By Alison Griswold
Startup culture and the Internet Age have inspired dozens of cool new corporate perks. We've picked out 13 of the most exciting:
A budget for taking actions to overcome your fears.
It may sound vague, but customer experience company Medallia in Palo Alto actually does this. Employees get cash to do something that helps them overcome a fear or weak spot. For example, someone who's afraid of public speaking can take a class on stand-up comedy and performing.
A decorating allowance.
To brighten up office spaces and help people feel at home, Google gives its employees a small budget to decorate and personalize their cubes. People buy everything from colorful lights to stuffed animals with the funds.
An all-expenses paid change of pace.
Prestigious law firm Quinn Emanuel recently announced the launch of a new perk it's calling "QE Work Away Week." Above The Law reports that the firm will give associates $2,000 to go work anywhere in the world they want for one week, provided they stay connected 24/7.
No late-night or weekend email.
What if you could really, truly unplug? At health-care consulting firm Vynamic, they can. In an effort to reduce stress, the company's CEO discourages employees from sending what he calls "Zmail" - any emails sent between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., according to the DailyWorth.
Time to explore the outdoors.
Well, not quite. But employees at World Wildlife Fund do get every other Friday off to spend time with their families and do outdoors activities.
Friday fun day.
At Justin.tv, the office allocates $300 every Friday for the staff to buy whatever they want at the liquor store. They call it "Fine Liquor Friday."
An on-site masseuse.
Wouldn't it be great to stroll upstairs at the end of your day and get a free massage? Health-related perks are big at Hyland Software, a developer and professional services company. Employees have access to a gym, fitness classes, and a masseuse.
Physical therapy and acupuncture.
At Cisco Systems, the LifeConnections Health Center offers primary care options such as physical therapy and acupuncture to help support healthy employee lifestyles.
Dance classes, chocolate-making lessons, and improv seminars.
Discovery wants its employees to stay creative, so it offers a whole host of wacky and interesting classes to them. Other options include watercoloring and fly-fishing.
A bike-buying stipend.
As a way of contributing to healthier commutes, organic food maker Clif Bar gives its workers a $500 stipend for buying a bicycle after their first year on the job. Clif Bar also reimburses up to $350 in race fees, in case people want to get competitive with their exercise, and has a rock climbing wall, gym, and yoga room.
A private concierge service.
Household products company SC Johnson offers employees access to a private concierge service that helps with anything from returning overdue library books to picking up dry cleaning.
Free laundry service.
JibJab Media gives its employees access to a free laundry service if they arrive by 10 a.m. on Mondays. Each person gets a laundry bag that they can stuff with clothing to be washed and folded by the next day, the DailyWorth reports.
Unlimited vacation policies.
Netflix, Best Buy, and Evernote are among the big-name companies that are tossing out traditional vacation policies for unlimited ones. Fans of unlimited vacation say it helps employees take long breaks to recharge and gives them added trust and flexibility.