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Perks that work: our office wellbeing wish list

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Free massages, free guitar classes and unlimited healthy food at the canteen – it’s just a sample of what it’s like to work at Google’s main campus, in California. While not all companies can offer these kinds of perks at work, many are following the trend of raising workers’ wellbeing, and for good reason: happy workers mean lower turnover and higher productivity and dedication.

Do you agree? What would help to improve your work life? Perhaps some of these trending office perks would help to ease your work stress.

Family comes first, and many people worry about needing time off to care for their loved ones. Most developed countries have laws requiring a number of paid maternity and paternity leave days, with some companies offering more than the legal number. Offering flexible hours or the chance to work from home occasionally are other parent-friendly policies that are becoming more common, especially in the tech world. Paid childcare, while it can take a huge load off workers’ minds, is still rare, however, we’re on our way, though: in Hong Kong, American Express offers employees who have young children subsidised off-site childcare and childcare reimbursements during business travel.

But maybe even that’s not enough. Employers can be inspired by accounting firm Deloitte, which offers its US employees 16 weeks of paid family leave. It could be used for caring for elderly relatives, spouses, extended family members, and children of any age.

Then there are the fur babies: some companies in the US and Europe offer paid leave for staff members who adopt a new dog. After welcoming a new pet, you’ll probably want to spend as much time as you can with them, or even show them off in the office – likely to the delight of everyone else. Pet-friendly offices are flourishing around the world, and adorable animals are known to be instant stress-relievers; just make sure nobody in the office is allergic or fearful first!

Among large corporations, a free gym membership is nothing new, and ping-pong tables are practically requisite at tech firms. But some companies, such as Hong Kong cybersecurity firm Chengbao, go a step further, offering fitness rooms for yoga and meditation classes. Other companies provide weekly massage sessions. Recreational rooms with video games, board games and card games also help workers destress.

Perks aside, maybe it’s also the physical structure of the office that could use some wellness upgrades. With open-plan offices becoming more common in recent years, sometimes we just crave a bit of privacy to take phone calls or need a space for tranquil moments, without having to occupy an entire meeting room (and subsequently being kicked out of one when an actual meeting needs to take place). As such, it’s a growing trend for work spaces to have “office phone booths” or “privacy pods”. The downside: their popularity. Colleagues often find themselves battling for such spaces.

What are some things you’d like to see implemented at your office to help improve your wellbeing? Our ideas: an annual non-work related travel stipend. Nap pods for late-night worker bees. Clothing allowances for all those important meetings. Free counselling service to help us find some balance and support, full-service kitchens with bespoke menus for free meals every day…Employers, take note!

Need more motivation? See our round-up of cool offices around the world, here.

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