Choosing a company to apply for can be a daunting task. A lot of things matter, including the pay, job design, corporate culture, employee relationships, and more. Employee benefits are important as well. Demanding a decent health insurance package and paid vacation and parental leave from a potential employer is understandable and pretty standard.

But some companies go far beyond the basics. Google, Netflix, Patagonia, Zappos, and a few other employers are known for their attractive yet unconventional employee perks. Choose the ones you’d like to have and send your LinkedIn resume (don’t forget to perfect it first for some help you can go here, though). Chances are, if you land the job, your career satisfaction will grow twofold.

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#1 Furternity Leave

Paid parental leave still isn’t universal in the U.S., which rightly frustrates people who’d like to have kids yet aren’t sure they can afford them without one. But some companies not only offer a parental leave but go beyond and offer what can be best described as “furternity” leave.

This is the paid time off work for new pet owners. Say you want to get a dog or a cat and would like to spend the first few weeks or so with your new furry family member at home. If you work at one of the pet-friendly companies, it’s totally an option.

#2 Insurance for Pets

A furternity leave isn’t the only good news for devoted pet owners. Health insurance is yet another touchy topic in the U.S. because of the lack of universal health coverage and outrageous healthcare costs.

But if you work at Scripps Health, you’re lucky. Not only you but also your pet can get insured. You won’t need to worry that something happens, and you might have to pay for an emergency visit to a vet. The company-provided insurance will cover the expenses.

#3 Nap Rooms in the Workplace

Even the most hard-working employees need rest during the workday. It’s an opportunity to recharge and get back to work with renewed energy and enthusiasm. Most opt for one of these:

  • a simple lunch break at a cafeteria;
  • a quick workout; 
  • a walk around the block with a colleague;
  • a meditation session (if there’s a quiet place in the office).

But if you’re more of a nap person, maybe you should consider sending your resume to Amerisleep or another company that has an on-site nap room. Short naps help a lot of people feel re-energized and become more productive. So employers offering them to their staff know what they’re doing.

#4 Life (Not Career!) Coaching

It’s quite standard for big companies to have staff career coaches to help employees set goals and grow professionally throughout their careers. Alternatively, Human Resource Development (HRD) practitioners do pretty much the same. There’s nothing surprising about this.

But offering life coaching the way Zappos (an online clothing retailer) does as an employee benefit isn’t common. The company’s employees can use the coaching services to get more confident, learn how to protect their work-life balance, improve relationships with their loved ones, and whatnot.

By the way, Zappos also has “laughter yoga” sessions for employees. If this isn’t a great motivation to apply for a job there, nothing is. 

#5 Death Benefits

Google is notorious for having fantastic employee benefits. Some of them are less conventional than others, though. One of the weirdest yet also most helpful perks the company offers is death benefits.

Google’s death benefits imply that if an employee dies, their partner will keep getting half of the pay for a decade after their death. Obviously, everyone hopes to never have to find themselves on the receiving end of such generosity. But everything can happen, so it’s nice to know you have financial security.

#6 Surf Breaks

This one is especially relevant for all surfing enthusiasts. Patagonia, a successful brand selling sustainable apparel, is regularly praised for how seriously it takes Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). For example, the company offers paid time off for employees who’d like to volunteer.

Patagonia’s surf breaks are an even more unusual yet lovely employee benefit. The brand’s founder is an avid surfer himself. And he encourages employees to surf as well, even if it means taking an extra hour-long break in the middle of a workday.

#7 Unlimited Time Off

Netflix is yet another company included in most “best employer” lists, and rightly so. The foundation of Netflix’s corporate culture is the complete lack of micromanagement. As long as employees show great results, no one is telling them when and how to work.

Among other perks, Netflix employees can have as much vacation time as they want. This results in better mental health, higher life satisfaction, and, ultimately, improved performance. Other companies should do the same.

#8 Sabbaticals

The software company Drift has one more way to improve employees’ mental and physical health. It offers them to go on an all-paid month-long sabbatical every three years to relax and recharge. The options available range from horseback hiking to beach vacations and everything in-between.

But Drift’s employees aren’t required to use them. If they want to spend their “sabbatical” at home with their families, work on a side project, or renovate their house, they can. The company doesn’t dictate to its employees how to spend their well-deserved retreat.

Should All Employers Do the Same?

They totally should. Unusual employee benefits may seem quirky and excessive. But in reality, they are one of the things that attract talent and ensure high employee retention. And they also have a positive impact on employee satisfaction and productivity. So employers benefit from the pet insurance or surf breaks they offer as much as employees do.


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