Besides mass layoffs that have started in the economy, there have been reports of job perks being cut back or eliminated. This of course lowers morale, which lowers productivity, which leads to less profits (or more losses), which leads to more layoffs and more job perk cuts….
It’s easy to be good to employees when times are good, but it’s also not as valued. If every company has a free breakfast and lunch, and free massages on Wednesdays, then it becomes expected instead of appreciated. Employers right now have the ability to win loyalty and boost morale by increasing job perks as everyone else is eliminating them (without being frivilous of course). This is also the best time to poach other company’s best workers (assuming you can identify them), especially by convincing them you keep your word.
You should institute enhancing job perks even if you need to lay people off. It might be a bit Machivallian in the “do all the bad things at once, and spread out the good things” sense. You can layoff a few more employees then you need to, and increase perks gradually for everyone else. As long as those that are let go are the worst performers, the ones that remain will become happier and more loyal.