Slides and fireman’s poles replace the stairs. The cafeteria features free cereal and maybe even beer. You might even have a nap room, or a vacation policy that allows you unlimited time off. What’s not to love about the new, trendy office? Well, for starters, it’s a trick.
Take the vacation policy. Rebecca Greenfield at The Atlantic offers the example of the marketing company Xiik, which ostensibly gives its employees as much time off as they want. If you scan the part of their site devoted to the policy, however, you might notice this caveat:
“As nice as it would be to regularly leave for months at a time, common sense prevails: In most cases, it simply doesn’t make sense to be away from work for extended periods.”
In other words, your vacation at a company with an “unlimited” vacation policy might wind up limited by your conscience and fear of the unemployment line — both a much stronger motivator than any printed policy.
The other perks — the free food, the video games, the in-office yoga classes — are even more insidious. By making work seem like time off, companies can persuade you to stay at the office. Good for them, but not so good for your work-life balance.
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