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Next Generation Employment: Peachy Perks and Abstract Offices (Guest Blog)

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Several years ago now I went for a job interview at a marketing company (who shall remain nameless) and was shocked by what I found. The building was stunning; a glass-fronted, high-spec barn conversion with voice recognition technology at the gates. I pressed the button. A bubbly girl greeted me and invited me in. It was a sort of prelude to what I found inside; various bright young things and beautiful people milling about – most walking barefoot on the thick-piled carpet. One girl had even turned up for work in – get this - her pyjama bottoms.

It gets worse, or better depending on your stance. In place of the ubiquitous padded plastic office chair I was presented with thrift-store sourced leather wingback arm chairs and pouffe’s. Workers were not sat bolt upright in health & safety pleasing positions but were cross-legged or slouching. Instead of the standard issue PC I saw rows of trendy and desirable Apple Macs. Instead of being greeted by the usual white-noise of office chatter, I instead heard blasting out of the office P.A system the latest trendy techno-math-rock group. Standing there in a suit I suddenly felt painfully outmoded. Needless to say, they didn’t think I was a fit either. 

With this in mind, here are some of the more über-trendy offices and working conditions that should appeal to today’s potential young employees:

TheBahnhof in Sweden is The Bomb

It doesn’t get much more unorthodox than the workplace of this Scandinavian Internet provider; their office in Stockholm is an abandoned nuclear bomb shelter – 30ft underground. If that wasn’t enough, conferences are held in a glass-walled, circular structure known as the ‘moon room’.

No corporate ladders at Grip Limited, Toronto   

Let stairs be a thing of the past. Grip Limited in Toronto have come up with a number of office innovations to alleviate the tedium of everyday work - bright orange fun-slides and fireman’s poles anyone? But that’s not all there is to this rather cool glass-and-plastic building. There is an on-site hot tub used not for an end-of-the-day winding down session, but for brainstorms and team meetings. I’d get that application in asap if were you.

Bowled over by Google’s perks

Google deserve a mention for some of the rather good perks they offer. Most of these promote team-building through fun and activity – such as bowling and ‘boccie-ball’, but for female (or male?!) employees who need some beauty therapy Google have personnel available to shape your eyebrows.

Mattel offer Something for the weekend

The child in us can only wonder at what the inside of a toy company looks like. In reality it is probably not that exciting. Mattel offer something arguably better; a longer weekend. Work for Mattel and the clock will stop at precisely 1:00 on a Friday. 

Health Before Wealth with Veterans United

Veterans United provide loans to service personnel whether active or retired in order to allow them to buy their own homes. In order to help their staff unwind and get the best loan deals for these veterans, VU have a number of in house masseurs to deal with knotted backs and aching limbs. After massaging all their stress away employees can grab a snack from the salad and fruit bar!

HZDG are not run of the (tread) mill

The CEO of any company needs a place to let off steam and keep their mental and physical fitness at a peak. For Karen Zuckerman, the big cheese at creative agency HZDG, this place was at the gym with her personal trainer. So much did she benefit from this helping hand with her exercise regime that the aforementioned personal trainer now runs an office boot camp for her employees.

Do perks like these really make a difference?

Despite these modern tactics, a recent poll carried out by Career Builder found that ultimately cash was still what it came down to for most employees with 70% of respondents stating that salary increases were the best way to improve staff retention. However, a sizable 58% felt that better job perks would also make a big difference.

The top benefits an employer could offer according to respondents were:

-Flexible Working Schedules
-Recognition (awards and prizes)
-Listening to and acting on feedback from employees

Understandably there are some who would baulk at these highly modern, libertarian takes on the classic office paradigm. Is this progress in action? Workplace evolution? Or is it just a cynical way for an employer to please a new generation of employees and to be seen to be moving with the times…wherever that may be.

What is your opinion?

Vicky works alongside http://www.hrprotected.co.uk/, HR document specialists. She is an avid blogger with a special interest in business, management and personal development subjects. When she is not reading up on the latest tips from 99u she can be found browsing Mashable and reading classic novels.