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If you are just entering the job market, do you see yourself sitting in a room lined with cubicles, lit with fluorescent lights?  Yeah! If it were 1990s or earlier!  Things have changed.  We are living in the age of Google, Face book and Twitter. Who amongst us wouldn’t want a seat in the Googleplex?  Just like the changed landscape of social communication, office environments have also been transformed to an extent that was not fathomable two decades ago.

So, what have companies like Airbnb, Face book and Google done to the office culture of the 21st century?

Change of Mindset

Most workplaces used to be somber spaces with a restrictive, sometimes overbearing environment, where employees drudged all day long and then went home tired and cranky.  About 15 years ago, things started to change and workplaces slowly started to develop a personality.  How did this happen?  As it turned out, the generation Y workers are very different from their predecessors, Generation X.  They didn’t just want to toil all day long for a paycheck.  Not only they wanted jobs that provided fulfillment, sense of achievement and a purpose, they weren’t excited about the run-of-the-mill corporate perks either.

There was a change in the work dynamics also, nine to five was no longer the work shift.  The large knowledge worker population had all sorts of work hours due to the effects of globalization.  This change in the work culture demanded a different set of perks.  The standard free coffee, medical, 401k, pension and yearly bonuses weren’t enough anymore.  Since the workers were spending longer hours at the workplace, it encroached on the leisure time.  So, employers had to think of creative solutions to meet the needs of the generation Y workers in order to keep them happy.

A remarkable change started happening in the employers’ mindset also.  “We have somewhat of a social mission, and most other companies do not. I think that’s why people like working for us, and using our services…Companies’ goals should be to make their employees so wealthy that they do not need to work, but choose to because they believe in the company … Hopefully, I believe in a world of abundance, and in that world, many of our employees don’t have to work, they’re pretty wealthy, they could probably go years without working. Why are they working? They’re working because they like doing something, they believe in what they’re doing.” Larry Page (Google)

The Wonderland of Corporate Perks in the 21st Century

This is a small sampling of the perks being offered.

Office amenities:
• Onsite Gym
• Gourmet food
• Onsite salons
• Laundry and dry cleaning service
• Running trails
• Lectures and talks by professionals
• Onsite café and ice cream parlors
• Free van pools, shuttle service and other commuting options

• Onsite sports and recreation
• Rock band performance
• Video games
• Field trips

Flexible schedule and work option:
• Telecommuting (perhaps one of the biggest changes in the workplace)
• Time allowed to work on personal initiatives and ideas

All of this looks really fun and I bet you can’t wait to just walk into one of these companies and start enjoying the lifestyle.  However, remember that hard and smart work is still the key to success.  Employers don’t shell out millions of dollars on seemingly outrageous perks because they are nice and feel generous.  They do it because there is a huge return on their investment.  When employees are treated well and distraction are eliminated, their productivity improves and so does the employer’s bottom-line.  Also, remember that majority of the employers are still not in the club, which offers such perks.  So, you may have to work your way through several jobs, before you find a place into this corporate wonderland.

About the Author:

Stevens Stone is an executive editor at AssignmentGeek. He’s an extrovert who has a thing for parties, get together and family retreats. When he’s off the desk, he prefers to hang out with his buddies and siblings.