Google sets the standard for a happy work environment

Google is the place to work according to Fortune magazine, which listed the top 50 companies to work for. Google is listed as a top competitor for most features, including unusual perks, cafes, health coverage, and work environment. Most of the other companies that made it into the top 50 only excel in one or two areas. This is the second year in a row that Google has managed to capture the number one position in Fortune’s assessment of companies.

Standard benefits offered by Google include 100% healthcare coverage and on-site day care. Additionally, new moms are entitled to 18 weeks of paid maternity leave while dads get 7 weeks. Some perks that aren’t quite standard include 17 cafeterias that offer free food to all employees.

The rule at Google is that no staff member should be more than 100 feet from a food source. That’s not to say they only have access to junk food vending machines, or that cafeterias offer fast, easy, fat-laden meals. Chefs of the highest caliber prepare a variety of meals, with unique variations on everyday meals. The mac and cheese, for example, comes with wild mushrooms and truffles.

They also have a keen interest in environmental conservation and have a department dedicated to research into “green” technologies. Google goes to great lengths to be as energy efficient as possible, which is a mindset that is encouraged in its employees. In the spirit of energy conservation, they subsidize staff members who purchase hybrid or electric cars to the tune of $1,000. Employees based in California are entitled to special discounts if they install solar panels on their homes.

Google is also quite unique in that it has a policy that allows passionate animal lovers to bring their beloved pets to work. The obvious proviso is that the various dogs, cats, and a variety of others must be reasonably well behaved and house trained. It has been reported in The Inquirer, UK, that the pet policy is under review, after a misbehaving pet python created chaos and terror at the New York branch.

Bingham McCutchen only made it to 41st on the list, but he is the number one firm when it comes to high salary packages. The law firm is known for hiring promising law school graduates for a whopping $160,000 a year. Their legal secretaries, whose importance is often overlooked by other firms, earn an average of $69,000 a year. This is higher than what some managers earn at other companies. The average salary for Bingham McCutchen staff is $211,017 per year.

eBay San Jose campuses have special de-stress areas for employees who need a little serenity and relaxation. Rooms with comfortable pillows and tatami mats are ideal for midday prayer and meditation, so staff can return to their duties refreshed and revitalized.

Camden Property Trust gives a 20% discount to employees who live in the company’s apartment complexes. Staff members going on vacation can also use fully furnished apartments for just $20 a night.

Nike is one of the most socially conscious companies to work for, as employees in the Portland office volunteer as Portland Mountain Rescuers. They respond to emergencies at any time, no matter what they’re doing or how important it is. When prospective employees are interviewed and warned about the possibility of their work being interrupted by mountain searches, the standard response is “which is more important, saving lives or selling shoes?”

The one thing that all the companies on the top 50 list have in common is that they all realize that a company is only as good as its employees, so they go to great lengths to ensure staff happiness and satisfaction. Staff turnover is low, while job satisfaction is high. Who wouldn’t want to work for a company that rents out an entire movie theater for the day so their staff can see a blockbuster movie on its release date?

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