Categorized | Career

Unconventional Benefits

Posted on 21 August 2008

Increasing ranks of job hunters have espoused the notion that compensation doesn’t necessarily have to be monetary, and have become more interested in a healthy work/life balance.

So what are some of the more attractive benefits to look for these days?

Health Benefits

Obviously, you want the most comprehensive health and dental plan possible. Health care is absurdly expensive, and danger and illness lurk around every corner (at least that’s what HMOs would have you believe). Also, short/long-term disability benefits will ensure you a job and at least a hardy portion of your paycheck, should you suffer serious injury or illness. Aside from traditional plans, though, employers are offering more progressive perks.

  • Holistic/wellness care — Helps you to maintain optimal health of body and mind, with counseling services, massage credits, weight-loss help, stop-smoking programs, and ready access to ancient Eastern healing therapies that involve the application of foul-smelling unguents and sharp needles.
  • Health clubs — Some firms will reimburse you your gym dues, if they don’t have an actual gym on the premises already. Also, many offer, or offer to pay for CPR programs, swimming lessons, aerobics or anything else they might be up to at the local gym.
  • Company sports teams — A fine, socially acceptable way to bond with co-workers and mock those less athletically gifted superiors.

Workplace Benefits

It’s no longer enough to have a good job. Employees want a good office environment.

  • Greater flexibility — Innovations include flextime, which allows workers to set their own hours (10-6, 8-4, 10-hour workdays and Fridays off et cetera), half-day Fridays and the option to telecommute (work from home, generally over a modem).
  • Food and drink — All the rage in the Internet industry — employees get free food, drink, and sometimes even beer.
  • Facilities — In many larger office complexes, employees have access to ATMs, dry cleaning services, on-site child care, concierge services, hair stylists and the like. Games such as foosball and air hockey have also become fairly common, another vestige from the dot.com boom (ingenious employers realized that by conceding 1 hour of playtime, they could justify expecting their workers to put in 12-hour days).
  • Casual dress — Spend less money on suits, and less time getting dressed in the morning.
  • Pets — Some companies allow their workers to bring pets to work. This is usually only a perk for the pet owner, and a maddening distraction for everyone else within earshot.
  • Commuting expense reimbursement – Get back the money you spend on gas, mileage and mass-transit passes. This is a tremendous benefit.

Out-of-Workplace Benefits

It just ain’t a work/life balance without a life.

  • Vacation time — Obviously, the more the better. Ironically, the surest way to increase productivity is to offer plenty of vacation time. While Americas don’t quite grasp this notion, the Europeans have it down to a science.
  • Holidays — The more recognized, the better. Plus, many companies offer two or more “floating holidays,” which are essentially vacation days workers can use to (wildly) celebrate criminally unrecognized holidays, like Flag Day.
  • Sick/personal days — Again, the more, the better. If at all possible come to work when you’re sick so you don’t have to waste precious sick days in bed oozing various salty fluids.
  • Sabbaticals — These aren’t very common, especially for lower-level workers. Essentially, you can take leave (generally unpaid) with the guarantee of a job when you return.
  • Tuition reimbursement/discounts to cultural events — It behooves a company to keep its employers well rounded and inquisitive. One way to ensure this is through adult education (job-specific or otherwise) and discounted admission/memberships to museums, theaters et cetera.

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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Resume Tips says:

    Perks definitely make all the difference. An excellent perk that some employers may offer is the opportunity to work from home a few days a week. This means less money spent on eating out and gas and you will actually get more accomplished with the few extra hours you save from not having to commute or get dressed up for work. Even if your company doesn’t offer a work from home option, that doesn’t mean you can’t ask. You might be surprised by how many employers are actually receptive to idea, but they just haven’t been asked yet.

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  2. Essential Feeling says:

    Massage is also a great way to relax. Companies get massage therapist into their place of business to give massage to workers

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