If you’ve ever chatted with someone who works at a startup about their job, they’ll likely casually sprinkle the conversation with the unbelievable perks their company offers. They’ll nonchalantly mention the frozen yogurt bar, unlimited paid vacation, the endless surplus of dogs in the office. If a startup doesn’t offer cooking classes and kombucha on tap, there’s nothing to bat an eyelash over. Companies continue to one-up each other in the creative perks department.
Employee benefits provider Unum conducted a study in 2018, surveying 1,500 working adults on what they looked for in benefits when considering accepting a new job (not including the usuals, like health insurance). Paid time off topped the list—40 percent claiming it the most important—followed by remote working options at 30 percent. Lesser-expected perks that were frequently name-dropped included healthy lifestyle incentives, student loan repayment benefits, financial planning resources, sabbatical leave options, pet-friendly offices, and more. To plenty of startups and companies leaning into “modern working culture”, these benefits are no-brainers. It’s the really over-the-top perks that they use to court potential employees.
Here, we’re going to take a look at some of the truly unbelievable benefits that companies today offer.
Some Of The Most Incredible Perks We’ve Ever Heard
Midday Surfing: “We have a policy that when the surf comes up, you drop work and you go surfing,” said Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, in an interview with NPR. So that’s exactly what they do in their California-based offices. Company-wide announcements are made on especially good surf days.
Travel Stipends: Airbnb gives employees $2,000 per year ($500 each quarter) to stay in Airbnb listing anywhere in the world.
Take-Home Ice Cream: Ben & Jerry’s employees can take home three pints of ice cream. Every. Single. Day.
Year of Paid Maternity Leave: Of their various impressive benefits, one of the most unorthodox perks at Netflix is their year-long paid maternity and paternity leave. That’s right, a full 52 weeks to spend at-home with your newborn. Pretty unheard of stuff, over here!
Free Books: Penguin Random House has a “Free Books Program” that allows employees to order books free of charge, several times throughout the year.
Adoption and Surrogacy Reimbursement: Employees at CapitalOne have access to financial support and resources should they choose to build their families through adoption or surrogacy.
Pet Health Insurance: Even your furry child gets coverage! At Scripps Health, employees get the option for pet health insurance.
Ski Passes and Snow Days: Very on-brand that Burton gives their workers free ski passes and “snow days” when the weather is much better-suited to snowboarding than being in the office.
The Best Perks Girlboss Members Have Ever Had…
“When I worked at an ad agency, I used to get invited to all the media and tech parties, and in my early twenties, free bougie parties were the best perk. Now I would say it’s 401k matching. #ThisIs30” —Meghan Raab
“Travel passes with the airline I worked for. I once spent a weekend in London Christmas shopping.” —Dena Kouremetis
“Rosé on tap, catered meals daily, in-house gym, and awesome managers (yes, I’m listing it as a perk!).” —Anna Kovach
“I had a boss at a communications strategy company early in my career that took the whole office out Christmas shopping for ourselves in early December every year. There was about 15 employees, we each got $300 in cash and had one whole work day to hang out in downtown Seattle and spend the money on ourselves. At the end of the day, we were all required to meet for a dinner (also paid for by the company) and we shared what we had purchased with the group.” —Lindsay Braun
“Catered meals, stocked kitchens, free museum entry to San Francisco museums! And free in-office massages/bodywork.” —Dulma Altan
“I visited the Toms headquarters here in LA and I love how they cater to introverts and extroverts. Example: Glamping tents for working or meetings, small quiet spaces, big open bleacher seats for large meetings, centralized coffee bar, etc. So many cool spaces to change up your mindset and creativity depending on how you feel!” —Kate Abdelmalek
“Somewhere to take a nap—like an actual bed, in an isolated private room.” —Mathilde Delonca
“Probably the 401k match and forced days off for the workaholic who has guilt taking vacation.” —Catherine Hover
“Flexible hours, work from home Fridays year-round, and a stocked fridge (with snacks and booze) are always nice!” —Tania Metti