but don’t be reckless – be adventurous.

What purchase of £100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)?

Solo Mia clothes. Erika is an independent fashion retailer based in Oakley, Basingstoke. She’s got a real flair and eye for fashion.  I’d really lost interest in clothes because everything in the shops is so dull and boring – there was nothing that looked original. I’d forgotten how much confidence clothes can give you and Erika has helped revive that feeling. I’m very much looking forward to next season’s collection.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?

Walk. I walk for at least an hour every day and this is my stress relief. I go with my son and we chat about anything and everything – physics, religion, school, politics and life in general. I look forward to this chill out time and it ensures that I feel balanced every day.


If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it, what would it say and why?

‘Free hemp bags for your fruit and veg’

It infuriates me that supermarkets turn a blind eye to the levels of wasteful plastic. It’s near impossible to shop for fruit and veg without having to throw away a mass of plastic containers.

We’ve managed to get into the habit of taking reusable bags when we shop, so why can’t we go one step further and take bags for our fruit and veg?

Let’s get the other 50% of the UK population reading

If you’re looking for a new employee perk that has additional wellbeing benefits, check out Readsters. Reading is fantastic way to de-stress and be more creative. There are thousands of books to choose from and Andrei is brilliant at adding new books if you can’t see the one you want. Perfect service for a happy, healthy and creative workplace.

Brevity is a marketing agency based in Hampshire. We offer a range of marketing and PR services for SMES and charities. Check out our case studies and portfolio to see how we’re helping companies across Hampshire.