NEW YORK — With working hours getting ever longer, savvy business are turning to creative ways of increasing employee satisfaction. Whether it’s freezing staff members’ eggs, creating a disco tunnel in the office or offering unlimited vacation time, companies are thinking outside the box to keep their staff happy.
The offices at advertising agency Karmarama could easily double for a playroom. The firm hosts a ping-pong area, a motorcycle repair room, and several video game consoles. The company has even introduced a disco tunnel that employees can walk through before hitting their desks.
“A space that makes people happy to come to work each day…plays a part in them feeling inspired and doing brilliant work,” explains company founder Dave Buonaguidi. There is even a fiberglass “Karma Llama” that employees are encouraged to rub for luck.
Mark Zuckerberg’s empire hit the headlines recently following Facebook’s announcement that female employees would be eligible for free egg freezing.
The $20,000 contribution from the company — a benefit that Apple also plans to introduce in the coming months — is intended to ‘level the playing field’ between men and women by giving women a greater opportunity to establish their careers before taking time out for motherhood.
While the policy has been met with a great deal of negativity from critics questioning whether an organization should have a say in its staff’s reproductive choices, the financial contribution to a process many would otherwise be unable to afford could make a huge amount of difference.
Virgin’s head honcho Richard Branson delighted his staff last month after announcing that they will be entitled to unlimited time off work. The company’s employees won’t even need to fill out forms or seek approval with bosses: the policy allows people to just get up and go whenever they feel like taking a break. Despite seeming almost too good to be true, Branson isn’t worried about people abusing the privilege. He said in his speech that he believes the move will help build trust .
With big money comes big perks, and the range of office accoutrements at Google do not disappoint. Staff are offered gourmet meals gratis, given free bus rides to work and encouraged to bring their pooches into the office with them. All of this, alongside the company’s ‘free booze’ Fridays, no-cost gym facilities and on-site day care for kids, makes Google one seriously desirable place to work. Bowling enthusiast will also delight in the company’s indoor bowling alley, which encourages team work and camaraderie amongst its employees.
Omnigon, a digital consulting firm, turns week nights into party nights thanks to their in-house DJ booth. The New York-based office starts happy hour at 5 o’clock on Thursdays, and employees are encouraged to request their own tracks or have a spin on the company decks. It gives TGIF a whole new meaning.
Family company SC Johnson aims to make employees’ lives a little easier by giving them access to a concierge. Last-minute laundry and unfinished errands can be a thing of the past thanks to the service, which aims to alleviate the day-to-day pressures of life outside work from its staff. The organization also offers retired staffers a lifetime membership to its gym.
ROCK CLIMBING WALL
For those hoping to burn off extra energy during office hours, Chesapeake Energy’s rock climbing wall allows employees to do just that. The company boasts a 72,000-square-foot fitness center that also features an Olympic-sized swimming pool, two basketball courts and more than 70 exercise classes per week, so those hoping to stay in shape aren’t short of opportunities. Chesapeake’s Living Well program also rewards staff who show an interest in fitness, with a $1,500 bonus for those who actively work towards a healthy body weight.
Each year, workers at PR company Havas Worldwide are treated to their own summer music festival, where staff are encouraged to cut loose with good music. “Our culture and people are our most important assets and fundamental to our success as a creative business,” said Russ Lidstone, CEO.
Staff who successfully fill out their timesheets at Minneapolis advertising agency Colle+McVoy are rewarded by a bounteous beer tap, which only activates once their work is done. The TapServer — a ‘multi-keg beer deployment system’ — just requires a scan of the employee’s card and presto: the perfect after-work tipple delivered right to your desk.