Where “gimme days,’’ “Summer Fridays,’’ and beer on tap is the norm.- Newburyport, MAAt Matter Communications, it’s not unusual for a hardworking employee to feel a tap on his or her shoulder, to turn around and hear their boss, founder Scott Signore, say “Go home, you’re working too hard.’’According to Parry Headrick, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Matter, this is what’s called a “gimme day.’’No one knows when they’ll feel “the tap,’’ but the possibility is a strong incentive to work hard. “Morale at Matter is phenomenal,’’ Headrick says, citing a weekly office fruit delivery and a permanent Newburypot Brewing Co. beer keg in Matter’s kitchen as a couple other office boons. The firm specializes in public relations, social media and creative services, but Headrick said it’s important for employees to have an actual work-life balance.This term is thrown around a lot by companies, but at Matter, it seems like they have the whole ‘balance’ thing down pat. The belief is exemplified by the company’s commitment to “Summer Fridays.’’ “At one or two o’clock on Fridays between June and August, employees can take off and go to the beach to enjoy and maximize the summer days,’’ he said. “I have two young boys and it’s great to spend time with them.’’Matter also emphasizes employee health. They encourage employees to start their own clubs—yoga, running, basketball, golf for instance – and each club gets together once a week to “blow off steam,’’ Headrick said. The best part: the company picks up the tab. Matter’s Facebook page shows employees celebrating “Take Your Dog to Work Day,’’ eating froyo on Fridays, and giving back to the community by cooking tacos at Haven from Hunger food pantry.Why do all this? “If people are happy, they’re going to do well,’’ Headrick said.
Where organic fruit deliveries, free Patagonia jackets, and field trips to Woodstock are a given.- Waltham, MABoathouse Advertising is “very interested’’ in its employees’ wellbeing, brand strategist Ilyse Greenberg said. This starts with snacks.Every week, Boathouse gets a delivery of organic fruit from a local co-op so employees have healthy, free alternatives if they get hungry. “It’s something small but it’s kind of cool,’’ Greenberg said. Boathouse is also invested in its employees’ financial well-being.The company started a training program to teach workers “how to save, how to manage credit cards, how to save for college, and then for retirement,’’ Greenberg said. Many of Boathouse’s clients are financial advisers, Greenberg said, so it gives workers a better understanding of their clientele.It also helps Boathouse’s (very young) workforce get a head start keeping track of their personal finances, she said. “We teach them about not accumulating a ton of debt on credit cards and paying off their student loans. I think it’s pretty cool we care about those things.’’If talking about money seems too ‘heavy’ for you, Boathouse also has an annual summer outing sure to curb financial woes. This summer, they went to Woodstock, Vermont and took a company boat-trip down the Connecticut River. Another year they went to Newport, Rhode Island and saw “America’s top sailboats.’’ They raced each other, with a cash prize going to the winning team, Greenberg said. “There’s a healthy dose of competition in everything we do.’’Boathouse doesn’t forget the holiday season. Every Christmas, they give gifts to all their clients—Patagonia fleece jackets or North Face coats, Greenberg said. There are plenty of other Boathouse boons created on an ad hoc basis. Recently had surgery? You’ll get a gift basket. Feeling sick? Expect a ‘Get Well’ card. Getting married? Prepare for a bridal shower. The same goes for baby showers and graduations. “If someone wants to do something nice for somebody else, it’s company funded.’’ Greenberg said.
Gas cards, impromptu pizza parties, and trips to the Bahamas? Sign me up.- Woburn, MAAt BBS, a small direct marketing firm in Woburn, Mass., CEO Vince Conley said there are “tons of incentives’’ for employees. BBS pays for 50 percent of all workers’ gas to and from the office, but if an employee does particularly well in a weekly sales competition, Conley said they’ll often get a $25 or $50 gas card as well. “We also have pizza parties or Subway parties all the time,’’ Conley said.BBS is different from some companies in that it rewards managers and those who work in lower-level positions, like human resources. BBS pays for a yearly getaway trip that provides “a little R&R,’’ for a few top account managers and a handful of general and assistant managers, Conley said. This October, they went to Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. Previous trips have been to Miami, Florida.Still, they don’t forget about HR, Conley said, “the backbone of the company.’’ “Once a month, management will take them out for manis, pedis, or margaritas.’’ Thursdays, every member of BBS goes out together—to the Scoreboard Sports Bar & Grille, The Brickyard, or Tanner Tavern.Other employee perks include free 4G tablets, company polo shirts, jackets, and duffel bags. That’s a lot of swag. If new employees hit a certain sales quota in their first two weeks, Conley said they also get “the suit bonus.’’ “We’ll go to Men’s Warehouse or lady stores and buy new suits for them,’’ Conley said. “I give them my Am Ex and say, ‘Don’t spend more than $150 bucks.’’’
Bring your dog to work and feel free to run that 5k.- Boston, MAYou might know RunKeeper as the iPhone app that makes you feel bad about yourself when you can’t run more than two miles. For employees who work there, it’s a place where you can bring your dog to work and exercise is always encouraged.Elyse Bogacz, a User Interface Designer at RunKeeper, said the company has “a really awesome culture.’’ Every Friday, for example, she works from home. Other people in the office do the same one or two days a week, she said. “It’s great for people who live further away or have kids. There haven’t been any slackers who have infiltrated us yet. It doesn’t get abused.’’Another employee perk? Unlimited vacation time. You heard that correctly: employees can take off as much time as they want, as long as they give their team a head’s up and make sure their work is accounted for. “There’s no formal process,’’ Bogacz said. “No one rolls out for two weeks’ vacation without telling anyone.’’ The most RunKeeper workers take off is generally between 3-4 weeks, she said, so the perk isn’t abused. Still, that’s more vacation time than most get. This summer, Bogacz took two weeks to go to San Francisco and make her way down the coast. Others at RunKeeper have taken a couple weeks here and there to go to Europe.Dog-friendliness enhances the chill office vibe. Bogacz brings her French bulldog, DJ, in frequently. If you really need to take a load off, you can have a drink, she said. There happens to be a bar–cleverly called Rumkeeper–located in the office’s back room. It was the brainchild of a company Hackathon, an annual competition in which RunKeeper workers split up into teams and come up with cool ideas for the app.Finally, RunKeeper is (obviously) concerned with employee health and fitness. One unique benefit, Bogacz said, is that the company pays up to $200 a year for an employee’s race registrations, giving them little excuse to put off that half marathon they’ve long considered.“They encourage us to be active,’’ Bogacz said. “There are a lot of team outings where we all hang out together. Last week, we had an office meeting at Harpoon and we got pretzels and beer. It was great.’’