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IT Workers To Get Fewer Perks, No Free Coffee

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the back-to-your-oars-slave dept.

Businesses 620

dasButcher writes "While the economy is showing signs of recovery and tech stocks posted double- and triple-digit gains in 2009, IT workers are facing a less hospitable workplace in the coming year. Many employers say they're going to continue trimming budgets, particularly in human resources. Rather than giving up head count, they're planning to trim 401k contributions, eliminate bonuses, curtail travel and, dare we say, shut off the free coffee (it wasn't that good anyway)."

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the school district model (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654554)

institution purchases even MORE gear because buying is from last years budget.

institution reduces IT staff because salaries are from this years budget.

no coffee? just be happy there even IS an IT position.

Re:the school district model (4, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654764)

Yeah, we've gotta be more concerned about feeding that CEO machine...

Re:the school district model (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654830)

I'm not sure why I would complain about no free coffee...

My work never supplied that :-(

Re:the school district model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30654878)

yah, but don't you get discounts on your burgers?

Re:the school district model (3, Funny)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655136)

Nope, not a burger joint within two miles of here even if they did.

Do you get your bridge for free, perchance? Does it have a good goat throughput?

Re:the school district model (5, Insightful)

SnapShot (171582) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655078)

IMHO, getting rid of free coffee is a huge mistake. In the scheme of things it's a tiny expense and you're going to lose far more in terms of people bickering about the coffee fund, people running out "on break" to buy coffee, and the basic office environment.

Re:the school district model (4, Interesting)

TheSeventh (824276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655130)

At the company where I work, they cut off the free coffee last summer, for a cost savings of $80,000 a year. Not exactly a tiny expense, basically one engineer's job.

Now if we can just get that one engineer whose job it saved to get everybody coffee . . .

Re:the school district model (2, Funny)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655188)

That sounds sort of like the plot of a Dilbert cartoon,. . .

Re:the school district model (4, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655234)

My guess though is that if you're spending $80k per year on coffee, then it's for a hell of a lot of people, and that $80k expense (and a single job) IS tiny on that scale. If an $80k expenditure costs a job but improves morale of a few thousand employees enough to make up for it in productivity gains, then it's the right thing to do.

No worries about the coffee: (5, Funny)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655050)

You can always fit a small refrigerator inside of a std. rack (lay a couple of 2x4's across the bottom to hold it up, and make sure the rack doors are on it, front and back). Put your own coffee maker on top of it, and you're set. Tape a few Dell server front panels to the inside of the rack door while you're at it. If you're really into disguises, wire up a few LED's to those panels.

Now if only there was a way to squeeze a big-screen TV in there... and no, not sideways.

Re:the school district model (5, Insightful)

farrellj (563) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655142)

Back in the olden days of Computers...like 10 years ago...I was one of the many who was against unionization of IT workers. Now, having been badly treated by both small companies, and one of the largest single-digit level manufacturers of computers, I see that I was wrong. Today's 'sweatshops' are in computer assembly factories, and in call centers. They both use Skinner like systems with seemingly random rewards and punishments to keep people in line.

These days, digging ditches is a more profitable and satisfying job...fully unionized, with guaranteed vacation and benefits, and a grievance system that actually works!

ttyl
          Farrell ...note, I don't dig ditches.

So? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30654568)

Every job is different. Every career is different. Things ebb and flow. For a long time, IT workers were spoiled primadonna. Now they're just another cost center. Guess what, the economy is jacked up. Budget cuts have to happen. IT is a necessity, but so is efficiency, cost control, etc. Welcome to the real world you big f'ing crybabies.

Re:So? (4, Insightful)

armanox (826486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655124)

Now they're just another cost center. .

No, we (IT) has been viewed as a cost center since the 90s. And sometimes as glorified janitors...

Free coffee? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30654572)

What free coffee?

Re:Free coffee? (1)

poxa (1523425) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655020)

I never had free coffee either - I pay for around 4 every day:D. And I definitely look forward to telecommuting and flexible schedules... so bring it on!

I wish they would (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654600)

At the shitehole where I work the free coffee is bloody Nescafe instant.

Re:I wish they would (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654654)

Nasty instant Coffee?

That's nothing. Where I work, we have go outside, and chew the leaves and beans off coffee bushes ourselves.

Re:I wish they would (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30654752)

That's nothing. Where I work, we have go outside, and chew the leaves and beans off coffee bushes ourselves.

The free coffee at work is so weak I've taken to bringing in my own chocolate-covered coffee beans and just crunching on them. My cow orker in the next cubicle hates me, though. *crunch crunch*.

Re:I wish they would (2, Funny)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654866)

Why do you have your own person to turn cows into orks in the next cubicle? Is that a big thing where you work?

Re:I wish they would (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655070)

Sounds like his company is cross-breeding cows with orks, to create an army worthy of Mordor, but without violating Saruman's Uruk-hai patent.

Re:I wish they would (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655108)

Or maybe an army you can make hamburgers out of later? It would certainly beat having to pay their post-service medical bills.

Re:I wish they would (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654802)

I wouldn't be complaining about the tropical environment, I am in florida right now, the palm trees are encrusted ice, and my Bermuda shorts just are not sufficient.

Re:I wish they would (4, Funny)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654826)

Nasty instant Coffee?

That's nothing. Where I work, we have go outside, and chew the leaves and beans off coffee bushes ourselves.

Lucky sod! Your coffee's fresher than everyone's!

Re:I wish they would (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654886)

Nasty instant Coffee?

That's nothing. Where I work, we have go outside, and chew the leaves and beans off coffee bushes ourselves.

Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad and our mother would kill us and dance about on our graves singing Hallelujah.

Re:I wish they would (1)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654980)

What about the half a teaspoon of cold poison for dinner ?

Re:I wish they would (1)

der_joachim (590045) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654688)

At the shitehole where I work I bought myself a jar of Nescafe instant, because the free coffee is even worse!

Re:I wish they would (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654800)

Lord...that's beyond vile if it's THAT bad.

No Coffee = No Code (2)

glaese (1238130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654608)

I know many programmers whose fingers can't move unless well lubricated with caffene :-)

Re:No Coffee = No Code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30654694)

Not being able to function without caffeine is not something to be proud of.

Re:No Coffee = No Code (1)

Alarindris (1253418) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654736)

No kidding, it's like bragging about your 5th of scotch a day habit. If you need it to function, you have a problem and should cut back or quit.

Re:No Coffee = No Code (1)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654782)

Well I can't function until my first red bull and vodka, what does that say?

Re:No Coffee = No Code (2, Funny)

Alarindris (1253418) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654892)

You're a musician? ;)

Re:No Coffee = No Code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30655058)

You Sir are my hero!

Re:No Coffee = No Code (5, Funny)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655040)

If you need it to function, you have a problem and should cut back or quit.

I need oxygen to function, but I'm worried about cutting back or quitting. I'm told the withdrawal symptoms are pretty bad.

Re:No Coffee = No Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30654762)

Many people suffer from this phenomenon, not just coders... Your statement is still correct, though.

Re:No Coffee = No Code (2, Interesting)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655056)

On the flipside, caffeine, in moderate doses, enhances mental focus, and for developers, that can be a real boon (I work just fine without caffeine, but if I have to buckle down for an intense coding session, a little caffeine and a pair of isolating headphones is, hands down, the best way for me to get in the flow and stay there for a prolonged period of time).

As long as they... (1)

sjonke (457707) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654616)

... don't take away the Hot Coffee, I'm fine with it.

Re:As long as they... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30655116)

As long as they don't take away the hot grits and Natalie Portman, I'm fine with it...

Oh, wait... :(

Yep.. (1)

Bearded Frog (1562519) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654648)

My company has done all this already except eliminating the free coffee... that will be the last straw. To quote office space "I'll set the building on fire" (not really though)

Paging Mr. Vader - something slipping through (5, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654656)

The more you screw your employees, the more they will find ways to screw you. Turn off Gmail and Slashdot? Fine, I'll take a once-an-hour smoke break. Hack my 401k? I'll sit and stare at the ceiling. Bust by balls about travel costs? See if I don't have a "family thing" next time and can't go. People will take what they feel (rightly or wrongly) is their due, whether you give it to them or not.

Re:Paging Mr. Vader - something slipping through (0, Flamebait)

unformed (225214) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654820)

If the company's only options are laying you off or cutting benefits to save costs, suck it up and be happy you still have a job.

If you think you can do better, feel free to walk.

Re:Paging Mr. Vader - something slipping through (2, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655134)

Filthy Communist. Doing a half assed job is the American Way [youtube.com] .

Re:Paging Mr. Vader - something slipping through (3, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655228)

That's the situation I'm in right now. Our bonuses have been cut 3 years consecutively now. We've always paid for our own coffee. As for travel, they understand that if they don't pay the costs, we aren't going. Only because it'd be illegal for them to do so.

Yeah, the biggest part of it is that the company is EXPANDING. We've opened 6 new locations last year. Easy to buy property in these hard times. But they just can't seem to afford bonuses this Christmas.

But they know that if I were to walk out, it'd be tough to find a job.

Re:Paging Mr. Vader - something slipping through (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654840)

It seems particularly counterproductive to do so on the really cheap; but warm and fuzzy, nonmonetary perks. In even modest quantities, the unit cost of a cup of mediocre coffee isn't quite zero, but it sure isn't high. Certainly lower than the per-unit cost(either for you or for your employees) of having them nipping out to Starbucks for 15 minutes, rather than the kitchen for 5).

Re:Paging Mr. Vader - something slipping through (1, Insightful)

arkham6 (24514) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654872)

Please.

You are at work to work, you are not at work to read slashdot and gmail.

You have this awful sense of entitlement. Free coffee? Have to justify travel expenses? C'mon the company does not exist to serve you, you exist to work for them and provide value at a minimum of expense.

The companies responsibility is to its stakeholders to provide maximum profit. Employees are the largest expense a company has, so in lean times like these, they have to cut spending of all expenses to survive.

So suck it up and be happy you have a job, and not be part of the 10 percent who wish they had one.

Re:Paging Mr. Vader - something slipping through (4, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654938)

I bet you also think that your employer "pays half" of your Social Security tax. All those things I mentioned, which you classify as perks, are part of the whole package - your salary, your benefits, your coffee, it all equals X dollars per year. If they remove one or more of those, its a pay cut, pure and simple.

I earn my job, which is why I have one. Do you ?

Re:Paging Mr. Vader - something slipping through (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654972)

You have this awful sense of entitlement. Free coffee? Have to justify travel expenses? C'mon the company does not exist to serve you, you exist to work for them and provide value at a minimum of expense.

No, we really don't exist to work for companies and provide them with maximum value at minimum expense. Thinking we do... now that's an awful sense of entitlement.

Re:Paging Mr. Vader - something slipping through (2, Insightful)

arkham6 (24514) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655086)

Exist may have been a wrong term. Try "You are at your job to work for them...."

Re:Paging Mr. Vader - something slipping through (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30655212)

I am at my job to exchange my skills (brain time; me thinking about your problem), for money and benefits.

I will attempt to do so at the rate the market will bear.

If the company wants to lowball their skills vendor; the one with whom they've had a long-term positive relationship; the one who has institutional knowledge that helps the vendor understand their unique business needs ... that's up to the company.

You may find somebody else to put at my desk, but you will *never* be able to replace me. That's why you pay me the big bucks.

Re:Paging Mr. Vader - something slipping through (1)

system1111 (1527561) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655098)

I can't tell if there was sarcasm in this or not. If not makes me sad panda. Seriously its the little things that make people happy and keep them that way. The less happy you make them the less productive they will be. And the easier they will become targets to get sniped by other companies Which do you think costs more in the long run that cup of coffee or the lost productivity/retraining? Ugh don't make me throwup with the stakeholders line. Because praising the almighty stake holders for that short-term near quarter bump has no long term implications Companies have this awful sense of entitlement when it comes to taking advantage of there workers

Re:Paging Mr. Vader - something slipping through (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30655192)

You must be a manager that micromanages.

Re:Paging Mr. Vader - something slipping through (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30655222)

you are a tool.

Re:How to get a payrise without asking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30654874)

The easiest way to get a pay rise is to simply cut down time you actually work at work :) Want 10% rise? Then either leave 45 minutes earlier or spend that time browing (if someone is timing your work).

It's An Employer's Market (5, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654936)

Twenty years ago, companies jumped-up IT guys and made them "Web Masters" -- coders, server maintainers, content creators and (in their own minds) designers -- giving them six figure salaries. Every company, no matter how small, felt it needed to have a "server room" and maintain their e-mail service locally. The Marketing secretary always needed help figuring out how to print her boss's agenda out of Lotus Organizer.

Times changed.

Now, companies buy website templates for sixty bucks non-exclusive (three grand exclusive) and they're sitting in a server room at a place called Dreamhost or Hostgator. The content is maintained via a CMS run by the Marketing secretary. Employers and employees are using Gmail and other cloud-based e-mail systems because the lines between personal and work IT space have become so blurred. Nobody needs help printing anymore, because an entire generation has been raised on the Internet and personal computer systems.

People will take what they feel (rightly or wrongly) is their due, whether you give it to them or not.
And employers will replace them with 20-something go-getters with better attitudes and more up-to-date skills, and at half the salary.

Re:Paging Mr. Vader - something slipping through (2, Interesting)

assertation (1255714) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654976)

Sounds like a great attitude for making yourself unhappy in your job and/or becoming unemployed.

I agree with you, employers can't enforce the enthusiasm and company loyalty that promotes better productivity, but they can certainly chip away at it by taking away things.

Re:Paging Mr. Vader - something slipping through (5, Insightful)

Another, completely (812244) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655052)

The travel expenses thing has gotten crazy for me. It's like the accountants think the company is doing me a favour letting me go to an exciting foreign hotel, experience the interior of exotic taxis, and meet the charming foreign customs officers. I do not consider it a perk, and being treated as guilty until proven innocent in claiming back the expensive "approved" hotel (instead of a more affordable and convenient one that's not on the list) is just enough to let me accept the less productive option of constant telephone meetings with people whose faces I have never seen.

That is, I suppose, their goal. Reduced overhead looks good, while lost business and reduced productivity just looks like market forces that are being proactively addressed by more careful attention to reducing expenses. The accountants are taking important action to tighten belts and address the failing ability of the business divisions to deliver top-line growth. The damage they do to the company actually looks like a responsible way to address the business situation. I think they have cause and effect backwards, but it's their decision to make, not mine.

On the other hand... (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655144)

Try working for yourself and providing all those things. You'll soon realize that they're not all that cheap.

Having worked both in large corps and now for myself, it's completely worth it to me to work for myself and try the best I can to provide all those things on my own. I have no worries of stakeholders. Just my family and my clients' happiness.

But, I realize that not everyone likes or is even capable of working for themselves (not a slam - some people jut don't like to/won't/can't do any sort of administrative work that's necessary when you work for yourself).

I can still... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30654698)

...read your email.

You kill the Joe... (2, Funny)

Commander South (1139931) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654704)

You make some mo'

WORKERS TO POWER! (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654726)

For international socialist revolution to sweep away capitalist barbarism! Re-forge the Fourth International!

Lower 401k = Lower Pay (1)

beckje01 (1216538) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654740)

In my mind at least if the company reduces there contributions to the 401k I would see it as a pay cut. While it would be small I would still take it that way.

Hacking off your nose to spite your face (4, Insightful)

Zey (592528) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654760)

Anywhere that would cut out coffee from the budget is quite frankly insane. It's a minuscule expense compared to the HR budget and improves productivity dramatically when people would otherwise be flagging (early mornings for night owls, afternoons for early birds).

The ability to provide free, legal performance enhancing drugs is one of the few negligible-cost productivity boost techniques available. You'd have to be both petty and highly incompetent as a manager to do away with it.

Re:Hacking off your nose to spite your face (1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654838)

I thought the same thing when I read the summary. There is a reason companies provide a stimulant drug to their employees for free.

Re:Hacking off your nose to spite your face (1)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655182)

It's *always* harder to take something away that you used to give people than it is to lay out the ground rules from day 1, explaining it's not a "freebie".

Where I work, they've had a policy as long as anyone here can remember where coffee isn't free. Rather, the company supplies it, but expects all the coffee-drinkers to contribute a monthly fee towards it. If you don't contribute to the "coffee fund", you're banned from the coffee maker.

Personally, I thought it was rather petty and senseless -- but I simply shrugged and said "Ok... whatever." and didn't ever drink the company coffee. I just bring in my own (which is better stuff anyway), when I feel like it.

I guess management thinks they scored another small "cost savings" by running things this way ... and perhaps they did. All I know is, people are odd about things like this. If we used to give it away free and someone changed the policy to the current one, you'd hear all sorts of complaining and moaning. But as it is, everyone seems to be fine with the status quo. Go figure.

No bonuses? (2, Interesting)

jimbobborg (128330) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654766)

I haven't received a bonus in about two years. It was a $1000 check. And the only reason I got that little gift is that I MADE money for my company. One of the perks of being a contractor for a small company. Of course, that contract ended, so I went to work for a larger IT company, and haven't received a bonus since. Working directly for a company is nice, but contracting pays better.

Re:No bonuses? (1)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654906)

I haven't received a bonus in about two years. It was a $1000 check. And the only reason I got that little gift is that I MADE money for my company. One of the perks of being a contractor for a small company. Of course, that contract ended, so I went to work for a larger IT company, and haven't received a bonus since. Working directly for a company is nice, but contracting pays better.

I thought that if you're a contractor, you're the company you work for. So if there are no bonuses, shouldn't you complain to your management?

Re:No bonuses? (1)

oh-dark-thirty (1648133) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654996)

I haven't received a bonus in about two years. It was a $1000 check. And the only reason I got that little gift is that I MADE money for my company. One of the perks of being a contractor for a small company. Of course, that contract ended, so I went to work for a larger IT company, and haven't received a bonus since. Working directly for a company is nice, but contracting pays better.

I was a self-employed IT consultant/contractee for almost 10 years before I saw the writing on the wall 2 years ago...so I got myself a steady job in a smallish mfg. company, which by the way is the cheapest-ass industry you can ever work in, trust me on this... Although I miss the freedom and independence of being on my own, and I think it's ridiculous that I get the evil eye for walking in 3 minutes late, having a predictable paycheck is kind of nice for a change. We get free coffee (Folgers!), insurance with a reasonable kick-in, a 401k (no match last year), and that's about it. My 'bonus' check was $700 this year, which is a fraction of a percent of my actual salary... And they call me one of the lucky ones.

Some of us already have had cuts (1)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654768)

Bonuses, what are those? I don't think I have ever seen one of those.

Seriously though, where I work, we get a 401(k), insurance, and free coffee. That is it.

that has been going for a long time (2, Interesting)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654776)

Perk decrease has been going for a long time since dotbomb. In my previous company they used to have all kinds of free snacks (bagels, jams, cream cheese, fruits, salads) and happy hour with free hot food every Friday, then one sunny day it all ended abruptly, only caffeinated coffee remained (that reminded me of the practice of banana companies of the XIX century that encouraged workers to chew coca leaves).

I work for government now and we do not have any free food at all. Good thing is that people can bring all kind of personal electric equipment like toasters, microwave ovens, fridges. We have kitchens on each floor where all this stuff is stored. I personally have a tea maker, an espresso maker and a coffee grinder in my office.

It's better this way, guys.

In a Time When.... (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654842)

In a time when IT work for actual money is scarce, jobs outsourced and its easier to buy a new computer than fix the old one, one must look to their other talents for a living. I personally am handcrafting guitars while looking for a b.s. warehouse job. I can turn a jazz archtop over for $5k minimum. Till then I need work to buy my own coffee which is better than coffee service crap anyway.

Fine, but I want more vacation (4, Interesting)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654856)

I would sacrifice all of those perks for more paid time off. HP offers new employees something like 12 days PTO and then it schedules 10 days of forced shutdowns per year to get accumulated PTO off the books. This means any new employee gets 2, count them, 2 days to schedule at their own convenience. That's deeply disrespectful. (I don't work at HP but I have friends that do).

You're lucky - everyone else has been there (3, Interesting)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654870)

We've long had a person head up a 'coffee club', collecting from the java
junkies on the floor every month. Enough money was left to have a group lunch
at month-end. AFAICT the coffee machine was there long before, industrial type
-- 2 open carafes with an orange one for decaf, you probably saw one in a
diner somewhere -- not the 10 or 12 cup coffeemakers you get from Costco.

401K? Long gone from the employer's side, we're waiting for the first
anniversary announcement, if they will reinstate their contribution. I feel
less of a team player if they did not.

Yup, not just in IT. This was the travel industry. Welcome to the club, gents.

401k???? (3, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654888)

Wait: we don't get pensions anymore. 401k contributions ARE our retirement plans. Cutting 401k is the same as saying "we care about you SO little, that we hope you die hungry and cold in your old age."

Re:401k???? (1, Informative)

yttrstein (891553) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655080)

"Cutting 401k is the same as saying "we care about you SO little, that we hope you die hungry and cold in your old age.""

Having been in the unfortunate position of being forced to cut 401K contributions by asshole management, I can promise you that it's never got anything to do with them *just* not caring about their employees in their old age. It also has to do with trusting fully that the whole company will be Somebody Else's Problem inside 36 months, whether by bankruptcy or by acquisition.

Because I have this sort of experiential knowledge of the motivations of asshole management and executive layers, I make a point to never do business of any sort with any company that treats its employees badly. Without exception, every company that treats its employees badly has absolutely zero faith in every element in their product line and are interested only in lining their own pockets with cash.

Re:401k???? (3, Funny)

JoeWalsh (32530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655090)

No, no, no! They're just trying to help you by encouraging you to be responsible for your own future. In the past, the company was stealing your opportunity to be fully responsible for your retirement. Now, they feel bad about that, and are giving that responsibility back to you. It's time to celebrate!

Next month, they're going to stop stealing your opportunity to work twice as hard for half as much pay. It's a glorious future that your corporate masters have planned for you. Celebrate, slave, celebrate!

Re:401k???? (1)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655106)

Happened at my work.

Had 100% matching up to 4% and last year was cut in half, 50% up to 4%. Yes, it was a major slap in the face, but in the end we were purchased by another company with 100% up to 5%. Major morale booster with the new company, but I'm fairly certain now it was all planned manipulation of our emotions.

Re:401k???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30655198)

So, how'd the Perot to Dell transition go?

coffee? so what... (1)

cavtroop (859432) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654912)

What really kills me is the REAL perks getting eliminated - bonuses, my whole 401k match is gone now, health insurance cost going through the roof, etc. THAT hurts my bottom line, coffee does not.

I understand that they cut the 401k match and increased the health insurance premium to try to save a few jobs - but jesus, looking at the bloat in some of the organizations here, lay off a few of them (sales, I'm looking at you. You spend ALL DAY on youtube. Yes, I can prove it), you'd think you could cut some of them, and keep the match.

Failure Road! (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654914)

I have worked in a troubled business in which advancement and raises were excessively limited due to economic problems. It auto creates a very hostile and non productive work environment. It is the employees business to do what they are hired to do. It is the businesses obligation to have the money on hand to advance good workers and keep a reasonable work environment. The nickle and dime, Scrooge routine will steer a company right into their own dumpster.

Fewer 'perks' please? (3, Insightful)

rve (4436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654916)

Some company perks that I just don't want and will never use:
- I don't want a company celphone. I have my own phone, I don't want to have to keep track of business and private calls, I don't want my boss to get a list of all the calls I make in a month, and I don't want to have to carry around two phones. The company phone is lying in the closet, unused, the subscription fee is being paid for nothing.
- I don't want a company laptop. I don't need one for my work (customers *naturally* never allow machines on their network that they didn't provide themselves). For private use, it's useless. It does not have the specs I would have chosen for my own laptop, and I'm not free to modify it or change the software on it. It's been lying in the closet, unused. It's worse than useless, as I can't justify buying one for myself as long as I "have a perfectly ok laptop gathering dust in the closet".
- Company presentations preceeded by Paintball or Casino: please keep it serious and treat me like an adult. I don't come to the office to play games with colleagues, just give the presentation.
- Free coffee: I don't care. It's nice if it's there, but it's such a minor issue that if they want to save the shockingly huge amount of money that goes into rent and support of these machines, by all means do so, I'm not going to work less hard if I have to buy my own drinks.

Re:Fewer 'perks' please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30655064)

I was with you until the last line.

When did coffee become so expensive? (2, Insightful)

Lazy Jones (8403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654918)

While in larger companies doing away with free coffee could be a sensible alternative to laying off perhaps 0.5% of the work force, you have to wonder about the margins and sustainability of a corporation that actually *needs* to do that. As for smaller companies - if they can't even afford free coffee, it must really suck to work there.

I can only recommend managers to think about how much free for employees (good) food and drinks actually cost you compared to the part of the salaries that goes towards pizza/drinks at work otherwise, what the benefits are (healthier employees, less time wasted ordering stuff or going out to buy it) and how it may or may not make people feel more attached/loyal to your company. As for coffee - think of the headaches from caffeine deprivation you might induce if you don't provide it. ;-)

Re:When did coffee become so expensive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30655122)

I can only recommend managers to think

You lost me.

False economy (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654928)

I used to work in a place where if you worked on you got a free meal in the canteen. People used to work 2 or 3 hours extra and all for the price of a meal. They cut out the practice and guess what the result was?

yeah... (1)

Sir_Real (179104) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654940)

No bonuses or raises, yet we somehow managed to come up with enough money to pay Oracle for a weblogic license. We don't host any apps that require anything more than jsp and servlets. We use spring instead of j2ee. It's fucking absurd.

But boss, I'm drinking coffee for your sake! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30654944)

The whole reason I'm drinking coffee is to stay awake and work. Caffeinated workers are more productive.

Get a union. (1)

mantis2009 (1557343) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654964)

Unionized workers have more benefits. Period.

Re:Get a union. (1)

PerfectionLost (1004287) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655024)

Its true. I've also never seen or known of a unionized IT sector. Up to this point we have been paid too well. The low end IT salaries are above the poverty line by atleast 20k.

Bonuses....? (1)

BestNicksRTaken (582194) | more than 4 years ago | (#30654978)

What are they?

How 1980's. Only incompetent bankers get bonuses these days.

I remember working for some prick who actually said "your bonus is still having a job" in a meeting once; well actually my bonus was leaving them and getting paid 15k more elsewhere.

We like our coffee! (1)

Krissie12345 (1713822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655006)

Fortunately at the promotional products [hotline.co.uk] company where I work we still have our machine, it's a good job for us all that the management like the coffee!

The coffee will come back (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655010)

Coffee produces proven improvements in productivity in the morning. It's well worth the minuscule cost of providing it, especially since it is usually shit (although you can actually get good coffee for the same price, or less. very sad.)

Coffee (1)

jschmitz (607083) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655028)

We have Starbucks coffee (the ground kind) at my work Verona and Breakfast blend - although our capex and opex expenses were like 40mm last year so I don't think they are too worried about coffee

Among the Dumbest Things to Do (1)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655030)

Making the workplace less pleasant is only going to backfire. If I was running a company I would make the place as nice as possible so my workers would want to stick around for as long as possible. The highest cost to almost any company is labor. Since IT workers are often paid on a salary basis, free coffee and even free dinner is a bargain for the extra work I can get out of them. Many tech companies do this. Cutting 401k, laying off some people, or hiring less people are one thing but making the work environment unpleasant simply has a bad return on "investment". You save peanuts on the actual cost and lose way more on productivity. Also, as another commenter pointed out, people will work as hard as they think is due. When you start nickel and dime-ing your workers, they'll do the same back. Don't expect "above and beyond" type of effort when you don't seem to be doing the same for them.

If I didn't (1)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655036)

If I didn't have free coffee with unlimited and unfiltered access to the Internet at work, I would need to find another job.

A simple cost vs benefit analysis (2, Interesting)

jockeys (753885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655158)

industrial coffee maker (can make enough coffee, continuously, for at least 20 people) - $242.07
http://www.amazon.com/VPR-Commercial-12-Cup-Pour-Over-Warmers/dp/B000BN7W84/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1262704523&sr=8-1 [amazon.com]

cheap coffee (weeks supply for 20 people) - $14.50
http://www.amazon.com/Folgers-Ground-Regular-PAG20015-Category/dp/B00006IDJO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1262704605&sr=1-2 [amazon.com]

coffee filters (months supply for 20 people) - $5.23
http://www.amazon.com/BUNN-BCF250-Commercial-Coffee-Filters/dp/B0006VNO7Y/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1262704669&sr=1-12 [amazon.com]

so for about 250 initially and a monthly recurring cost of about 50 bucks. hmmm, 20 sleepy employees who are sluggish and inattentive for several hours a day (lets say 2 hours, or 1/4 of their shift). now, per employee that's a monthly cost of $2.50 to not diminish that 1/4 of their shift.

how little would you have to be paying your employees to not think that's a good idea? pennies a day???

furthermore, this isn't much of a cost cutting measure. even if I have 10,000 people working for me, I'm only paying $2500 a month to give them coffee (excluding the cost of the machines, which last a decade) or $30,000 per year, which is nothing for a 10,000 employee company.

I hope they're replacing the free coffee (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655162)

with free Adderall.

Otherwise productivity is going to plummet...

It's in the Constitiution (2, Funny)

twmcneil (942300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655172)

It's called the Juan Valdez Amendment to the Constitution. It's there really. Look it up. It guarantees all workers the right to free coffee during work hours. Ratification of that Amendment has been written into my employment contracts for over 20 years.

coffee??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30655184)

fuk coffee! would you imagine, they REFUSED to return my pinball machine & minibar... started asking me for RECEIPTS - I tried explaining them that call girls erhhhm massage girls & drug dealers erhmm mobile pharmacies don't normally give those out but I don't think the message sunk in well. I'm thinking about retiring @ 35, what is this world coming to :((( i still have SO MUCH to give!

Bureaucracy everlasting (1)

rumblin'rabbit (711865) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655194)

Many employers say they're going to continue trimming budgets, particularly in human resources.

When I read this I thought "Hot damn, they're going to turf a layer or two of HR personnel. Bout time someone put those useless, meddling bastards up against the wall."

But no. The writer meant get rid of bonuses and perks. Life is ephemeral, bureaucracy everlasting.

Putting on the dick moves (4, Interesting)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655208)

I'm a firm believer that if a business wants to show it cares, it'll say it with money. Because that's the only thing that matters to a business. if it's parting with cash in ways it does not absolutely have to, that says something. But barring that, there's cashless ways to show care. There's not much you can do if you're doing IT-as-a-service where you need to be available for fixed hours but if you're doing dev work that doesn't go on a fixed schedule, give flex time! You worked late during the week, take a half day Friday. Costs the company nothing, same amount of work is getting done. Need a dr's appointment? For the love of xod, we're not going to ding you four hours of vacation time for it.

I don't really get the silly stuff like pool tables and video games. That just seems like prolonging time spent at work and in a non-productive fashion. I would put more of a premium on getting the max amount of work done in the shortest possible time so people can go home. Quality of life is about having a life outside the office. In-house masseuses, catered lunches every day, that seems a little wasteful. But cutting 401k, cutting fucking coffee? Major dick moves.

Employers are doing it because it's an employer's market out there. But rest assured, these employers will reap what they sow. The best employees are always the most mobile employees. If your best feel dicked over or if there's even the slightest concern about company stability, they will be out the door in a heartbeat. And it's now accepted in IT culture that you will NEVER make more money at the same employer. The only way to raise your pay is to move to another organization because your current one will never justify paying more for the person they already have, no matter if you're learning new skills, taking on more work, or improving the bottom line.

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