11 Workplace Incentives That Attract Talented Creatives

Imagine walking into work an hour early one morning because you’ll take off earlier at the end of the day — not because you have a looming deadline. You sit with a company credit card by your side in case you need anything. For lunch, you eat a free meal in the office dining area, where you swap ideas with bright minds from other departments. At the end of the day, you hit the company gym while a concierge takes your car for an oil change.

Sounds like a scene out of a corporate fairytale, doesn’t it? You’ve probably heard about these types of amazing perks at places like Google, but it’s hard to imagine that becoming a daily reality for yourself.

Wrong! Your workplace fantasies may be closer to fact than fiction. Top brands are coming up with a slew of creative ways to attract, retain, and reward workers. We wrote about eleven of the best employee perks in our original post. You can also learn about these incentives — and who’s offering them — in our downloadable infographic (below).

Here are our four favorite workplace incentives:

Free Gifts & Services

Free gifts and services are a win because they’re such a simple way to boost morale, without breaking the bank. That’s because brands can customize their freebies to match their revenue or products.

Manufacturers can spread the wealth by sharing their own merchandise. That may be something small, like the 3 pints of ice cream Ben & Jerry’s employees can take home every day, or a big ticket item for companies that make things like electronics or cars.

Free services — like oil changes, housecleaning, or errand running — also make employees’ lives easier. But since these things can rack up quite an impressive bill for the company, smaller businesses are focusing on giving employees more affordable gifts. After all, who doesn’t want a Netflix subscription or a gift card to their favorite restaurant?

Childcare & Parenting Leave

Parenting is a bizarre mix of joy and stress. And that stress at home is often compounded by even more stress at work. Besides trying to focus on projects and succeed in a career, working parents also have to think about childcare costs or who’s going to babysit. They miss out on Baby’s early development or older kids’ sporting events and field trips.

It’s a constant struggle for parents to decide how much time to devote to their families and how much to the company. In fact, many couples who would otherwise love to be parents are choosing not to have children because their careers simply won’t allow it.

Companies are finally starting to realize the toll this stress takes on their workers — and they’re doing something about it. Some, like Cisco, offer free on-site daycare to let parents be close to their kids and save on the costs of childcare, which can run upwards of $12,000 a year. Facebook and others help families start out on the right foot with up to four months of paid leave for both moms and dads, plus cash bonuses to help with initial costs.

Remote Work Opportunities

Remote work is one of our favorite workplace perks because it maximizes creativity. Think about the number of interruptions you’ve dealt with at work this week — co-workers and bosses popping into your office, meetings cropping up out of nowhere, or just the general commotion that comes from working in a big space with other people.

Working remotely cuts down on distractions and lets you create your ideal workspace, so you can focus on the tasks at hand. Even better, it gives you the option to take a job in another city without actually moving or to travel to cool exotic locales.

Another great thing about remote work is that — if it’s a company-wide policy — it saves a ton of money on real estate. Sun Microsystems and IBM saved a whopping $68 million and $50 million on real estate, respectively, when they switched to letting employees work remotely.

Office Entertainment

You’ve heard of cool workplaces that have slides, puppy play days, or game rooms. These sound like they’re going a bit overboard in the whole give-employees-what-they-want trend, but workplace entertainment isn’t about pleasing a bunch of millennial Peter Pans.

It’s about fostering creativity and relieving stress. For instance, listening to music or taking a break to play video games can help clear a creative’s mind, meaning ideas can flow without interruption. Playing with a cute puppy, shooting some hoops, or even relaxing in a quiet room all help employees unwind so they can produce their best work.

Want to know what cool workplace incentives to look for in your next job? There are seven other great perks in the full post. You can also download and share this handy infographic about what top talent really wants: