Unusual Corporate Perks On The Rise

By Lisa van der Pool, Boston Business Journal

BOSTON (CBS) – When it comes to unusual corporate perks, biopharmaceutical firm Shire plc probably has one of the most creative and sought-after perks of them all.

The Lexington company, which decided that shortened summer Fridays weren’t fair to their manufacturing staff who work in shifts, instead pays for ice cream trucks to bring popsicles and other frozen treats to the company every Friday afternoon during the summer.

Often company executives, including president Sylvie Gregoire, will get into the truck and hand out bomb pops and ice cream sandwiches to employees themselves.

“We thought it was a nice way to reward people on a Friday afternoon,” said Jessica Cotrone, director of corporate communication in Shire’s Cambridge office.

The ice cream truck goes to both of the firm’s locations in the state, the 950-person Lexington office, and the Cambridge office, which has 250 staffers. Shire’s plan to combine both locations in Lexington is underway.

And Kimpton Hotels of Boston, which operates Hotel Marlowe, Nine Zero and the Onyx hotels, has pet friendly hotels – so they encourage their employees to bring their pets to work.

In an economy that is slowly recovering, non-monetary rewards for employees (a.k.a. perks) are often a great way to make the office a nicer place to be and are relatively cost-effective for companies to offer.

While subsidized training, at 29-percent, was the most prevalent type of benefit offered to staffers in a survey earlier this year from Accountemps in Menlo Park, Calif., many company perks these days are focused on making work a nicer and more convenient place to be during the day, according to human resources experts.

“There are so many things we have to do in order to manage our lives, if an employer can provide some of those things at a higher level of convenience, savvy employers are investing in that,” said Tracy Burns-Martin, executive director of the Northeast Human Resources Association in Waltham.

Lisa van der Pool of the Boston Business Journal reports

Indeed, Boston-based fama PR offers free valet parking to each of its 28 employees, said Ed Harrison, a managing partner at the firm.

When the tech public relations firm recently moved from Kendall Square in Cambridge, to Boston’s Seaport District, the firm found that there wasn’t a parking garage in their building at 250 Northern Avenue.

The building’s landlord asked if the firm would be interested in valet parking for staff, since valets were already on hand for customers of the many restaurants in the area, including the new Legal Harborside at 270 Northern Avenue.

Harrison said the valet parking was competitively priced compared to other options, and their employees love it.

“It’s been pretty awesome, it’s such a unique perk,” said Harrison.

Other perks focused on making the office pleasant, include Digitas Inc.’s decked out conference room with floor-to-ceiling windows, plasma screen TVs and high top cocktail tables that the digital marketing firm uses for everything from company meetings to parties.

Employees have dubbed the room “The Deck.”

  • steve

    This is awesome, it’s nice to see companies recognizing their employees.

  • blackbear1

    This is stupid!! I’m all for employee perks, however pets do not belong in the workplace. Especially in a hotel, where there is food & beverage outlets.

  • Jane

    I hope they’re handing out gym memberships with that free ice cream!
    Seriously though, it is nice to be recognized and appreciated at work

  • emom

    Ok icecream is great,, so with that said can I have a mocha espresso chip cone with dark chocolate dip… yummo… Next bring your pets to work,,, Ok I doubt They would allow. my pink toed tarantula… She isnt messy, doesnt make noise, doesnt bark, or bit… she wont poop on your carpet and she doesnt beg. But she loves to crawl around. SO CAN I BRING HER TO WORK ANYWAY… If I can i wil try and put a mini leash on her….. LOL

  • http://www.frediandsons.com/daniel_green_slippers.htm Antonia Motte

    High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation.

  • http://intelispend.com/blog/5-corporate-employee-recognition-disasters/ Corporate Employee Recognition | Motivation| Incentives

    […] surprise, then, that companies have tried dozens of creative ways to reward and motivate their employees.  Some of these attempts, though, have been less […]

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