The most lavish workplace perks – and why you might not need them!

Hiring firms are offering increasingly unusual perks in an attempt to win the best talent and boost their employer brand. According to Glassdoor*, 57% of job seekers count perks as among their top considerations when taking a new job.

And why not? With employees spending so much time at work, it helps to have an environment that’s nice to be in. But as most companies now offer extensive benefits packages, those who can afford to do so are rewriting the rule book on workplace perks in order to stand apart from the crowd. We discuss some of the more extreme examples below.

Lavish though some of these perks may be, don’t despair if your business can’t afford to go toe-to-toe with the brands featured here: we conclude the article with the gratifying truth about the perks that matter most to employees.

Fitness as a way of life –

Reebok, Eventbrite, Microsoft

Fitness is a lifestyle choice that boosts mental as well as physical health, and employers have caught on to the idea that promoting health and wellbeing is a plus, especially since mental-health related illnesses such as stress and depression now account for more absence than any other form of illness.

Global fitness brand Reebok practises what it preaches: Reebok HQ’s in-house CrossFit gym sees over 500 employees a week working out whenever suits them between 6am and 6pm, with the brand also offering campus fitness days that include yoga and hiking. Meanwhile, Eventbrite offers employees a flexible “Wellness” stipend worth $60 per month, which can be used on a variety of health-related benefits including gym membership, and Microsoft’s $800 “StayFit” reimbursement programme supports employees’ gym memberships or other fitness activities.

Picking up the tab – 

Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo…

When it comes to making working life as hassle-free as possible whilst also allowing people to make the most of their salaries, you won’t be surprised to know that the familiar tech megabrands offer quality meals on the house. Twitter’s San Francisco office provides catered breakfast and lunch, Facebook and Dropbox offer free meals all day plus snacks, Google employees get the works for free, Eventbrite staff get a daily catered lunch and free snacks and AirBnB staff are offered a daily organic lunch.

Serious maternity/paternity leave –

IKEA, American Express and Netflix

For anyone with a year’s service or more, IKEA offers up to four months of paid parental leave for full and part-time staff at retail stores and corporate HQ. American Express offers up to five months of paid leave for mothers and fathers, as well as access to a 24-hour lactation consultant, with mothers able to receive up to an additional eight weeks of medical leave. Meanwhile Netflix offers a year of paid maternity and paternity leave to new parents, who are able to return on a full or part-time basis if they wish, and take time off as needed during the year.

It’s good to volunteer

….but at Salesforce and The Body Shop, you get paid to do it. Salesforce employees are paid to volunteer for six days per year and receive $1,000 annually to donate to their own choice of charity.

We’re all animal lovers…

Scripps Health offers pet health insurance for employees’ cats and dogs. BrewDog hit the headlines earlier this year when it announced it would be offering a week’s paid leave for employees who adopt a puppy or rescue dog. The company refers to this benefit as “Pawternity leave”. And many employers, including Pinterest, Airbnb and Eventbrite allow staff to bring their dogs to work every day. Woof!

Travel much?

Airbnb is known to offer employees around £1,500 to travel around the world. And if you like to get about, Pinterest, Twitter, Zynga and Automattic might appeal to you: each offers unlimited leave, trusting their employees to be sensible with the time they take off from work.

Price Waterhouse Coopers and Starbucks:

the students’ friends

PwC offers employees £1,200 a year reimbursement on student loan debt, while Starbucks supports its employees with full tuition reimbursement for an online bachelor’s degree program with Arizona State University. This doesn’t just apply to the suits at Corporate, but also to Baristas.

…and here are some of the more interesting perks offered by the millennial megabrands…

Whose tweet is it anyway?

As an employer, Twitter has earned the right to sing its own praises. In addition to some of the more “standard” perks mentioned above, it also provides more obscure benefits such as acupuncture – and even improvisation classes.

Free housing: “Like” this! 

Interns at Facebook get free housing or a $1,000 monthly stipend, as well as a shuttle service to and from the company’s 430,000 square-foot Menlo Park Campus headquarters. The building has a nine-acre green roof with 400 trees, whiteboards and Wi-Fi, specifically designed to invite both work and play.

It’s all on the house…

Google’s generosity seems to know no bounds – as well as the free catering we mentioned above, the Global brand provides staff with car washes and oil changes, massages and yoga, play rooms and childcare assistance. And though it’s not something we like to think about, the death-in-service benefit at Google is notably generous: the firm provides the spouse or partner of a deceased employee 50% of their salary for ten years.

But we can’t all be Google…

While some of these lavish employee perks are what we’ve come to expect from the trendy tech giants, the good news is that most employees value relatively “low-end” benefits. Flexible hours, generous holiday allowance and the option to work for home are all high on the list of preferred benefits – which means many firms can significantly increase their appeal as employers.

Next week: part 2 of our good vacancy advertising blog!