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May 6, 2015

Benefits? Perks? “What are those?” you might ask.

Yes, they may be hard to come by these days, but trust me, they do exist.

Don’t believe me? Check out these 20 real employee benefits (and I’ll have 13 more benefits tomorrow) in no particular order.

The 20 best employee benefits

  1. New dads get six (6) weeks paid leave — While new moms get 18 weeks off after the birth of a child, some companies are now offering new dads a bit of paid time-off as well. 18 versus six?! What’s going on here? I say give males and females the same amount – true gender equality in the workplace starts with paid time off! (Sarcasm folks, sarcasm.)
  2. House cleaning — Evernote is a San Francisco-based startup that now offers house cleaning services as part of its benefits package. Personally, I think this is nothing but a subtle attempt to keep employees working longer hours: “Oh cool! I don’t have to go home and clean so I can stay at work until The Walking Dead starts.”
  3. Laundry service — Monday is laundry day at JibJab Media in Venice, California and all 80 employees can turn in their unmentionables to be scrubbed, dried, and arranged in interesting origami shapes. Couple that with the house cleaning perk mentioned above and why would I ever need to leave my desk? Put a futon in each workspace and the transformation would be complete.
  4. Manipedi budget — What would you say to a $50 grooming perk each month? Systems and software engineering firm 2HB thinks this is a good idea. Employees can use the money for a mani, pedi, or – what I assume – must be a really great haircut ($50?! Really?). For the truly appearance-obsessed (or remarkably hirsute), that weekly trip to Great Clips or Super Cuts is now a reality!
  5. On-site masseuse — What’s more relaxing than a massage? How about a massage during six weeks paid leave while you’re having your house cleaned, getting your laundry done, and receiving a manipedi? Now that would be a perk. Back in real life, Veterans United employs an on-site masseuse to help other employees take a break. Who helps the masseuse relax? Is that an infinite regression of masseuses? A masseuse for a masseuse for a masseuse… How many times can I say masseuse?
  6. Fund what inspires you — Innovation requires inspiration and Brooklyn-based BBMG has come up with a way to foster the later: an inspiration account. Employees are given $500 annually to be used to further personal growth. Employees have used these funds for such things as 30 days of yoga, skydiving, guitar lessons, and tutu-making. Tutu-making, huh? Alright, beer and French fries for the house, on me.
  7. Friday yoga time — Brandsway Creative gathers its employees for a weekly, instructor-led yoga session that the company says helps workers relax, clear their head, generate creativity, and gain a new perspective. That being said, why not just let them out early (it is Friday after all)? Is there any doubt that they could do all those things (and more) sitting _________ (by a lake, on a couch…you fill in the blank) with a bottle of cake vodka? That’ll give you a new perspective real fast!
  8. Bring your dog to work — Sure it may sound like a good idea, but would you still agree if it was “bring your toddler to work and let them run around without a diaper day”? How much work really gets done when you have to keep an eye on an animal with free run of the office? And what about cat owners? Can you say “favoritism”? Being a devout misocynist (It’s a word. Look it up!), I think I would quit a job that offered this perk – or at least call in sick that day. Don’t get me wrong, puppies are cute just like babies are cute. At least a baby will eventually learn proper hygiene and not stick its nose in your crotch. Bring your dog to work day? How about if I just tinkle on the carpet once or twice and run around distracting everyone else. It’s about the same experience.
  9. Focus on family — Facebook takes a profoundly “family-focused” approach to its benefits package. New moms and dads get 16 months paid leave (finally some gender equality!) in addition to day care fees and $4000 cash after their child is born.
  10. Event tickets and transportation — Michigan-based Quicken Loans – owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers and eponymous sponsor of the Quicken Loans Arena – offers employees transportation and free tickets to home games at “The Q.” The only problem: it’s the Cleveland Cavaliers. (I kid because I love.)
  11. College scholarship programs — Business intelligence (oxymoron much?) and analytics company SAS offers a college scholarship program for children of employees. If you’re waiting for something humorous, I used it up with the oxymoron comment.
  12. 40 percent discount on shoes and accessories — We’re already 12 benefits through the list and I still haven’t found one I can get behind. This one is no exception. For my biennial shoe purchase, this might come in handy but for the other 23 months and 29 days, it’s just a waste of time.
  13. Prepaid legal — Zappos has found it in their heart to offer its employees prepaid legal as part of the benefits package. My question is what are Zappos employees doing that might necessitate that much use of the legal profession? Perhaps I’m rather dull but the events in my life have yet to demand consulting a lawyer. But then again, I don’t work at Zappos.
  14. Unlimited vacation — Just like it sounds. Red Frog Event Company offers its employees unlimited vacation time. All the employees need to do is make sure their work is getting done and that they are covered while they’re away. This one I wouldn’t mind having in my benefits package.
  15. Go green David Evans & Associates offers its employees cash incentives to go green. In this case, “going green” means getting to work in a more eco-friendly manner. Walk, bike, carpool, or ride the bus and workers can claim up to $6 a day. I like this perk and would definitely take advantage of it if I didn’t live in the middle of nowhere sans any discernible public transportation or carpooling options. And I’d love to ride my bike or walk to work but you think your commute is bad? Try 10 hours on foot or  two hours by bike (after which I’m too exhausted to work)!
  16. Shopping loans — As a professional, you can’t go wrong dressing the part. Unfortunately, a professional wardrobe can be quite costly. Umpqua Regional Bank offers employees a loan of up to $1000 to purchase clothes appropriate to the work environment. With the rapidly declining state of dress in the business world, you can’t go wrong encouraging higher standards. Two thumbs up to Umpqua for encouraging proper dress.
  17. Spouse death benefits — Here’s an interesting perk from everyone’s favorite search engine and internet overlord. Google offers employees death benefits. The spouse of a deceased Google employee receives half of their annual salary for 10 years plus stock benefits. On top of that, children of a deceased Google employee receive $1000 a month until they turn 19. I vowed I’d never do it but now I regret thinking English would be a good major in college. Computers boys and girls, computers
  18. Unlimited sick days — I always thought it was a bit harsh that you could be penalized for getting sick. I mean it’s not like I’m intentionally running through people’s sneezes or licking door knobs. I really don’t want to be sick; I’d much rather be at work than suffering through the flu. And stressing about being sick because my job might be on the line certainly isn’t helping me get better faster. Needless to say, I’d welcome this perk.
  19. Half-day Fridays and holiday breaks between Christmas and the New Year — I never did understand why companies try to do business in the six days (two of them are the weekend) between Christmas and the New Year. Mentally, employees are checked out (or still hung over) and everyone else in the world is on vacation so not much gets done. Unless you’re closing on a billion dollar merger, there’s really no reason to work between Christmas and the New Year. This benefit just makes sense.
  20. Green boost — I’m not sure I would take advantage of it but I have to admit that Integrated Archive System’s “green boost” perk is a good thing. Since 2004, IAS employees get a $10,000 subsidy to purchase a hybrid vehicle. According to Business Insider, the program is being utilized by over half of IAS employees.

Tomorrow: A baker’s dozen (13) more great employee benefits