Unlimited annual leave? YES!
Richard Branson became everyone’s dream boss this week when he announced Virgin employees would be able to take as many holidays as they want.
The policy applies to 160 Virgin staff from its main offices in New York, London, Geneva and Sydney.
It means staff won’t need to seek approval when taking leave, but will need to ensure their work is covered and up to date.
The aim is to increase productivity, maintain morale and encourage efficient time management.
“It is left to the employee alone to decide if and when he or she feels like taking a few hours, a day, a week or a month off, the assumption being that they are only going to do it when they feel a hundred per cent comfortable that they and their team are up to date on every project,” Mr Branson writes.
The benefit isn’t just for staff, productivity studies, like this one released earlier this week, show the most productive employees actually work shorter hours and take more breaks than other employees.
And Google, renown for its work place benefits, has reaped the benefits of flexible working hours, and giving talented staff room to move.
Here are the perks in offices around the world that we wish we had too.
Unlimited annual leave
Richard Branson has introduced the ultimate in trust – allowing his employees to have unlimited annual leave.
The idea was inspired by Netflix, which doesn’t track its staff’s annual leave either. Locally, online active store Stylerunner has had unlimited leave since its launch in 2012.
“Company culture is just as important to us as the success of our business,” Sali Stevanja says, explaining it’s part of a plan to retain staff long term.
Standing to attention
But we are unlikely to see it end there. A US artist has recently revealed the tongue in cheek “Hamster Wheel Standing Desk”, basically a treadmill.
Hot desks and “soft” working areas are also on the rise. This means hammocks, couches and café style zones to refresh the mind. In its new global headquarters in Berlin, SoundCloud made sure to include a cozy fireplace and couches.
Everyone likes free food. Free breakfast, a meal many people like to skip, is also an incentive to get to work on time.
Sydney based software company Campaign Monitor gives employees “delicious hot breakfasts and lunches”, baked good and even has an in-office barista.
There are many others in professional services which have in-house chefs and kitchens.
Sleeping on the job
Google is infamous for its “nap pods” to allow employees to have a quick kip and continue to burn the midnight oil.
Nap rooms have become almost commonplace in progressive companies such as The Huffington Post wanting to increase productivity.
SMS your CEO
Dutch-owned algorithmic trader Optiver has an open internal policy. Its boss Paul Hilgers wants to be as open as possible to all employees.
“You want to make sure there are no barriers for people to talk to you,” Hilgers told BRW.
To get around this, Mr Hilgers is on the company’s internal messaging system and holds an open briefing every quarter.
Week at the beach
A week at the beach might seem like a relic from the excess of the 1980s, but at Australia’s tech company Atlassian, it’s real.
New graduate employees are taken to the beach for a week, participating in “fun challenges” which introduce them into the company culture, according to BRW.
One thing is clear from Atlassian employees’ Instagram accounts, like xuey90’s photo above, the fun is never ending – last week they got a fortune cookie with the quirky phrase: “If at first you didn’t succeed, call it version 1.0.”
Campaign Monitor hosts monthly events for staff which include surfing lessons, go-carting and searching for the perfect beer.
Digital agency Reactive save their travel perks for Christmas. Their London office spent a weekend in Spain’s Mallorca. Plus with offices all over the world, staff are encouraged to spend time overseas.
Time off to work on ‘your own thing’
Time off to work on your side projects happens at Google, Apple, while Atlassian, BRW’s Best Place to Work in 2014, which pioneered corporate hackathons (that’s programming marathons for the non-tech heads).
While there is some debate about whether this practice has been effectively abandoned at Google due to people “goofing off”, it’s a perk which led to the development of Gmail, Google Earth and Google News.