This isn't your grandparents' industrial revolution. While for many in the job market the old clocking-in process and dreary dress codes are still all in a day's work, corporate structure is transforming into a more employee-focused industry. Free food, daycare, exercise classes, flexible work schedules with sabbatical opportunities, employee events and pet perks are common in progressive offices these days. This is likely in part due to the understanding that a happy employee makes a loyal employee, especially in the new millennial era of short-term job stays. Employees today are expected to change employers anywhere from every two to five years, as part of fast-tracking career opportunities and the constant search for vocation fulfillment. These days, workers are prepared to keep their options open, so leveraging this to their advantage means being "free agents" in the workforce. Why settle for casual Fridays when there's a corporation down the block offering tuition reimbursement and unlimited vacation time?
If you have the skills and training, opportunities for a happy work-life balance are more realistic than ever before with exhaustive perks offered by numerous social media, high-tech and biotech companies. There's also the SAS Institute with their employee garden, or scuba certification with Chesapeake Energy, the unlimited vacation option with Netflix, free drinks from Miller Brewing and HootSuite, and full tuition reimbursement (no cap) from J.M. Smuckers. It seems company perks are the new black, and the following list of employers offer some eye-popping benefits that set them apart from the pack, redefining the idea of an "ideal job."
10 Pandell Technology Corp.
The Calgary based software and accounting firm won Alberta Venture's "Best Workplace" for 2013. Founded in 1997 the company employees 53 enthusiastic employees and offers a variety of localized benefits, including seasonal passes to nearby attractions like the Royal Tyrell Museum. A gift certificate of $100 is readily available for employees looking to customize their workspace (tiki lounge, anyone?) Free gym memberships and profit-sharing programs also on the menu, as well as a number of regular team-building events from spa days to stampede weekends. Yeehaw! The company doesn't believe in clocking in, letting employees set their own schedules and even relocate when necessary. The current CEO also took a year off before his promotion, to accompany his wife during her teaching exchange. When he returned he resumed his old duties with the company and now sits at the helm. Kind of makes you wonder why you're working those 60 hour work weeks, doesn't it?
9 Grasshopper Group
The Boston-based virtual phone system company, known as the Grasshopper Group, offers up a variety of company perks including nine holidays a year on top of four weeks paid vacation. As if this wasn't enough, every Friday during the summer from Memorial to Labor Day is a paid half day. A daily allowance for lunches, free snacks and caffeine helps fuel the days employees are actually at the office, and a Nintendo room for burning off steam and hanging out is available for end of day entertainment.
The Seattle-based coffee giant offers employees a pound of free beans each week. No doubt that's helping to keep barista's energy levels high enough to persevere through endless line-ups of complicated instructions for customized high-octane beverages. Starbucks partners get 30% off all items from stores, no doubt furnishing millions of families with coffee accessories every Christmas. Speaking of the holidays, partners also get further discounts during certain times of the year. Baristas receive unprecedented health insurance benefits for full and part-timers. All employees are also encouraged to give back to the community, with one forward-thinking barista receiving financial support from the company in a trip to Honduras, to help bring clean water to one farming community. Corporate employees can take advantage of further perks that include gym facilities, job sharing, and on-site child care programs.
Employees of this California biotech company shed new light on the age old question, "hard at work or hardly working?" They get an astounding 17 annual paid holidays as well as their standard three weeks' vacation time. This is almost two times the national average and makes the generous Grasshopper Group look like slave drivers. Besides the benefit of working less than everyone you know, the company's concierge service means you can grab last-minute presents from the in-house gift shops, or take-out meals from the cafeteria. Those with kids can take advantage of the on-site day care center, and being a "working mom" has arguably never looked so rewarding. At Amgen, newbie moms can take advantage of company classes covering everything from Lamaze to breastfeeding with lactation rooms, nutrition programs and counseling services.
6 SC Johnson & Son
The international manufacturer of consumer chemicals and household cleaning supplies like Glade and Windex, offers their workers a comprehensive and enviable on-site concierge service. While other companies offer the standard package of services such as dry-cleaning pick-up, SC Johnson takes it a step further and provides everything from package mailouts to vehicle oil changes, flower and grocery delivery and even house-sitting services. The company's concierge package gives every day workers a sense of seniority with their own personal assistants at their fingertips. Sure, it means you have no excuse to leave your desk, but who wants to stand in line for ten hours to get the new Apple product anyway? Childcare services for parents is also offered on-site, and the company also offers paid sabbaticals for employees looking to further their out-of-the-office interests.
5 Ernst and Young
This London-based global tax advisory service offers a host of perks for their hardworking employees, from Employee pricing for computers and monthly cell discounts to vacation discount vacation airfares, hotel and car rentals, and up to 90% discounts at restaurants. E&Y's benefits also offer a hefty compensation package for the families of employees who die during tenure to the firm; receiving $50,000 or four months' salary, whichever is greater. Concierge services are available, as are working parents’ networks and parental leave benefits. While there are no tuition reimbursements, employees that receive their CPA within their starter year with the company get a financial bonus, and bonuses are also available for passing CPA classes. The company offers backup services for those whose daycare providers call in sick, and the office in New York boasts a comprehensive cafeteria with meals at subsidized prices.
4 Scripps Health
The San Diego-based non-profit health care system has been named one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" by Fortune Magazine for the 6th year running and offers a lucrative annual bonus cheque system for their more than 13,000 employees. In 2010 the company awarded nearly $4 million to employees who met their performance quotas. A college savings plan and discount tuition rates gives employees a chance to save on post-secondary education opportunities, and the company also provides life and accidental death insurance, as well as adoption reimbursement and onsite child care facilities. The company's wellness program offers healthy lifestyle assessments, programs and coaching, as well as a variety of preventative care activities. Employees also receive a plethora of convenience-based value-added perks through concierge services, on-site massages and pet insurance for those with fluffy four-legged life partners.
The global internet corporation based in Sunnyvale, CA, is a dream come true for many in the computer programming workforce, offering perks for employees on another level. Through its Influential Speakers Series, Yahoo! brings in Hollywood movie stars like Tom Cruise and inspirational big-name gurus like Deepak Chopra to help motivate and instill the exclamation point in their workforce. While work is long and hard the company also encourages its employees to play out stress on a regular basis, providing on-site gyms, basketball and volleyball courts. There's regular social activities from live concerts with Taylor Swift to enormous company sponsored barbeques. At the implementation of savvy CEO Marissa Mayer in 2013, a number of plans were announced with new perks including increased stock options for staff as well as free food and snacks available throughout the day. New parents receive cash bonuses of $500 for baby items, with generous maternity/paternity leave packages. Other Yahoo! programs include health and wellness and lifelong learning incentives for employees looking to better themselves in all areas of their lives. Yahoo! seemingly works hard to diminish the attraction of just showing up at work to phone in another indifferent shift.
Facebook has been hailed as the new workplace utopia; where employees work for the fun of it and hang out together drinking free bubbly, writing on walls and generally buzzing out on the high of life that is one endless frat party. With the company headquarters blazing a trail in open-concept office layouts and commissioning their walls to bad-boy graffiti artist David Choe, it certainly sounds like Facebook is on the cutting edge of corporate America. But with more than 1 billion users, the online social network of over 6,000 employees is arguably one of the biggest and most profitable businesses out there. Employees receive and endless menu of freebies from transportation and bike repair to dry cleaning, gym activities and meals. Headquarters offer everything from on-site candy shops, barber shops and video arcades to vending machine stocked with computer accessories. Expectant parents also receive baby bonuses to help with purchases, and those without children are able to access a plethora of medical and retirement benefits, stipends and reimbursements.
While you may stop to ask what could ever be better than a job at Facebook, the answer is simple: a job at Google. The perks of all other companies pale in comparison to those offered by this mega-sized, multinational tech company headquartered in Mountain View, CA. With 70 offices in over 40 countries and roughly 30,000 employees, you'd think they couldn't afford company perks. But each office offers its own unique benefits to employees. The Venice, CA office, for example, has several micro kitchens available full of snacks and locally produced foods, while the company garden in the courtyard offers a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. In all of its childcare centers organic vegetable gardens are in operation enabling kids to grow their own food while mom and dad collect the dough. Onsite services range from free hair cuts to gym facilities, laundry machines, massages, yoga, car washes and dinners. And $12,000 is offered annually to employees seeking reimbursement on tuition costs. Dogs in the office are allowed, and new parents can expense up to $500 for take out in the first few months of parenthood. It's a wonder employees actually live away from the office. On top of the day to day help with chores and meals, Google offers a variety of entertainment services as well from bowling alleys to bocce courts.
So, the next time your manager is breathing down your neck at your cubicle, perhaps you can offer a little wisdom from Google CEO Larry Page, who defines a thriving workplace lifestyle as a great relationship between employees; one where trust is nurtured for greater output and productivity.