Gone are the days of free fruit or a coffee machine making a workplace really desirable. Nowadays businesses are getting savvier with their benefits to ensure they snag top talent. Here are seven unbelievable employee perks that are getting Australians out of bed in the morning.
- No nine-to-five workday. With work emails on our phones and deadlines keeping many of us working at all hours both inside and outside the office, the concept of the working day as nine-to-five, Monday-to-Friday is (for many people) outdated. That’s why entertainment company Netflix decided to do away with it and give their employees “Freedom and Responsibility”. Their argument is that as long as you do the work, you don’t need to clock standard hours. They say, “There is also a no clothing policy at Netflix, but no one comes to work naked. Lesson: you don’t need policies for everything.”
- Unlimited annual leave. Inspired by Netflix’s flexible working policy, Richard Branson introduced unlimited annual leave for all Virgin employees. Because, as he pointed out, if our work hours aren’t being logged, why should our holidays be? Virgin allows all salaried staff to take time off whenever they want for as long as they want, and they don’t have to get approval or keep track of their days away. The only condition is that employees must only take leave when their team is up-to-date on projects and when their absence won’t damage the business. Here’s hoping this idea takes off!
- School pick-up and drop-off time. Melbourne-based startup Envato has reduced core business hours of 10am to 4pm, allowing employees to work around school drop-offs and pick-ups, or simply sleep in if they’re not morning people. HR Director James Law says, “At Envato we understand that people have lives, and that work is only one part of this. We try and make work as flexible as possible by allowing people to work from anywhere that suits how they want to live, and where they are most effective. That means we have people working from home, cafes, shared work spaces and even overseas!”
- $2,000 referral bonus. Companies are only as valuable as the employees they have, so it makes sense that any help finding their new excellent employee is rewarded – that’s why staff referral bonuses exist. It’s not uncommon for a company to hand out a couple of hundred bucks for this, but software development company Atlassian goes a step further and offers an incredible $2,000 bonus for anyone who refers someone for a permanent, full-time position. You don’t even have to be working there to do so! Atlassian clearly understand the value of incredible workers, and is prepared to invest in them.
- A support network. We know we’re tooting our own horn by including ourselves on this list, but the truth is SEEK cares a lot about our employees. That’s why we believe it’s important to focus on both our mental and physical wellbeing. SEEKer Support is a confidential service that offers SEEK employees up to three complimentary sessions with an external professional of their choice. Whether they need support to manage or cope with a personal or work-related issue, SEEKer Support is available 24/7. HR Manager Jemima Grieve says, “At SEEK, we recognised that a typical Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) was not providing the level of tailored support that our people needed during difficult times. We’re proud to offer a service that is accessible and allows the individual to choose the right option for them.”
- Annual travel credit. If you’ve ever found yourself stuck at home, unable to scrounge together the cash to get out of town for your annual leave, then you’ll appreciate this one. Online accommodation marketplace Airbnb gives all of its employees an annual travel credit to go anywhere in the world they want to. It’s a smart way of making sure their workers actively engage in the product, sure, but it also encourages their employees to take time off and see the world.
- 100-seat theatre and a games room. Many companies say they “work hard and play hard”, but how many can actually live up to that claim? Interactive can. The IT company provides its employees with purpose-built entertainment facilities. Lisa Sim, General Manager of Marketing, says, “We have a games room where table tennis showdowns are a regular feature and we have plenty of social spaces where staff hang out. We also have a 100-seat theatre where we have televised sporting events like the Super Bowl and even hosted an indoor staff cycling challenge. Friends from the cycling community set up a virtual race on our big screen and staff brought in their bikes and rode along.”
Everyone knows that the happier employees are, the better they're likely to perform, and these companies are definitely giving their Australian workers things to be happy about!
With work emails on our phones and deadlines keeping many of us working at all hours both inside and outside the office, the concept of the working day as nine-to-five, Monday-to-Friday is (for many people) outdated.