Healthy Benefits for the Long Run

To come up with the best ideas, you need a fresh mind.

There's a dark side to the ping pong tables and free food and laundry service culture perks of many of the "coolest" and most desirable companies. Is a culture built around free food and ping pong tables really as positive as it outwardly appears? Is it a culture of growth and personal development? A cynical person could argue that a ping pong table and catered lunch is a pretty cheap premium to pay to keep employees perpetually on campus and ready to work.

I like Basecamp's approach to benefits much better: Pre-planned vacations, 4-day summer weeks, and sabbaticals.

If I had employees these are the types of benefits I would offer. I would want to have benefits that strive to develop my employees as people and not just well-fed and proficient at fooseball. Not to mention, a good organizational culture should breed people who want to be at work because of the social and intellectual environment, not because of the perks. The type of people that need a reminder to get the hell out of the office, recharge, and come back with a renewed sense of vigor.

If I ever get a real job I hope it's for a company like Basecamp.

Photo by Max Klingensmith