25 Work Perks You Didn’t Know Existed
These benefits are so amazing, you won’t believe they’re real
Would you like to have your employer do your laundry? Or buy a new wardrobe on the company tab? What about having someone run errands for you while you're at work?
If those ideas sound far-fetched to you, think again. "Employers have been stingier with salaries and they have to think about offering some of these other benefits," says Laurie Ruettimann, a human resources consultant.
Even more: "Companies are always open to ideas that don't cost them anything, such as getting discounts to theme parks," adds Sharlyn Lauby, author of the blog HR Bartender. And experts say anyone can bring up an idea for a new benefit or perk. Consider some of these cool perks already being offered to workers.
A Surf Report
California-based Patagonia's reception desk posts daily surf reports and lets employees know when they need to grab their boards and head out for some great surfing, even if it's the middle of a workday. Physical fitness is also encouraged through the on-site volleyball courts and bikes provided by the outdoor clothing and equipment company.
Those working for Chesapeake Energy in Oklahoma City can climb the walls. The natural gas producer has an on-site 72,000-square-foot fitness center that includes a rock-climbing wall, Olympic-sized pool, and sand volleyball court.
Wine and Dine
Each of DPR Construction's 19 U.S. locations has a wine bar where employees can relax and socialize at the end of the day.
No Set Schedules
Netflix does not require employees to adhere to a regular schedule and lets workers have unlimited time off. CEO Dan Price says it's more important to judge results than the schedules worked. The Society for Human Resource Management finds that workers who have such a perk tend to take the same amount of time off-or even less time off-than workers with traditional vacation and sick time.
A Cash Machine
GoDaddy, which helps small businesses create an online presence, puts its top performers in a cash machine and turns on the blowers. Whatever the employee catches in a certain amount of time, she gets to keep. GoDaddy, based on Scottsdale, AZ, also pays the tax bill on the winnings.
A Personal Assistant
New York-based American Express provides work/life personal assistants who help employees find reputable child care centers, contractors, lawyers, and tutors.
While getting your dry-cleaning picked up and dropped off at work is nice, SC Johnson & Son takes it to another level. The Racine, WI, company offers a concierge service that will take care of errands like trips to the grocery store or getting a car's oil changed.
Centro in Chicago has a mobile farmer's market come to the workplace during lunch so employees can purchase fresh produce. It's also a practice adopted by San Diego-based Qualcomm, whose workers often put in long hours and benefit from the convenience of fresh, healthy food.
Classes for a Million-Dollar Idea
Employees at DreamWorks Animation in Glendale, CA, are given training in how to pitch an idea. The studio that created such hits as Shrek wants even its accountants and lawyers to be able to propose an idea for a movie. In addition, the company strives to keep creative juices flowing by holding art shows, craft fairs, and art classes.
Tailgate at Work
The National Football League, based in New York City, kicks off every football season by allowing workers to tailgate, offering games and photo booths.
Free Massages and Booze
Justin.tv in San Francisco offers free massages to workers twice a month. The company gives staffers $300 every Friday to purchase whatever they want from a liquor store for the "Fine Liquor Fridays."
Companies like Google and Twitter are well known for providing free food to workers, but even small employers can provide such a perk. For example, online shopping site Hukkster provides team lunches every Friday.
No Long Hours!
Employees at Vynamic are strongly encouraged to avoid sending email between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. during the week and on weekends. The Philadelphia-based health care industry management consulting firm calls the policy "Zmail," and believes it's better that employees have time to turn off rather than stress about an email at 2 a.m.
Hallmark employees only pay 50 percent of the cost to season or single-ticket events for music, dance, and theater events.
Litzky Public Relations in Hoboken, NJ, lets employees move the furniture in the conference room to make room for a visiting yoga instructor twice a week at 5 p.m.
Discovery Communication, based in Silver Spring, MD, offers free classes on a variety of subjects, such as how to make chocolate, paint with watercolors, or fly-fish.
Bikes for Commuting
Summit LLC, an analytics advisory firm in Washington, D.C., buys annual memberships for workers to Capital Bikeshare, which provides employees with bikes to get to meetings easier than hassling with the crowded subway system.
Vacation or Work?
JibJab Media in Venice, CA, has beachside meetings and delivers healthy snacks to employee desks each week.
More "You" Time
St. Louis-based Build-a-Bear gives employees 15 "Honey Days" annually to be used for whatever they want, such as attending a child's soccer game or getting some spa time. The company also provides an on-site lending library that encourages employees to share books they find helpful in their personal and professional lives.
Looking Out for Your Loved Ones
Veterans United offers pet insurance and a "Parent's Night Out" that provides free childcare to employees who would like an evening out with a significant other.
Clean Your Body-and Home
Akraya Inc. is a Sunnyvale, CA, IT consulting and recruiting company that offers free gym memberships to employees and their families, but also provides free housecleaning every couple of weeks to workers.
Umpqua Bank says it believes that "professionalism is a high priority" and offers associates a dress advance of up to $500 to build a business wardrobe.
Sports, Sports, Sports
Employees of Quicken Loans in Michigan are given free entrance and transportation to any events at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, such as Cavaliers games.
Online retailer Zappos provides nap rooms for employees who need some snooze time to rest and recharge their batteries.
Timberland provides paid time off for 40 hours of paid volunteer work per year.