The afternoon party gives kids a chance to see where their parents work, but most of them are far more interested in the treats, said executive assistant Christine Mousseau. “They can see that mom works over here, and dad works over there,” she said, “But it’s yeah, yeah, yeah, where’s my candy?”
A SOOTHING RETREAT FROM DAILY STRESS
If the staff at Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc. looks a little more relaxed on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, it’s probably because that’s when the masseuse visits the Lexington company. Cubist treats its employees to a free 15-minute massage every quarter (30 minutes during the quarter in which their birthday falls) by a massage therapist who has been kneading tense back and neck muscles at the company for a decade. Each session takes place, fully clothed, in a room equipped with a massage table and soothing music. Those who work offsite aren’t forgotten, either: They can expense a $60 massage each quarter.
FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK, A SOLUTION
Plenty of companies have an employee softball team. Imprivata has a rock band. The marketing department at the Lexington software provider put the group together to play a company party last summer, with employees hailing from accounts payable to finance to engineering. The performance was such a hit that the band played another gig at the January sales kickoff at the Hard Rock Cafe at Foxwoods Resort Casino . The band, called OneSong Anywhere (a play on an Imprivata product called OneSign Anywhere), practices its covers of Maroon 5 and Oasis at night in the cafeteria and is gearing up for a show at the annual sales kickoff in January, a companywide meeting to lay out new products and strategies. The group even helped recruit a new employee. A cousin of an employee was filling in as lead guitarist, and it turned out he was a tech support guy in need of a job. “We ended up hiring him,” said Ed Gaudet , chief marketing officer and singer. “And he’s a phenomenal guitarist.”
Weeding, watering,and fertilizing are all part of a day’s work for a group of employees at the Massachusetts Medical Society in Waltham. The ballfield across the street from the publisher of The New England Journal of Medicine is home to 11 raised beds of organic tomatoes, eggplants, carrots, squash, and herbs — 176 square feet in all — built and supervised by the gardening company Green City Growers and funded by the medical society. The 30 employees who take turns tending the garden on their lunch breaks expect to harvest about 500 pounds of produce this year — half of which is donated to a local food pantry and half of which is divvied up among themselves. The project, spearheaded by business intelligence specialist Tim Blasko, has given the 29-year-old unexpected cachet with his fellow gardeners. “I’m like a rock star here with all the middle-aged women,” Blasko said.
THE WORLD IS THEIR OFFICE
Employees at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Researchn Cambridge can work their way around the world. The drug research company offers working sabbaticals at its campuses in Switzerland, Austria, Italy, China, Singapore, and Britain, as well as several around the United States. Chemist Natalie Dales went to Shanghai in 2010 . Dales took the train to work and immersed herself in the city’s culture. When Dales found herself going the wrong way in a taxi, she had plenty of people to call: “I had everybody on speed dial that I worked with.” When she came back to Cambridge, Dales found her experience improved her communication skills, leading her to seek out feedback instead of expecting people to speak up on their own.
LEARNING ON THE COMPANY DIME
Getting a master’s or a PhD is no small feat for someone working full time, and the Mitre Corp. lightens the load by giving employees one paid day off a week to dedicate to graduate studies — as well as paying for their tuition and books. Curtis Watson is a wireless communications engineer at the nonprofit research and development government contractor in Bedford and is working toward his PhD in computer engineering at Northeastern University, an undertaking the 33-year-old father of two young children would not have been able to manage otherwise. The advanced degree will make Watson more credible, he said, especially with the firm’s military clients: “When you’re briefing generals and whatnot, it’s always nice to have ‘doctor’ in front of your name.”
WHERE GOOD DEEDS EARN GOODIES
Bill Bogdanovich, chief executive of Broad Reach Healthcare, wanted to spice up the employee of the month program at the skilled nursing and assisted living facility in North Chatham. “We ended up with 12 people a year that got a little bit of recognition and plaques that gathered dust in the break room,” he said. So he instituted the Smooth Sailor program (since “Broad Reach” is a sailing term) to recognize employees who go the extra mile. Good deeds — such as the nursing assistant who came in on her day off to bring a patient a Coolatta from Dunkin’ Donuts — are rewarded with $10 gift cards to Dunkin,’ Stop & Shop, and other nearby businesses. The company gives out about 1,000 cards a year to its 220 employees, and the rewards don’t stop there. Each month, all the good deed winners’ names are put into a hat for a $50 gift card drawing.