There are plenty of companies around the world who do great things for their employees. We should know: we’ve profiled more than a few of them. Thing is, many of the things we view as great perks – free food, on-site gyms, meditation areas – tend to only be viable for people who work in the company office.
That’s great if you work in the office, but companies increasingly rely on remote and international workers who may never come anywhere near their headquarters. Surely those employees deserve similarly awesome perks, don’t they?
As it turns out, there are a good few companies who agree with that notion and do great things for their remote and international employees.
As we’ve previously written, Buffer is a social sharing startup with a workforce comprised almost entirely of remote workers around the globe.
That’s not too difficult if you have a handful of employees, but Buffer is a multi-million-dollar company with more than 70 employees.
That means the usual corporate perks aren’t going to cut it.
As the company’s Courtney Seiter notes in this 2014 blog: “Long-distance Ping Pong is kinda tough. And Buffer doesn’t share a kitchen where we can stock yummy snacks or tasty communal beverages.”
What Buffer does instead, is send each of its employees a Jawbone UP fitness tracker and a Kindle Paperwhite “with all the free Kindle books you’d like (fiction, non-fiction, no questions asked)”.
Apart from just being cool pieces of tech in general, they also encourage employee culture, with co-workers sharing notes of encouragement on each other’s UP readings and taking part in discussions on the latest books they’ve read on their Kindles.
Other perks include annual get-togethers, which bring together all of Buffer’s employees in locations around the globe, and anything else you need to work, including laptops, and coworking membership.
US-based company Venturepact helps businesses source and manage vetted software development teams for their digital product development.
Given that its own mission is to connect companies with talented development teams around the globe, it should hardly be surprising that it makes extensive use of remote workers itself.
Rather than giving its workers set perks, it gives them credits which they can use on the benefits they truly want.
“We decided to be flexible since different people have different preferences,” company co-founder Pratham Mattel told Inc.com. “While some might prefer a gym membership, others might want a slick workstation”.
Another company with an entirely distributed workforce, Chargify builds online billing software for your recurring billing needs.
Some of the perks it provides for its remote workers are pretty standard, such as matching their retirement fund contributions and paying for their life and disability insurance.
Other perks, which seem pretty light-hearted, are actually really useful for building team culture. One of the best examples of this is “Free Lunch Fridays”, which sees the company pay for its employees lunch every Friday. Employees often share photos of their meals on Slack, sparking discussions.
It’s even found a way to take “Secret Santa” from the office into the remote workplace. Called Conspiracy Santa, the person receiving the gift doesn’t know what they’ll be getting, but all the other participants share gift ideas for them and vote on the best gift to give. Each gift is approximately US$100 and Chargify pays for the gifts.
Everybody’s gifts are then shipped to them, with everyone opening their gifts in a video call.
Again, the company views this as more than just a fun activity:.
“Everyone learns more about each other via the gift suggestions, bonds over the present opening, and then photos of those gifts being used are shared on Slack throughout the year,” it writes in an official blog.
Finally, Chargify helps its employees give back by donating US$150 to a charity of their choice, and gives them time to volunteer.
Project management tool Basecamp was a remote work early adopter. That means it’s had plenty of time to think about how best to manage and reward a remote team. In fact, it’s literally written the book on it.
It offers a slew of perks, including sabbaticals for long-term employees, four-day summer work weeks, a US$100/month fitness allowance, coworking space stipends, and a US$1000-a-year continued education allowance.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Basecamp’s rewards is that it’s managed to ensure that they work equally as well for employees in its Chicago offices as they do for its remote workers.
Take standing desks. Used correctly, they can have massive benefits for the average worker. Small wonder then, that many companies – including Basecamp – installed them in their offices. To ensure that its remote workers weren’t left it out, it’ll cover the cost of a standing desk (up to the same cost as the ones it has in Chicago) for anyone who wants one.
What are some of the most awesome remote worker perks you’ve heard of? Let us know in the comments section below.