Decades ago, a benefits package with health insurance and maybe a few sick days was considered a home run. Today, if your company doesn’t have three dogs on staff and a nap room — forget about it.
This major shift in the way we think about perks and benefits was on full display last week at PerksCon: a gathering of startups who, while different in name and mission, are united by their shared goal of promoting employee health and happiness.
As you might expect, many perks-focused companies a specific practical need: lunchtime catering in the case of Platterz, pre-tax spending made simple with Alice and MommaWork making life as a new parent more manageable.
Paul O’Reilly-Hyland, CEO and founder of Zeamo, shared a vision of benefits that are “digital and democratized” — easy to access and available to all employees, be they CEO or mail person, in-office or remote. His NYC-based company allows organizations to offer their employees access to a range of boutique gyms and fitness clubs for a low monthly fee.
“For a busy HR or benefits person, you have a lot to do,” said O’Reilly-Hyland. “But, you want to be able to offer [your employees] a fitness option. The easiest thing to do is offer a digital model.”
This digital model ensures that all employees have equal access to their benefits. O’Reilly-Hyland said one of Zeamo’s earliest clients was a major NYC-based investment bank with employees scattered the world ‘round, from New York to Melbourne.
Companies like Floss Bar and Rocket Lawyer are working to streamline benefits in their own ways.
The need to attract and retain the very best workers has also led tech down the path to some, shall we say, less orthodox perks.
NYC-based Floss Bar caters to “people with teeth,” as it were. The company brings dental cleaning to offices with its fleet of on-the-move dentists and hygienists. The goal is to provide access to necessary services to employees across the board, in a way that is more convenient for them than wasting a vacation day to get a dental cleaning six months from now.
Rocket Lawyer, a San Francisco-based company, allows companies to offer simple legal services to their employees. While you may not be needing representation for your Judge Judy appearance, Rocket Lawyer helps with paperwork related to marriages, mortgages and more.
The need to attract and retain the very best workers has also led tech down the path to some, shall we say, less orthodox perks. PerksCon presented a unique peek into the next wave of perks and benefits — with bold, and even downright quirky, concepts you might not expect from your HR department.
Be Time, a bus-based meditation studio, was parked right outside of the convention hall, inviting passersby to step off the sidewalk and into a glowing, purple room with ten meditation stations, plus room for an instructor. Be Time also provides meditation instructors, or alternately offers headphones with a number of guided meditations for users to try.
Cubii takes a slightly more active approach to in-office wellness with its popular under-desk elliptical that claims to be capable of burning 150 calories per hour. While it proved easy enough to get into the rhythm of Cubii at the test station, I imagine it may be difficult to get work done for those of us who struggle with chewing gum and walking at the same time.
Maniorpedi offers (surprise!) on-demand manicures and pedicures via a mobile nail salon, perfect for rewarding employees after a strong quarter or as a lead-up to the office holiday party. ReCover offers relaxation stations, such as chairs with built-in air massages, ideal for the office nap room. TeamBonding designs activities that bring companies and teams together in a casual, positive atmosphere.
The list really does go on.
While some may question the value of the tech industry’s tendency to smother its employees with perks (like, who really needs an in-office ball pit? [ed note: wouldn’t say no, honestly]), there is no doubting that an increased focus on employee satisfaction is a net positive. Sign us up.