They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but try telling that to the employees at Airbnb, Facebook and Google, where gourmet meals come with the territory. Free gourmet meals may seem like an over-the-top employee perk to some, but that’s tame compared to what other companies offer. From free booze to on-site massages, the following perks put free coffee and casual Fridays to shame. Check out nine more of the most incredible employee perks that actually exist in today’s workplace.
Happy hour — at any hour
Drinking on the job isn’t only allowed at some companies, it’s encouraged – in moderation, of course. Whether it’s holding “Whiskey Fridays,” providing beer vending machines on site, or simply giving employees 24/7 access to fully stocked bars, companies of all sizes and industries — including Dropbox, Arnold Worldwide and Eli Lilly and Co. — are using alcohol as an incentive to work long hours and come into the office (as opposed to telecommuting). Not only do employees appreciate the chance to kick back with a cold one during the day, employers have found that letting employees socialize over beer results in team-bonding and spurs new ideas.
Ever fallen asleep on the job (or come close to it)? Arianna Huffington understands. The president of The Huffington Post might be the most outspoken advocate for napping at work. She’s not alone, however: Google, Zappos, Uber and PwC are also among the growing list of companies that accommodate employees who want to catch up on their zzz’s during the workday. (And many employees do: According to a recent CareerBuilder study, 61 percent of workers feel they don’t get enough sleep.) Not only does this perk benefit employees, it also helps the bottom line: companies lose an estimated $86.9 billion worth of productivity due to lack of sleep.
Denver-based Flowhub, which provides software for the cannabis industry, lets employees consume marijuana at work. While employees can’t smoke in the building, they can bring in cannabis-infused edibles, sodas and juices. Two nearby startups, High There! and MassRoots, also allow employees to use pot at work. According to CNNMoney, employees are trusted not to over-do it on consumption, and most use happens later in the day or during brainstorming sessions. (While several other companies allow employees to do weed at work — both for recreation and medical purposes — they decline to publicize it for fear of damaging relationships with potential investors.)
Not long ago, Facebook and Apple made headlines when they announced they would start offering egg-freezing benefits as a way to attract recruit female employees. Recently, music streaming service company Spotify began offering egg freezing and fertility assistance as well.
Seven years ago, only 49 major U.S. employers offered transgender-inclusive health care benefits. Today, that number is more than 500. Apple, Chevron, General Mills, Dow Chemical, American Airlines, Kellogg and Sprint are among the companies that have expanded their health insurance policies in recent years to cover some of the costs of gender reassignment surgeries. Other types of coverage may include mental health counseling, hormone therapy, medical visits and other treatments related to gender transition or sex reassignment.
Paid sabbaticals aren’t just for college professors any more. At financial advisory company Deloitte, employees can choose from a partially paid three- to six-month sabbaticals to pursue personal or professional growth opportunities or an unpaid one-month leave to go and do whatever they want. Genentech employees who have worked for the company for six years get a six week paid sabbatical, while The Boston Consulting Group offer eight weeks for employees who have been with the company five years. The Container Store, REI and Baker Donelson are just a few more on the growing list of companies offering this remarkable benefit.
Who couldn’t use a personal assistant these days? At some companies, employees get the next best thing. SC Johnson & Son, Accenture, Hyatt Hotels and Nordstrom are just a few of the companies that provide concierge services to save employees time and help them juggle work and personal lives. Services vary by company, but range from dry cleaning to travel planning.
Companies like Activision Blizzard, Cisco Systems, Scripps Health and PwC have two things in common: All offer employees on-site massages, and all made Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list this year. Coincidence? Several companies offer on-site massages as a way to reward employees and help them recharge after a long workday. And while a massage may seem like a frivolous perk, companies see it as an investment in employees’ health, helping to relieve stress and back pain (which can come from long periods of sitting at a desk) – and the bottom line. Healthier workers are, after all, happier workers and more productive workers.
Allowing employees to bring their pets to work not only frees them of the burden of finding pet-sitters and dog-walkers (and the guilt of leaving them home alone), it also adds an element of fun to the office. It may come as no surprise that companies like Nestle Purina PetCare, Rover.com and Petplan have pet-friendly offices (after all, animals are their business), but companies of all industries and sizes — including Eventbrite, Procore Technologies, Glassdoor and Payscape — say yes to pets at the office.
These are just a few of the ways employers are getting creative in order to stand out from their competitors and attract and retain in-demand talent. What are you offering employees and candidates to stay competitive? Tell us about your incredible employee perks at @CBforEmployers