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Company perks have come a long way since free pizza and sponsored happy hours. Nowadays, even previously radical startup perks like endless snacks, gym passes, and “unlimited vacation” are as ubiquitous as wi-fi at coffee shops.

The “work hard, play hard” mentality is slowly being replaced with “enjoy work, enjoy life” as companies realize that even ambitious, social butterflies are craving not just work-life balance but work-life satisfaction. While most of your time working at a startup isn’t going to be spent on unlimited vacation, a happier you is also a more productive you. A job that gives you well-deserved perks instead of the Sunday Scaries is truly a work-life win-win. Here are a few companies who stand out for investing in the lifestyles of their employees through awesome, meaningful benefits.

1. Hotel Tonight's Surprise Sendoffs

Hotel Tonight
Photo Source: Hotel Tonight via Twitter

Once a month, the last-minute hotel booking app holds a lottery to send a lucky employee (and an even luckier plus one) on a paid weekend vacation to a surprise destination. HT staff who have entered the lottery show up to work on a Friday with their bags packed and fingers crossed. Even cooler, if you don’t win the lottery, all employees are given at least $500 per quarter in HotelTonight credits to inspire their own spontaneous adventures. The awesomeness doesn’t stop there. Earlier this year, the company shared the love with its users, entering those who booked within a certain time period into a public #HTRoulette lottery. At HotelTonight, “Plan Less, Live More” isn’t just a motto, it’s a way of life.

2. Paid Vacation? Moz Pays for Your Vacation

Moz
Photo Source: Cloudfront via Moz

In a blog post, Moz CEO Rand Fishkin lays out his secrets to “Keeping Amazing People on the Team.” First, to incentivize charitable giving, the company matches 150% of almost all donations to charities and NGOs. In addition to bumping up your good karma, the marketing analytics startup will reimburse up to $3,000 of vacation expenses per year to encourage employees to “take time to do what they love.” Praise straight from a Moz employee says it all - “It’s one of the best feelings in the world to work for a company that values you and makes you feel like the luckiest nerd in the world!”

3. Facebook: Female and Family Friendly

Facebook
Photo Source: Facebook

Okay, so you might have heard of this one, but that doesn’t make it any less noteworthy. One of the most dramatic, albeit controversial, updates to Facebook’s benefits is the addition of coverage for egg freezing, presumably to attract and retain top female talent. Whether you believe in egg freezing or prefer frozen yogurt, Facebook’s family friendly perks are impressive. The social media company supports both moms and dads with “four months paid parental leave, reimbursement for daycare and adoption fees and $4,000 ‘baby cash’ for your new arrival.” The jury’s still out on how long Zuck will take off when his own little one arrives.

4. From Deep House to Deep Health Data at Weebly

Weebly
Photo Source: Inc

Employees at web-hosting platform Weebly can work off three free meals a day at a graffiti covered in-office gym, a remnant of the 90s when the San Francisco building was used as a rave venue. Keeping the music alive, Weebly has a “fully equipped jam room” for any amateur musicians and DJs looking to blow off some steam. On top of that, they provide noise canceling headphones for the rest of the office to bump whatever beats they want. In addition to the gym, the start-up empowers employees to take health into their own hands by covering two annual blood analyses and sets of personalized health data through Wellness FX. Let science show you if those adult gummy vitamins really work.

5. Scribd: Books by Day, Bumper Cars by Night

Scribd
Photo Source: Century Education

When the sun goes down in San Francisco, the Scribd office transforms into a go-kart track where employees ride and race releasing tension (and road rage) along the way. While bumping into your boss might not be the best conflict resolution strategy, some healthy go-kart competition is great for stress relief and gives employees a pretty convincing reason to stay at work a little later. The digital library startup also holds the title of being the first ever start-up office profiled by Tech Crunch Cribs and their updated digs were recently featured again in honor of the series’ 50th episode.

6. Buffer Lets the World Be Your Oyster

Buffer
Photo Source: Buffer

For the wanderlusters among us, Buffer is a social media management startup that lets employees work from anywhere in the world. The company functions as a distributed team, which means that they use an arsenal of workflow and management tools to collaborate on projects across time zones and international borders. For more than FaceTime face time, Buffer organizes three 10-day paid company retreats per year in awesome locations like Thailand and South Africa (we hear Narnia, Mars, and Winterfell are on the shortlist for next year). During these company getaways, the team builds app updates, launches new products, and you know, goes on safaris. The future of work has arrived and it it looks awesome.


The promise of perks alone is reason enough to check out some start-ups’ career pages, but an even bigger question to ask is “What do the perks signify about the greater culture of the team you might be joining?”. Some perks like snacks or gym classes make it light years more enjoyable to be in the office (sneaky startups, we see what you’re doing there). Other perks like spontaneous trips or group retreats show a company’s dedication to fun and camaraderie. Even larger perks, like maternity/paternity leave or vacation time and funds, demonstrate enormous mutual trust and an understanding that employees have real lives beyond their roles. Being respected as an individual can be way more valuable than a flashy corporate holiday party or tons of airline points. At companies with strong benefits, employees are seen as whole people, not just worker bees.

Ready to trade your sad desk lunch and PTO tracker for an in-office chef and unlimited vacation? Upload your resume to Planted to jump-start your job search and find companies that treat you right.


Becky Lee is a writer, educator, and previous media professional navigating the space between post-grad and real life. She majored in English and Psychology at Cornell University and is currently teaching in Brazil through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, international travel and coming-of-age stories.