Among Inc.'s 2019 Best Workplaces, health insurance, retirement plans, flexible hours, and even fully stocked kitchens are standard. They are great places to work for a reason, after all. Still, some companies are notable for how much further they take their benefits, often tailoring their offerings according to the needs and wants of their employees.
Here's a look at some of the more noteworthy benefits from Inc.'s 2019 Best Workplaces.
1. Free Work Boots
Sunshine Plumbing Heating Air
Twice a year, a truck full of Red Wing Boots visits Henderson, Colorado, where employees at Sunshine Plumbing Heating Air receive $100 each to purchase a new pair of work boots. "We know the hardship it can cause people to buy a good work boot; they're not cheap," says Susan Frew, co-owner and president, who says the footwear provides a good baseline for employees and makes their uniforms look put together.
2. Unlimited Books
Punch Cyber Analytics Group
Punch, a cyber operations firm based in Ashburn, Virginia, offers its 22 employees an unlimited reading account with Amazon. Employees can order any book they'd like no matter the topic--for free. The company says it helps promote personal development and is widely used, and loved, by team members.
3. Access to Company Airplanes
Ocala, Florida-based online flight school MzeroA.com offers free, unlimited access to the company's airplanes for all employees. All 19 employees are required, as part of the job, to become pilots--even those who are in charge of things like marketing or HR. The company says team members typically can complete a certificate or add a higher level of certificate in three to four months.
4. Tickets to Yankee Games
The Hauppauge, New York-based custom manufacturer of dietary supplements takes their employees to a ball game every once in a while--VIP style. The company rents a luxury bus to take employees to and from Long Island to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, where they watch the game from a fully catered suite that includes a large living room, full kitchen, bar, and a glass wall that opens out to the stadium. The company also books about 20 outdoor seats in its own section.
5. Company Surfboards
At Scientist.com, "board meetings" have an entirely different meaning. The Solana Beach, California-based online marketplace connects pharmaceutical companies with vendors and research organizations. To support its surf-anytime policy--even during work hours--it called on a local surfboard maker to craft four branded, custom surfboards of varying sizes for employee usage. Employees have a surf Slack channel where they coordinate when to hit the waves.
6. Studio Time and Instruments
At data-management company Enigma Technologies, employees have full access to a music studio a couple of blocks from their New York City headquarters. There are also a number of instruments in the office, including a piano, an electronic keyboard, guitars, and percussion instruments. Each Tuesday afternoon, the company hosts a "music cafe," where employees come together to make and enjoy music.
7. Financial Help for Gender Transitions
Often, gender-transition procedures are not covered by insurance. This is why Chicago-based employee communication software company Jellyvision, which guides customers through insurance-benefit decisions, offers up to $2,500 to any employee who is going through gender transition to help pay for medical expenses that aren't covered. The benefit was implemented in February 2019, and so far the company says that no one has used the funds.
8. Extended Pawternity Leave
Many offices today are animal friendly, but mParticle, a New York City-based customer-data platform, takes its policy to a new level. In addition to allowing dogs in the office, the company offers "pawternity" leave--that is, two weeks of paid time off to those who adopt a rescue animal to help the new family member acclimate to its new home. A representative at the company says employees have rescued 29 dogs to date.
9. Pumping Options for Women
The VIA Agency
For new mothers, finding time to pump during the workday can be stressful, and even more so for those who travel a lot. That's why the Portland, Maine, marketing agency, VIA, provides up to $500 per year for the storage and shipment of breast milk for mothers who travel for the agency for any length of time. It also offers to pay for an in-house photo shoot for new parents and their child.