Coworkers With Benefits
If a company hopes to impress potential employees and retain the ones already on board, it’s no longer enough to offer the token fitness room and free coffee in the break room.
Some employers are supersizing their benefits and perks, and hopefully this trend is here to stay. Internet startups and tech companies have been at the vanguard of the covet-worthy corporate culture since the days of the dot-com boom. The best of these sound like day camp for (semi-) grownups.
As for some of the popular new benefits, they fall into a few categories. For the elbow-benders, Miller-Coors has a pub for employees, but so does Yelp (which is rated 5 stars on Yelp.com). Company meals are another big treat—Etsy offers the locally sourced weekly meal with requisite cutesy name “Eatsy."
A major trend in workplace benefits are include health and fitness initiatives, as well as and team spirit and morale- building traditions like Friday parties and rewards for outstanding performance. Less common but still trending are pet insurance/ pet sitting, flexible hours, and working from home options.
Of course, people who work in publishing get loads of free books, airline employees get flight benefits, and so on, but we uncovered some of the less expected perks from 11 generous employers. Another tendency among these companies offering great benefits is they claim to offer great pay as well. Imagine that! Now click on ahead and prepare for some perk envy.
By Colleen KanePosted August 4, 2011
A lot of the companies in this slideshow are generous with the vacation days, but the movie rental and streaming service Netflix doesn’t bother to set a limit. It also doesn't require a 9-5 work day, which is all part of the Los Gatos, Calif., company's “freedom and responsibility culture.”
"There is also no clothing policy at Netflix, but no one comes in naked," the company website's careers page reports. "Lesson: You don’t need policies for everything.” Its five-word policy for expensing, entertainment, gifts, and travel is: “Act in Netflix’s best interest.” All employees are allowed $10,000 per year for health benefits, and whatever they don’t use, they get to keep, so it literally pays to be healthy.
Akraya is a staffing company in Sunnyvale, Calif., that places employees in information technology, engineering, marketing, and creative positions.
Inc. reported that the company allows employees to work from home during rush hours to avoid the aggravation of traffic, but even better, it sends professional cleaners to tidy up employees’ homes twice a month.
“Dropbox is a pretty sweet place to work,” it doesn't mind saying itself on the company's careers page.
Among the benefits offered to employees at the downtown San Francisco data-storage startup’s office: The option to build or buy your dream computer, a music studio outfitted with everything including drums, P.A., and amps, not to mention other treats, such as whiskey Fridays, Laser Tag, and a Dance Dance Revolution arcade machine.
The Philadelphia geospacial-technologies software company Azvea allows employees to use 10 percent of their workday for personal research projects or training, and offers paid maternity and paternity leave. (What is this, Denmark?) Other perks include public transit and biking reimbursements to lessen the number of cars on the road, as well as domestic partner benefits.
Texas-based NuStar Energy produces fuels and is one of the nation’s top suppliers of asphalt. According to the company’s employee handbook, their benefits, including retirement plans, are valued at 47 percent of the average employee’s compensation.
That's great and all, but NuStar has one massive perk that’s garnered media attention: employee use of its corporate jet. This doesn’t mean Joe Sixpack NuStar Employee can jet off to Dubai on a whim. A representative described a few of the jet’s uses: “We sent the plane to pick up one of our employees who was working temporarily at our facility in St. Eustatius in the Caribbean and was facing a health issue. Within 24 hours, the corporate jet picked him up in St. Eustatius and got him back home so he could get the medical attention he needed. And last year, one of our corporate employees lost a family member in a tragic accident, so we dispatched a group of employees to Louisiana to attend the service and provide support to the family. The good news is that we haven’t needed to send the plane on many occasions, but it is available if needed.”
LoadSpring Solutions, a Lawrence, Mass.-based company of about 23 employees, creates project-management software. Employees who have been with the company more than two years are granted $5,000, plus an extra week of vacation time to travel abroad, according to Inc.com.
The nation’s second-largest producer of natural gas, the Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy, is also a producer of unusual workplace perks. The corporate campus features a 72,000-square-foot fitness facility, tanning beds and spray tanning, free scuba certification, an employee garden the size of a city block, and one perk that ensures employees will be smiling with artificially rigid foreheads: A health and dental center with dermatology treatments, including Botox.
Genentech is a founder of the biotech industry and one of the world’s top biotech companies. The South San Francisco company's corporate culture is described on its website as "casual intensity."
“Most days you'll find our executives wearing jeans and sneakers, and it's not unusual to walk into research labs and hear rock 'n' roll blaring,” the company declares.
Benefits include free counseling, legal advice, tuition assistance, a childcare center, haircuts, weekly car washes, dog sitting, nursing rooms, seasonal produce stands, and two libraries. Here’s the big one: After every six years with the company, employees may take a six-week paid sabbatical.
Reitmeier is a medium-sized company in Tulatin, Ore., providing services to construction sites, such as HVAC design/build, sheet-metal fabrication and installation. Oregon Business described the company’s benefits in an article about the 100 best companies to work for in the state.
Reitmeier workers have free use of an on-site mechanic, and, to no one’s surprise, the CEO David Rich indicated in the article that they make frequent use of the perk. In addition, the company pays for gas for some employees, and tuition for those pursuing higher education.
Qwiki is a startup located in the South Market district of San Francisco that aims to change the way online information is presented, delivering it in a new audio and visual format.
The small company is expanding their staff and it helps that they promise to buy employees a bike, or they can expense their train fare. The company will also reimburse for membership at any gym, and they provide catered meals all day.
Integrated Archive Systems (IAS)
Other large corporations offer subsidies for employees who purchase a hybrid vehicle, but it’s normally in the range of $2,000 to $5,000. At Integrated Archive Systems, an IT infrastructure integrator in Palo Alto, Calif., workers are offered a $10,000 subsidy to purchase a hybrid, as part of its Eco-Responsibility program. Founder and CEO Amy Rao is an environmentalist and a Honda Civic hybrid driver herself. According to HybridCars.com, more than half of the employees have taken advantage of the program since its inception in 2004.