When it comes to weighing jobs offers, the main thing on most people’s minds is money. And while salary is certainly a major factor, it’s not the only thing on the table when considering a job offer or negotiating your contract. So, we reached out to SoFi career expert Ashley Stahl who gave us some insight on six things you can negotiate outside of salary.
1. Vacation Time
All work and no play will only leave you burnt out, stressed, unhappy and unproductive. And if the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that taking a break from the hustle and bustle of work life will only be beneficial in the long run. But when exactly is the right time to try and get a little more vacation time? “After you’ve been declined for your efforts in negotiating a higher salary,” says Stahl. That means if you can’t get to the dollar amount you want per year, you can always try to get your company to give you more time off. “It’s always good to transition into asking them to reexamine some more ‘soft’ benefits, like vacation time,” reiterates Stahl, as opposed to pressing for just more money. “Most employees do not even use their full annual allotment of vacation days [to begin with],” Stahl explains. “What’s worse is that about 25 percent of Americans don’t take any vacation whatsoever. Of the small number of employees who do take their vacation time, how many struggle to disconnect from email and social media?” Go get that PTO!
2. Remote or hybrid work
Whether your dream company is based in another state, your commute is too long or you want to save on child care by being home with your kids, negotiating for remote or hybrid work is totally acceptable. However, because it has potential to affect the day-to-day operations of a business, it’s important you bring it up as soon as you can. “This is a big ask as far as the impact it has on how you’ll be working, so I suggest you ask questions about it before your job offer comes in,” Stahl advises. “If you ask after the job offer arrives, and they already went through the process of interviewing you for an in-office job, it wouldn’t sit well with the employer.” You also want to make sure you’re asking a company that has a history of allowing remote working. “Do your research and [find out] whether remote work existed at all as part of the company’s dealings with workers pre-pandemic,” Stahl says. “Prepare to explain how your remote or hybrid working will translate into benefits for them.” This is business after all.
3. Flex time
Another perk you can negotiate is flex time. If you know you have to do a school drop or you’re going to school at night and that may affect your hours, ask your employer to give you some wiggle room to complete your tasks. That way, instead of being beholden to the 9-to-5 schedule (or whatever the company hours are) you have a bit more flexibility to do your work and take care of the pressing matters in your personal life. “A traditional workweek is antiquated; it just won't work in 2022,” Stahl states. “A lot of companies are also experimenting with a four-day workweek now, so it’s reasonable to see if that’s an option.” Like working remotely, flex time has the potential to affect how the office runs, so you want to be clear very early on that this is an important benefit for you.
4. Childcare support
Stahl says you don’t have to be bashful at all when inquiring about this benefit since employers understand the toll childcare has taken on parents. “Working parents faced many challenges throughout the pandemic. This has brought conversations about family and childcare benefits to the forefront of corporate America,” she explains. “Single mothers being hit the hardest by the pandemic due to their status as women in the workforce, the expense of childcare plus the pressure to stay at home with their children.” To solve the problem and help employees out, a survey conducted by Sage—a software company that provides small and medium businesses with ways to manage finances, operations and people—revealed that during the pandemic, 27 percent of businesses invested in “non-traditional” benefits including childcare stipends and flexible work arrangements.
5. Home office expenses
Another benefit you don’t have to be shy about asking for. If your new job description requires that you need a bigger desk or pricey device such as a printer while you work at home, feel free to ask about expensing that to the company. “With the evolving landscape of companies asking employees to fully transition to remote work, it’s important that workers don’t take on the financial burden of their home office set up when they don’t have to,” says Stahl. “Early into the pandemic, many large companies publicly supported their newly remote staff members by offering stipends. A survey conducted in the early months of COVID-19 found that one in five companies was committed to helping pay for remote workers’ home office expenses—and this number has been on the rise.”
6. Stock options/equity or a bonus
This one depends, of course, on the company/industry in which you work, but asking for stock options or equity in the business is totally acceptable, per Stahl, especially when they’re not offering a salary that’s congruent to the market. “Asking for stock options or equity is a natural request to make after getting a job offer—especially if the workplace environment is one where other employees are typically offered this,” she assures. In addition, you can also negotiate a bonus so that even if your base salary isn’t up to snuff, you still earn a couple of more dollars at the end of the year.