Aw, man. I don't wanna go home.
June 17, 2011 5:48 PM   Subscribe

What businesses are known for awesome workplace culture/perks?

I've been obsessed with workplace culture of late and I'd like to find more places that are just as known for being awesome places to work as they are for whatever product or service they offer.

This can include a perk or just an overall positive office culture.

Some examples Do any others come to mind?
posted by Blandanomics to Work & Money (29 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

I've always heard that McDonald's Corporation had an excellent culture and benefits package. Back in the day, any McDonald's corporate employee I ever met seemed happy.
posted by gjc at 5:59 PM on June 17, 2011

New Belgium brewery in my town is routinely cited as one of the best places to work in america. Fantastic old school benefits, employee lunches once a week, a goddamn awesome bucycle on your one hear anniversay. My dental hygenist's economist boyfriend went to work in their warehouse because his dental benifits would be bette than hers.
posted by peachfuzz at 6:07 PM on June 17, 2011

Dreamworks feeds all its employees exceptionally delicious breakfast and lunch, and lets you get up to $30 comped for ordered-in dinner from all the best places. :)
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 6:10 PM on June 17, 2011

Zynga has catered meals (that are by all reports pretty delicious,) flexible vacation time, and "Every day is bring your dog to workday" (which people make use of all the time, judging by the regular pictures in my Facebook feed.)
posted by restless_nomad at 6:13 PM on June 17, 2011

When I lived in Chico, I took a tour of Sierra Nevada and they told us that the employees get to take 1-2 cases home per week...or if they were having a party where other SN employees were going to be at, they could take home a keg...but only 1 keg/month.

Also, the workers there were treated with respect. That seems to be a "perk" rather than a given nowadays.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:18 PM on June 17, 2011

I remember taking a tour of a Microsoft office (ha ha Microsoft Office i made a funny >.>) once and saw one dude's office wall lined with gun racks. No, he wasn't a hunter ... it was all Nerf weaponry. Another guy had a pull-up bar in the doorway of his office. The spaces between buildings also looked like city parks. (The MS discount is also ridiculously awesome.)

The three video game manufacturers all have websites devoted to their various products where you read up on the product, answer questions, and in the end can earn free/next-to-nothing stuff. Employees of many retail stores (Gamestop, Best Buy, etc) can make use of these. You have to prove you're an employee, but a bit of time can earn you a lot of neat stuff. It's not directly answering your question, but it may be handy if you're possibly in those fields. I do apologize for not having the URLs for them.
posted by Heretical at 6:32 PM on June 17, 2011

Dreamworks feeds all its employees exceptionally delicious breakfast and lunch, and lets you get up to $30 comped for ordered-in dinner from all the best places. :)

This is fairly par for the course in the entertainment industry, actually. I work for [insert name of new TV series soon to premiere on big-3 network], and we get free catered breakfast (including omelet bar and fresh squeezed juices), a $12 lunch allowance for anywhere we can order takeout from, and dinner AKA a "second meal" if we're still in the office after a certain time. Dreamworks' $30 dinner is pretty special, but otherwise I'd complain if I wasn't getting that stuff working for a huge studio.

Then again we don't necessarily get health insurance or any retirement benefits. But then at least I pretty much never have to buy groceries.
posted by Sara C. at 6:35 PM on June 17, 2011

Disney employees (including corporate ones at places like ESPN and ABC) get varying levels of free admission to various parks, depending on their individual line of business. The retail value of unlimited personal access to Disneyland is about $450 right now (and employees also get retail and dining discounts,) so I'd call it a hefty perk.
posted by SMPA at 6:52 PM on June 17, 2011

I should add that a not-small number of retirees and teenagers work for Disney only because of this benefit.
posted by SMPA at 6:53 PM on June 17, 2011

Also at New Belgium:

After working there for 5 years, they send you on an all-expenses-paid trip to Belgium to learn more about beer.
posted by sugarbomb at 8:13 PM on June 17, 2011

Though not traditionally seen as a bastion of cutting-edge workplace perks, my employer, the Federal Government, makes me take a mandatory month or two off every few years. It's called "home leave," and it's so I don't forget about America while I'm working overseas in awesome places.
posted by eulily at 8:27 PM on June 17, 2011

Pixar's office culture looks amazing.
posted by estherbester at 9:12 PM on June 17, 2011

Patagonia's perks are legendary.
posted by k8t at 9:12 PM on June 17, 2011

Nickelodeon is a very nice place to work. You work hard, of course, but the place has a very warm and friendly culture with an open-door policy. Also:

- Free breakfasts and occasionally lunches (if catered meetings have leftover food, which happens often)
- Many many fun employee events that almost always include free food/alcohol/treats
- Fairly generous vacation time and occasional bonus paid days
- A culture that encourages wacky fun/weird personalities
- Everyday is wear whatever you want day, but I think this is true of most studios

Of course, it's not as nice as Dreamworks free breakfasts/lunches (oh, to eat at that commissary...) but it's a pretty darn good work environment, a little more homey and tight-knit. I think this kind of culture is pretty common for most studios, though.
posted by sprezzy at 9:12 PM on June 17, 2011

I will say that Pixar's office culture is legendary, but that's pretty much because they expect you to live there/work long hours (so of course the campus needs to be appealing!). Many people are happy as clams with that arrangement, but there are also many who feel like it's not worth the lack of social life, office politics, and substantially lower pay. I'm sure it's nice to work there, there's just the trade off.
posted by sprezzy at 9:15 PM on June 17, 2011

Oprah Winfrey is known for being very generous to her employees.
posted by SisterHavana at 9:37 PM on June 17, 2011

For perks you need to work in the travel industry. I work for an airline and get free (standby) flights to/from anywhere we fly. Additionally, we have partner agreements with many other airlines. I can fly round trip to London for $162.09 each way, or to Hawaii for $40 each way. We also have great hotel discounts.
posted by bendy at 9:42 PM on June 17, 2011

Fog Creek Software does free lunch for its employees every day.
posted by mmascolino at 10:07 PM on June 17, 2011

Oprah is generous because you sign an ironclad NDA.
posted by Ideefixe at 11:29 PM on June 17, 2011

Netflix is supposed to be pretty good to work at, and their famous perk is unlimited vacation time.

Facebook offers a 'hack month' where you can work on a random project for a month after a year in your position.
posted by jacalata at 2:13 AM on June 18, 2011

Fortune Magazine comes out with an annual list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. They've got little blurbs about what makes the companies good, at least for the top ten.
posted by Net Prophet at 4:58 AM on June 18, 2011

Officers of the US military who influence the purchase of big-ticket items?

Allthough, if corruption is allowed under the "awesome perks" category, then that opens up a whole new level of "awesome".
posted by -harlequin- at 6:21 AM on June 18, 2011

Research In Motion has a pretty typical day-to-day office culture, but they're famous for their semi-regular employee concerts. Barenaked Ladies, The Tragically Hip, Van Halen, Aerosmith... and last year they sponsored U2 and gave all their employees tickets to that. They're also in tight with George Lucas and have booked entire theaters pre-opening-day to take the entire company to all of the Star Wars prequels and the latest Indiana Jones movie.
posted by Gortuk at 7:59 AM on June 18, 2011

It kills me that this would be considered a perk, but Microsoft offers the best health coverage in the US.
posted by KathrynT at 11:17 AM on June 18, 2011

Oprah is generous because you sign an ironclad NDA.

This is going to be true of any media job. I spent three weeks working on a relatively small-time* HBO series and had to sign about four tiers of NDA before they would let me so much as pick up the dailies from the postproduction house.

*i.e. we're not talking about True Blood or anything cliff-hangy with a huge fanbase and endless potential for spoiling, leaking, bootlegging, selling your story to the tabloids, etc.
posted by Sara C. at 11:34 AM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think the biggest perk my company offers is not talking much about the perks during the recruiting process. Yes, we have unlimited vacation/sick time, excellent insurance, great trips to cool places, lots of open bars and free meals, etc., but do you really want to work with someone who choses your company for the perks? There was a lot of pushback from employees when the unlimited vacation policy was introduced, even though it replaced a very limited amount of annual leave; people didn't want to start hiring people for whom unlimited vacation was a draw.
posted by backupjesus at 11:53 AM on June 18, 2011

I know of a company that offered free, on-site daycare for employees' kids. (I believe they had to discontinue that after a while, though, because too many people were going on maternity leave.)
posted by cider at 5:41 PM on June 18, 2011

Newspaper and Magazine editors, everything from the top to the bottom get free tickets to everything, the opening of the latest ballet, pre-screenings of movies, sampling of the newest Diary Queen flavours and early copies of tv shows and films to review. Not to mention books, lots of books, and access to concerts and other performing arts events.
posted by mistertoronto at 7:50 PM on June 19, 2011

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