You’ve got benefits and work perks and they’re pretty good. But are they the best the could be? What if you could offer, or take, unlimited vacation? Or egg-freezing? And what affect would that have on your business and your quality of life?
I spend a fair amount of time researching and writing about weird work perks, not just because it’s fun but because they’re a good gauge of what employers think their employees want. Of course some unusual work perks come about in response to demands from employees or are a sincere reflection of the company culture, but a lot of the work perks that make you double take have more to do with CEOs being out of touch with front line workers, and cliches about Millennials who want workplace toys and Gen Zers who want to turn off their electronics and go old school. Good work perks come out of good conversations with existing and prospective employees. This week I thought we’d look at a mix of both, weird and just right.
Here is your Friday Five:
So your company offers paid parental leave, unlimited vacation and concierge service. How can another company top that and lure you away? How about paid pet leave? BrewDog, a speciality beer brewer, is now allowing its employees one week of paid paternity leave — for new pets. The Welsh company has long been a dog-friendly workplace, with about 50 dogs regularly hanging out in the office. That’s what makes BrewDog’s “paw-ternity” leave such a good fit for the company — it’s just the next step of existing perks and benefits, building off of the company’s dog-loving culture. And as a dog (and guinea pig) owner myself I have to admit I’m pretty envious of BrewDog employees having this time to settle in and bond with a furry new member of their family.
Ok, this is definitely a weird one. NewFusion, a digital marketing and tech firm in Belgium, wants its workforce to go post-human and get microchips implanted in their hands. The chip will replace ID cards, giving them access to the building, computers and other company resources. That is… a lot. Definitely a big step for employees, considering how short tenure is on average, never mind in the tech industry. Don’t worry, if they’re worried about electronic, radio frequency chips in their hand they can choose RFID chipped rings instead… yikes! What worries me about this “perk” is that even if employees find it acceptable and exciting — maybe it’s just that kind of a joint — it puts a tremendous amount of responsibility on the company’s shoulders. Botched implantations, hacked chips and bad reactions to the surgery are all liabilities for NewFusion, and for very little payoff.
I guess my question is — what’s the point?
Location is everything in real estate and a lot in the job market but can location really be considered a work perk? Carlsbad California is promoting itself as the next great center for startup development, all thanks to its beautiful beaches. Christie Marcella, Economic Development Manager for the City of Carlsbad, told INC that “between our concentration of action sports companies and global leaders in technology, Carlsbad’s Life in Action campaign introduces people to the most exciting sectors in our city and the business culture of encouraging an active lifestyle,”
Ok, this isn’t a work perk… yet. So far it’s just a proposal from Per-Erik Muskos, a council member in small, northern town Övertorneå says that what workers need most of all is time to work on intimate relationships… and have lots of sex. Muskos says that sex has been proven to be good for your health, it’s only natural that employees should get paid breaks to have it. Right? Well. It’s hard to imagine this motion passing even in the most employee-friendly district but it’s… certainly an interesting idea.
Just how important is it to have unique work perks, though? Unfortunately for everyone busy striking a deal to get your employees discount dolphin encounter tickets, what they really want is the boring stuff.
This isn’t a new article, but go ahead and reread it anyway. When you find yourself thinking that what your young employees really want is a slip-and-slide or ball pit in the break room, come back to this infographic and remember that all employees, young and old, want to advance in their careers, enjoy a reasonable work life balance, be rewarded for their hard work, and help to secure their financial future.
Basic benefits are, as always, the best work perks of all.