Companies like Google and Netflix are famous for their glamorous perks – whether it’s free food or unlimited paid parental leave; and in the case of airbnb, US$2,000 worth of free holidays a year.

In a competitive environment, that’s what it takes to attract and retain valuable people, and to keep them skilled-up and engaged.

Why do businesses build perks and benefits (there is a difference) into their employment offering? As Telstra explains, they’re rewarding their people for embodying their corporate values, and helping contribute to making Telstra a great place to work. Telstra offers its staff discounts on their products and services, and a company-wide rewards program called ZING, amongst other things.

We asked John Cooksey, Partner at talent acquisition and advisory firm Brown & Chase, for his list of the most common, and some of the lesser-known perks, being enjoyed by employees today.

Google office

Google’s Mountain Californian headquarters – known as the “Googleplex”, is well known for its office perks.

Parental Benefits

If you want to keep good people in your company, offer more time off work on full pay after the birth of a baby – for mothers AND fathers; and once they get back from leave, allow a more flexible work schedule to allow for school pick-ups, sick kids etc.

Health and Fitness

Healthy employees take fewer sick days, so it makes sense to offer gym memberships (or reimbursement of people’s health club memberships). Other perks include access to an on-site swimming pool, tennis court, wellness centre or even to a free counseling service. A business might also give treatments like massages or acupuncture in the workplace, or do health screenings.

Financial wellbeing programs

Money worries can adversely affect employees’ mental and physical health, and their motivation at work. Increasingly organisations like Commbank are offering financial wellbeing programs to help staff manage their budgets, set and manage goals and cope with unexpected financial setbacks.

Catering

Many companies give workers free food during their working day, ranging from free hot breakfasts, up to three catered meals a day at Google. This perk can save you a motza, not to mention if you’re working for a business that has free (good) coffee on tap.

Work from anywhere

Remote working is pretty common these days, but in some corporates, you can hot-desk with enormous flexibility. Want to work in the corporate cafe or sit in a nearby park? If it’ll get you in the zone, some businesses (including BT Financial and PwC) are ok with that, within reason.

Working from home, office perks

Remote working is pretty common these days, but in some corporates, you can hot-desk with enormous flexibility.

Travel compensation

Many employees have to commute long distances and pay a small fortune for tolls and/or parking and for public transport. Again, having some or all of that reimbursed by your employer can be a huge saving (and it’s a huge enticement to work there).

7 perks you might not have heard of

  1. Employee panels
    KPMG have conducted national panels so employees can share their own journeys. The idea is to discuss issues that commonly affect employees, like mental health, and to give useful information as well as access to resources.
  2. Concierge services
    They assist with boring daily chores like dry cleaning pickup/delivery and car washing.
  3. Take your pets to work
    Salesforce is famous for its doggy daycare, giving each pet its own special ID badge. Employees can relax knowing their beloved fur babies aren’t pining at home alone.
  4. Unlimited holiday leave
    Being free to pursue what you love makes you perform better in your job, apparently. LinkedIn call theirs Discretionary Time Off (DTO).
  5. Lego room to encourage collaboration (PwC)
  6. Free cooking classes (Deloitte)
  7. Bowling alley, barber shop, laundromat and basketball courts (Google)