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3/15/2015
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Kelly Sheridan
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10 Sweet Job Perks In Tech

Free snacks are yesterday's news. Now tech companies offer $10,000 office decoration budgets and helicopter rides. Here's a look at what Google, Pinterest, Airbnb, Facebook, and others offer employees.
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Image: Wikipedia
Image: Wikipedia

By now, it's common knowledge that the benefits of working at many tech companies go far beyond health insurance and paid vacation days. Tech businesses trying to hire and retain top talent are starting to get creative in terms of what they offer employees.

When you think of where the best perks are offered, Google is usually top of mind. After all, the company offers free gourmet meals, nap pods, massages, and even a concierge service to take care of personal duties like party and home-improvement planning. Its over-the-top headquarters reflect the growing trend of offering excessive benefits to talented employees.

While Google is one of the bigger household names, there are plenty of sweet job perks offered at a broad range of tech companies, from software giants to small startups. My personal favorites on this list? Helicopter rides, frequent trips to the Apple store, and the ability to take a dog to work.  

In most cases, benefits like unlimited (and free) vacation and fully stocked kitchens are intended to lure in top talent and keep people from hunting for new gigs. Yet some perks are pretty sneaky at keeping employees working in the office for longer hours per day. If they are offered free gourmet dinner or in-office exercise classes, workers don't need to worry about leaving to grab lunch or hit the gym.

[iPhone Will Sport 'Force Touch' Tech Later This Year]

Lavish perks have become ubiquitous throughout the tech industry. The trend has even created a job category of its own. Many businesses now hire "workplace coordinators" who lead teams that aim to cater to employees' wishes, the Wall Street Journal reports. They fly under the radar and function as a sort of concierge service, responsible for planning office happy hours and keeping the kitchen stocked with favorite snacks. 

It seems excessive, but such job positions are necessary when successful tech companies grow to hundreds or thousands of employees. In a market where tech wizards receive multiple job offers and sky-high salaries right out of college, interesting perks like fitness classes, game rooms, and haircuts can make a big difference in whether a company gains or loses valuable talent.  

As the perks get bigger, employees try to push their boundaries. One worker at Pinterest asked the company to build a zip line to a nearby bar. At Adobe, another inquired about the possibility of getting a Slip 'n Slide for use during the day. The zip line got a no, unfortunately, but Chris Lavoie, global event strategist at Adobe, spoke more vaguely about the slide. "I'm not making any promises," he admitted to the Journal.

They may not have zip lines, but some of the perks at today's tech companies are pretty outrageous. Click through to see what's on offer. If you could have any job perk, what would it be? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
3/18/2015 | 11:55:47 PM
Re: The Ultimate Perk

@Broadway0474    These are really great questions you bring up.   And to be honest - it depends.  It depends on a number of factors but for some - They are lucky enough to fly under the radar in a 8 to 5 setting.

And for others no matter what they do - the 8 to 5 'ers just don't want them in their particular club.   I have worked primarily in entertainment based tech for the past 15 yrs. where I only worked as long as the budget was still there.  

Hardily a typical 8 to 5 type of atmosphere, so working from home becomes a necessity as you wait for that next "creatively challenged" piece of work to come in. 

Contrast that with a more traditional IT role and depending on the company and your skill set - one can literally retire in the world of 8 to 5.  So I understand that my situation is somewhat unique and still remember how if I had played the game - could have comfortably become bored with an 8 to 5.

 But to answer your question - no you (we) have not been sold a bill of goods - if you are working from home - you are ahead of the game IMO.  It is the future and for many the present.   Do you really think companies are going to hire anymore than they do now ?  

As I see it working from home is like hedging your bet, taking out insurance ...it is a must.   Those that don't think about this seriously will find themselves eventually at the mercy of the 8 to 5 er's.   

 

And by then it will be too late.

Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
3/18/2015 | 10:55:02 PM
Re: The Ultimate Perk
@Technocrati, I thought we live in a world where working from home was more and more an option? And that 8 to 5 days are the things becoming more rare? Have I been sold a bill of goods? Are the work-life advocates blowing smoke?
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
3/18/2015 | 10:20:47 AM
Re: Dress code
Technorati, 

"Because I have experience "haters" just because I choose to dress with some sense of style and self respect. Not to mention I get the job done."

That's the most important. I think you are the one who is right dressing with sense of style and self-respect. But, well, if I am not in the gym I don't feel comfortable wearing such clothes for anything else, let alone a work environment. 

-Susan
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
3/17/2015 | 10:49:19 PM
Re: Dress code
I agree with the casual approach to dress and productivity, but one has to also think about what one really wants from their position. I come from an engineering background where it is commonplace for people to wear t-shirts.

Now I understand the reasons for t-shirts but those who wear them should not wonder that they are not often valued by the company. Sure there are many who play the "haggared genius" role but this is at least part of the reason that suits see IT as a cost center.

If engineers and techs want to be taken seriously, they will need to make an effort to comply with some of the norms of success. I am not saying wear a suite or even a tie - but a collared shirt ?  Is that too much to ask?

This really has bother me my entire career, and either I am in the wrong role or those around me are.   Because I have experience "haters" just because I choose to dress with some sense of style and self respect.  

Not to mention I get the job done.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
3/17/2015 | 10:30:21 PM
Re: The Ultimate Perk
"...Most employers still have that mentality where they expect folks at their desks 8 to 5."


@Somedude8   Very true.  It is very difficult to do and I would think one has a better chance of it ( working at home ) only after years of toil in the 8 to 5 atmosphere.  Anyone who really wants to do this probably has better luck with the non-traditional enterprises out there.

Consulting is really the only way one gains this type of freedom, granted it is easier said than achieved.

Then again in the World we live in today, working from home may no longer be an option.
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Strategist
3/17/2015 | 8:49:30 AM
Re: Google has the Ticket
@gary_el I also get a boost of productivity after some exercise. Usually I just take a walk around the block at lunch, but a gym would be great! 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
3/17/2015 | 5:27:36 AM
Yoga, ball pits, dressing up for themed days ...
I loved that about getting dressed up for themed days. :D So much fun gets employees in a great good mood, which in turn translates into productiivity. What a great idea. 

I also like that many of the companies mentioned offer free yoga classes and a Zen meditation room. The benefits of yoga and meditation clearly refects in productivity as well and a great feeling of general joy and welbeing. 

That ball pit, hmm. So much fun as well. :D I have seen people in meetings in one of those ball pits at the Slush startup conference in Helsinki. 

There is no doubt that the office environment is changing for good, admiting that employees are human beings and not a piece of rigid furniture is a great step.

-Susan 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
3/17/2015 | 5:05:32 AM
Re: The Ultimate Perk
[email protected],

" ... open the fridge as many times I want ... "

That's one of the things I love the most from working from home. :D The silence, and not having anyone around when I am working. If sometimes I feel like having people around I just go to a café and work from there for a while. But it can't be a very crowded café. :) 

-Susan
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
3/17/2015 | 5:00:09 AM
Re: Dress code
[email protected]

Why do you feel more comfortable in casual wear? 

-Susan
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
3/17/2015 | 1:35:21 AM
Google has the Ticket
The thing I would value the most is the opportunity to do some serious cardio at lunchtime. I wouldn't need anything elaborate as Google's pool - just something a choice of Precor machines would do. I once worked a temp job where there was a gym and showers, with a cafeteria next door. 30 minutes sweating, 15 minutes dressing and showering, and 15 minutes with a bagel and coffe. I was ready to conquer the world when I got back to my desk!
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