Five workplace perks you didn’t know you wanted

Pets in the office? Lavish free meals? Ping pong tables galore?

Research from recruitment site, Totaljobs, found that one in three employers are actively investing in improving their office spaces, from practical additions like showers and quiet rooms to quirkier features like games rooms and office bars.

Would a fancier office lure you? Or are you all about the flexible working perks? We delve into five of the extra bonuses some workplaces are offering as they try and stay ahead of the game.

1. Making dreams come true

Brighton-based marketing agency, Propellernet, really mean business when it comes to keeping their employees “superengaged”, as they call it. With 5% of their profits going into a Fun and Wellbeing Fund, they are all about creating experiences for their employees.

Fancy a chance to see your dream become a reality with the office “Dreamball Machine”? Employees submit their dreams in “Dream Balls” that are put into a craftily repurposed old-fashioned gumball machine. When the agency hits a target, a ball is drawn and the employee’s wish is granted. From going to the World Cup, to taking a motorbike trip across Africa, they’re certainly dreaming big.

A woman using a gumball machine.

2. "Fur-ternity" leave

Digital marketing agency, Nina Hale, are committed to their employees’ furry friends. Following in the footsteps of BrewDog brewery and Mars, their “fur-ternity leave” policy offers new pet parents a week of working from home to help their new family members settle in. As Donna Robinson, CEO, puts it in a statement on the company's website: “Part of embracing employee satisfaction as a business priority means recognising important life events that happen outside of the office.”

Under a variety of pun-tastic policy names (“pet-ternity” and “paw-ternity”, anyone?), paid pet parent leave has become increasingly popular. Excuse us whilst we go and adopt our fifth cat…

A dog loving its human.

3. Free travel

As an Airbnb employee, you can enjoy annual travel credit to help you “live your best life”. According to employees on recruitment site Glassdoor, benefits include $2,000 worth of Airbnb credits each year ($500 per quarter). We're sure these adventures are all in the name of work research, of course...

A packed suitcase.

4. Nap pods

Need to recharge? These workplaces have got your back. Several companies, from Google to Ben & Jerry’s, are recognising the power of the nap with dedicated resting areas in their offices. Google’s sleep pods have a range of fancy features including built-in speakers and a gentle reawakening through a programmed combination of lights, music and vibration.

With the latest report from The Sleep Council finding that 74% of Brits sleep fewer than seven hours per night, this might be a welcome office addition for many.

Someone using a nap pod.

5. Leave, all the leave

Let's face it, sometimes you just need a break. How does an unlimited holiday allowance sound? Yes, you read that right. Multinational companies like Virgin, Netflix and Pinterest are offering up this tempting perk on the understanding that employees will work hard and get the job done. Smaller companies are also getting involved, such as digital marketing agency, Visualsoft. According to their company website, the aim is to "allow you to take the downtime you deserve, to relax and do life."

Not everyone is convinced it's not without its downfalls but, with over a quarter (26%) of respondents in a recent survey by SmallBusinessPrices saying they would prefer additional holiday/sabbaticals and flexible working hours over a pay rise, perhaps these companies have got it sussed.

A man relaxing in a hammock.

According to research from a UK arm of Canada Life (a life assurance company), 85% of employees are more likely to work for employers who offer clearly labelled benefits (rising to 94% of workers aged 25-34). When the stakes are so high, it's no wonder companies' offerings are getting more elaborate. With so many different options, maybe it’s time to stop and think – what really makes you tick in the workplace? And which perks would get you closer to the Holy Grail of a work-life balance?

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