From fledgling tech start-ups to household-name corporations, employers both big and small are continuously upping the ante when it comes to finding ways to keep their workers happy. While unusually cool perks like Etsy’s playground-esque open lofts, or simply invaluable incentives such as the unlimited vacation days offered at Gravity Payments (that’s right — unlimited) might not be the deciding factor in someone’s decision to accept a job, they can certainly be a factor. Smart employers know this, and make a point to incorporate additional takeaways into a job offer (besides the opportunity of employment itself). From onsite “Kegerators” to employer-subsidized egg freezing for female employees (seriously), here’s a rundown of some of the most interesting perks* currently satisfying employees and enticing potential hires.
(Photo Credit: Steven Lilley/Flickr)
1. Free Flights
Southwest Airlines offers unlimited free Southwest flights to its employees (and their spouses and children), as well as discounted rates for hotels, car rentals, and partner airline flights (on a “space available” basis). The company also hosts an annual chili cook-off, and an annual Halloween costume party dubbed “Haunted Headquarters.”
2. Imagination Station
Etsy’s Brooklyn-based office is quite literally a playground for adults. Just a few of the many highlights of the bright and colorful open air loft space, which has been crafted with as much care as the goods sold via the company’s online marketplace, include a craft room, interior walls dripping with foliage, giant owl statues, a rainbow-colored bike room, phone rooms with secret cubbies, a communal workroom complete with vintage velvet sofas, and “Eatsy,” a daily (often catered) lunch program served family style.
3. Calorie-Busting and 4. Long-term Financial Planning
A presumably helpful antidote to the company’s $7.1 billion annual chocolate production revenues, Hershey employees can receive reimbursement for fitness center and Weight Watchers memberships, as well as for continued education and training. Along with their minds and bodies, the company also invests in its workers’ bank accounts by providing financial benefits that include a commitment to matching employees’ 401(k) contributions.
5. Video Game Day
Staff.com, an international online staffing service for people who work remotely, hosts a company-wide video game day during which its approximately 50 employees, many of whom work remotely themselves, have the opportunity to congregate and communicate in person.
6. Professional Help
Uassist.ME, a fee-based firm that outsources virtual executive assistants, springs for a professional on-site therapist, with whom employees can meet for counseling and life coaching.
7. Self-Designed Schedules
The New Jersey-based roofing firm Roof Diagnostics realized that letting employees set their own schedules not only allowed them to avoid working inconvenient hours, it also ultimately resulted in them clocking more (and higher quality) hours overall.
8. Overall Life Improvement
Office product manufacturer 3M provides medical, dental, vision, and life insurance to all employees, including same-sex couples. According to Business Insider, other benefits include “child and elder care consulting services, a smoking cessation program, weight management program reimbursement, stress management coaching, and a pharmacy, medical clinic and fitness center on site.”
9. and 10. Professional Styling and Luxury Hotel Stays
Along with solid health and dental insurance coverage and financial planning benefits, Viceroy Hotel Group employees are eligible* for a health/wellness stipend that can be applied to anything from a gym membership to a new pair of Nikes. Less practical but arguably as enticing perks include attractive alternatives to typical run-of-the-mill hotel uniforms, and, at the Viceroy’s Abu Dhabi location, pre-shift coifs from a professional stylist, to ensure that staff are as suited and booted as the hotel’s luxury guests. Arguably the best perk, however, is up to 50 percent off hotel food and services, as well as significantly discounted stays at any of the luxury hotel’s locations, which include outposts in California, Miami, New York, and Mexico.
11. Onsite Beer Dispenser
Forget water coolers. Business analytics firm RJ Metrics has a “Kegerator” positioned in a central location inside its offices to lubricate employees during after-hours socializing and creative brainstorming sessions. In addition to an in-house libation station, employees have the option to use an adjustable GeekDesk workstation in lieu of a traditional desk. The reason?
“Movement and change of position combat stress and break up the tension of a long work day,” RJ Metrics CEO Robert J. Moore explained to Upstart Business Journal.
12. Unlimited Time Off
Unbelievable but true. Gravity Payments, a Washington-based payment processing company, allows employees to dictate the number of vacation days they take each year in an effort to foster trust and encourage responsibility and accountability among employees.
13. Baby-Making Fund
Likely the most jaw-dropping employee benefit on our list, companies including Apple, Google, and LinkedIn currently offer or are in the process of establishing fertility benefit programs that include full or partial subsidization of oocyte cryopreservation, otherwise known as egg freezing, for female employees. The price tag for the procedure ranges from $7,000 to $12,000 (not including drugs and storage), according to Bloomberg, and both Facebook and Apple began subsidizing up to $20,000 towards egg freezing for U.S. employees in 2014, according to Forbes.
Benefits consultant Mercer claims that high-tech companies in general are those most likely to offer fertility-related employee benefits, with Silicon Valley-based companies among those most likely to offer egg freezing specifically. In fact, according to Mercer’s 2014 National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans, 45 percent of high-tech companies offer in vitro fertilization, and 27 percent provide more sophisticated fertility procedures such as oocyte cryopreservation.
* Benefits may vary according to specific office or branch and employee status (i.e. full vs. part-time)
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