Google's employee perks are, by now, well known. There's the free gourmet food and snacks, free shuttles to and from work, and hour-long massages, just to name a few. But in the overheated world of Silicon Valley, where talk is cheap and tech talent isn't, Google's perks are only the beginning.
These days, tech workers may succumb to the siren's call of the perks at newer upstart competitors. Software company Asana, for example, offers free yoga classes, in-house chefs and $10,000 to each employee for computers and desk furnishing. The reigning king might be Pinterest, which goes beyond free lunches and fitness classes to offer 'Studio Night' events where employees learn crafts and skills (one recent class focused on how to make Jell-O shots).
But, as Wall Street Journal reporter Rachel Feintzeig writes, every awe-inducing perk in the ongoing battle for employee happiness is matched by one that's downright strange. Here are the top five:
1. 10 Tons of Snow. Riot Games is best known for its hit game League of Legends, a multiplayer online game pitting two teams of warriors against each other on a battlefield. What you might not know is how all-out they go for employee celebrations. For one recent party, talent programs manager Sue-Min Koh found a snow maker and had 10 tons of snow pumped onto the California-based company's office basketball court.
2. Slip 'N Slides. Alright, this one's not official yet, but Adobe Systems global event strategist Chris Lavoie hasn't said no to the request yet. "I'm not making any promises," he told the employee, according to Feintzeig, who later notes that at many tech companies, no matter how strange the request is, "the answer tends to be yes."
3. Free Haircuts. For a while, Zynga offered up free haircuts--a perk that actually ended earlier this year. That might be due to the company's recent struggles; Feintzeig notes that its shares have fallen more than 80 percent since 2012. "At companies where pampering employees has always been part of the culture, it is hard to stop if business turns sour," she writes. We'd like to offer an alternate explanation with an eerily accurate timeline: Zynga might have realized its mistake after watching Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) give a truly awful haircut to an unfortunate employee at fictional tech company Gryzzl on the season six finale of NBC's Parks and Recreation.
4. Rooftop Dog Parks. Look, Zynga isn't the only company to allow dogs at work. But it might be the only company to have a rooftop dog park. Little wonder that Jen Nguyen, the former Zynga senior director of workplace who installed the dog park, became Pinterest's head of workplace 18 months ago, earning somewhere between $40,000 and $80,000 per year (she won't say more specifically).
5. Zen Meditation Rooms. Take a moment to consider that we live in a world where nap pods at work, originally made famous by Google, are totally normal. Done? Now consider this: Pinterest's headquarters in San Francisco feature a Zen meditation room. This is a company that will stop at nothing, clearly. In August, following employee complaints, Pinterest installed adjustable-height desks that could "be raised or lowered with the press of a button." Depending on your attitude, Nguyen is either making far too much or not nearly enough.