Scooters, slides and saunas: workplace perks, or frivolous fads?

  • Blog
  • 23rd May 2017
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It’s the end of the week, it’s been exhaustingly chockablock, and you’re probably begging for a wee break from the whirlwind of work. Conventionally, you could go for a walk, take some downtime in a quiet area of the office, or if you’re feeling old-fashioned, maybe even strike up conversation with a colleague over drinks at the sacred water cooler.

Or, if you happen to be employed by money transfer service TransferWise, you could just take a visit to the onsite sauna.

Okay, so stripping down in the middle of the office might be one step too far into ‘absolutely not’ territory for the introverts among us, but it’s all in a day’s work for employees at TransferWise. This surprising addition to the TransferWise workplace is the latest attempt to provide employees with a vibrant, enjoyable culture that enriches their working experience and increases productivity.

Alongside said sauna, hammocks hang from the ceiling, ping pong balls bounce around the kitchen and employees whizz around the place on electric scooters. At TransferWise, if you work hard, you play hard – but they’re not the only company adopting this fresh outlook on how the modern workplace should operate.

Mimicking the likes of Google and Facebook, organisations across the world are conjuring up all sorts of weird and wonderful perks aimed at keeping the smiles on their employees’ faces.

From beauty budgets and Beer Cart Fridays to rock climbing walls and Tank Top Tuesdays, it seems endless employee perks are the way of the future – but given Facebook and Google’s success, is that really a bad thing?

After all, with the rise of mobile technology, people can now work anywhere they want – at home, on the train, or even in a sauna. Employers have got a fight on their hands to actually keep them coming into the workplace – and the dull, lifeless, identikit offices of old simply won’t cut it.

But detractors of the new ‘perk culture’ say it’s swinging too far in the other direction – and encouraging people to not leave the office at all. If you can have all your culinary, medical and entertainment needs met in the workplace, what’s the point of going anywhere else?

Moreover, these prolific perks mustn’t just represent underhanded attempts to disguise disengagement. You can give employees all the free beer and saunas you want – but while these might make them happier, they won’t necessarily make them more engaged.

The boundaries between work and life are blurring increasingly every day, and perks plentiful aren’t going to stop that. What matters is how they’re used – not frivolous fads, but simple, bonus additions to make the working day that extra bit more pleasurable.

After all, what’s a perk if not to enhance everyone’s experience for the better?