New ImageA recent report confirms that the UK is among the countries that work the longest hours, with full-time worker averaging around 37 hours in the office . Around a fifth of employees work more than 45 hours a week, a high proportion of ‘long hours’ workers and a worrying trend.

These longer hours make time spent at home all the more important to employees. It’s a place in which people invest in both financially and emotionally. The home represents more than just a roof over our head and a place to store belongings. For many it represents security, comfort, time with family and a place to express their personality.

Most home owners want their abode to create a welcoming atmosphere and reflect their own tastes and lifestyle. This translates into considerable investment on home improvement: households spent a total of £10.5billion on DIY in 2012, the equivalent of around £400 per household.

The reasons behind this enthusiasm for home improvement are numerous. Approximately 11 per cent of UK population move every year and consequently are keen to put their stamp on their new purchase. Other home owners are opting to develop their existing property rather than move, a particular trend in the current economic climate. This can be done on a small scale by redecorating the interior, or on a larger scale such as adding a conservatory, developing the garden and so on. This not only improves the property but also, ultimately, adds value to it.

The home is clearly a major focus of investment and time for people; so why aren’t more businesses reflecting this in their motivation schemes? Adding a home improvement retailer to a reward scheme gives employees the chance to invest in their home and ease the squeeze on their household budget. Let them invest to improve their property and life.

A reward that enables a member of staff to invest in and improve their home environment is not only a long lasting reminder of the company but also makes a powerful statement about them. It positions the business as one that is considerate towards an employee’s life at home, outside of work, and actively helps them to devote time to it.

Enabling staff to invest to improve their property creates long lasting results, thereby achieving a greater impact than a reward which gives short term rewards. A trip to the cinema, restaurant or favourite shop is a pleasant experience for many, but one that is quickly achieved and easily forgotten. While this may be satisfying at the time for the employee, it won’t provide a long term benefit.

It is essential for businesses to give their staff a wide variety of motivational rewards to choose from that reflect all aspects of their life, both in and out of work. Choice ensures a broad appeal across all demographics of a business. After all, what suits a young graduate may not appeal to an older member of the workforce.

Providing staff with a wide selection of retailers maximises the appeal and take up of a scheme. Enabling employees to make a personal choice in the type of reward they receive delivers real impact as it helps them to remember the gesture, their employer and how they earned the reward.

What’s more, giving staff a choice of retailers within the home improvement sector ensures they have easier access to a wide variety of products to suit their needs. Some employees may want home furnishing items, others may want specific tools to carry out more extensive work on their property.

If businesses have all bases covered with a truly wide choice of reward options, a motivation scheme will then appeal to every single member of their workforce, driving uptake and ultimately engagement levels across the business.

Martin Alden, B2B & Partnership Controller at Wickes, explains how the importance of the home can be a powerful motivating influence for businesses: