The employment genie has sprung out of his shiny lamp to grant you three wishes. If you could have anything you liked at work, what would you wish for?
We’re not talking about wage bumps or fixed bonuses, healthcare or insurance—those are basics. We’re talking about the stuff you think your boss might consider ludicrous but that you’d love to have, things like a giant bouncy castle and big ball pit—for your kids to play in, of course.
It’s a wish list after all. Go crazy. Think out of the box.
“Childcare subsidy… transport allowance… working from home?” says Darrell Goh, Account Manager at a prominent Internet company which already provides other commonly coveted perks like flexible hours, breakfasts and catered lunches every day, and dental and vision plans.
“I want a nap room for taking power naps. I want to wear berms to work if I’m not meeting any external clients… and I want to telecommute,” says Danny Han, a public sector executive.
Telecommuting (which is pretty controversial where corporates are concerned: see ‘pro’ and ‘against’ arguments) seems to top the wish list, with most people yearning to sidestep the painful commute altogether by working from home. Several other key factors seem to also greatly contribute to work-life balance.
For the women especially, child-friendly facilities at the workplace rank up there with flexible work hours and telecommuting. A nursing room for mothers and a children’s playroom where kids can entertain themselves were listed, as well as company-sponsored or heavily subsidised off-site childcare services—“because childcare is so expensive in this country”.
Other common wishes on the list include housing and car or parking/transport provisions, mobile phone and internet subsidies, health and fitness allowances for gym memberships and discounts on sporting activities like rock climbing, diving, etc. Fruit baskets and cold drinks (a large pantry essentially), in-house massage services and the ability to legitimately sleep at work also feature commonly among people’s wish lists (a “nap room”).
Some less common requests included an “eat-with-family” day, time off for pursuing personal interests, a game room, and one ex-consultant talked about a scheme at his previous company where they could work 10 months and take the last 2 months of the year off.
That falls under flexible timing, which a lot of people seem to desire. One female banker wished for a flexible 5th day each week, i.e. the ability to work 4 days and take the 5th day off or telecommute on that day. “Basically if I have no pressing project or work or meeting, I want to be able to choose not to show up.”
All in all, the top 5 things that Singaporeans seem to wish for at work are:
- The ability to work from home
- Flexible working hours
- Vehicle/parking/transportation provisions
- Childcare services or subsidies and/or child-friendly facilities at work
- A nap room
Referencing Google, the juggernaut of corporate benefits, some of their most-loved employee perks include free food and haircuts, free rental cars for running errands, free gyms and massages on campus, free fitness classes and organised sports, on-site day care, pet-friendly offices, free booze on Fridays, six weeks of paid paternity leave for new dads, free concierge services, extended time off to follow your passions, and the ultimate kicker—‘death benefits’.
If a Googler (applicable to U.S. employees) passes away, “all their stock vests immediately, and on top of the life insurance payout, their surviving spouse continues to get half of the Googler’s salary for the next 10 years. And there’s an additional $1,000/month benefit for any of the Googler’s children.”
And really, that’s how you keep an employee for life I think… till death do you part.
Fortune Magazine presented their list of the Best Companies to Work For in 2013—no prizes for guessing who won again this year.
See some of the other fascinating workspaces of successful internet companies and check out six other companies with awesome employee perks.
So, what’s on YOUR wish list?