High-Tech Companies Offer Benefits for Work-Life Balance

Perks include generous parental leave, fitness centers, and free concerts

11 May 2016

In her blog post “A Large Paycheck Isn’t Enough to Keep Women in Engineering,” The Institute’s Amanda Davis reported that women leave the profession for a variety of reasons—one of the main ones being that their employers don’t offer benefits that support a work-life balance. I decided to do some digging to learn which companies are helping employees juggle their professional and personal lives.

SUPPORT FOR PARENTS

An important benefit for mothers—and increasingly fathers, too—is parental leave. High-tech companies have been revamping their policies to help their employees.

Netflix made headlines last year when it announced new moms and dads would receive unlimited paid parental leave for the first year following the birth or adoption of a child. The company also allows parents to return full time or part time and take as much time off as they need throughout the year.

Software company Adobe has expanded its benefit to 26 weeks of paid maternity leave and 16 weeks of paid time off for primary caregivers including those who become parents through childbirth, surrogacy, adoption, or foster care.

Spotify, the music-streaming provider, offers six months of paid parental leave, plus one month of flexible work options for parents returning to the office.

Pinterest employees get three paid months off; the ability to work part time for a month; and two counseling sessions to help with their transition.

The analytics company SAS subsidizes an on-site day-care center and encourages parents to have lunch with their kids.

For Verizon employees who want to adopt a child, the company offers reimbursement of US $10,000 to help cover travel expenses and legal fees. Intel covers up to $15,000 per adopted child.

Some companies now provide benefits for employees having a difficult time conceiving children. At VMware, for example, employees can receive a subsidy toward infertility treatments, which can cost as much as $25,000. Intel offers its U.S. employees up to $40,000 for fertility services and $20,000 for related medication.

TIME OFF

Additional vacation time can help workers juggle personal responsibilities. LinkedIn, Netflix, and VMware offer unlimited paid time off. This year General Electric began offering 30,000 of its senior salaried employees uncapped vacation days.

Employees who have worked for VMware for five years are eligible for its Take 3 sabbatical program. Those workers can take three months off to rejuvenate themselves personally and professionally by participating in meaningful projects, either within the company or for a nonprofit partner.

Adobe shuts down its offices for two months every year, forcing its employees to take a break.

LinkedIn employees get to explore their interests and creativity during “inDays,” which take up one Friday each month.

STAYING HEALTHY AND FIT

Many companies say they believe health is fundamental to work-life balance, so they offer flu shots, biometric screenings, and help with managing chronic conditions.

Some firms make it easier to see a doctor or dentist. VMware, for example, arranges for medical and dental vans to visit its facilities. SAS has an on-site health clinic and pharmacy.

Some companies have built fitness centers on their grounds. Verizon has 45 health and wellness centers around the world, while VMware has two. The centers are outfitted with exercise equipment and offer nutritional consultations and fitness assessments. VMware also has a soccer field and basketball courts on-site.

Heavily subsidized or free cafeterias are the norm at many high-tech companies. VMware has fresh fruit delivered regularly to its U.S. offices, and it hosts farmers markets.

OTHER PERKS

Running errands can eat up valuable personal time. That’s why several companies provide services on-site. SAS and VMware, for example, offer dry-cleaning services, banking, and hair and nail salons. SAS also brings in vendors who prepare tax returns and repair jewelry and shoes.

Both companies also let their employees bring their dogs to work. That can lower stress and foster friendships among coworkers. And employees don’t have to worry about rushing home to walk and feed their pet.

Peer 1 Hosting even has a huge slide, a pub, a movie theater, and a putting green on its premises.

IN CONCERT

Enjoying special events with friends and family can help relieve stress. VMware offers concerts throughout the year; featured performers have included Sara Bareilles, Chris Daughtry, Ariana Grande, and Pat Monahan.

Employees at Spotify sometimes can enjoy a free concert during lunch, catching an artist such as Lily Allen or Joss Stone.

What kind of work-life balance benefits does your company offer? Let us know in the comments section. 

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