As Tech Firms Boom, Quirky Job Perks Once Again Become the Norm

Job Perks Everything old is new again -- at least that's the way it appears within the tech industry in their bid to attract the best and brightest.

A mere 11 years after the 1990s tech bubble burst, Silicon Valley companies are once again wooing workers with quirky perks, including an in-office tree house that features a nap room at Airbnb Inc.'s new offices in San Francisco, The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription may be required).

Those and other perks, including a recent rooftop barbecue and air guitar contest, promote fun at work, says Joe Gebbia, the 29-year-old founder of the vacation-rental marketplace website.

Airbnb isn't alone in revisiting the heady excesses in tech-bubble perks. Online storage site Dropbox Inc. has a rock room where employees play guitars and drums, and another one dedicated to playing the arcade game "Dance Dance Revolution."

Zynga Inc., a social-gaming company, offers its employees gourmet lunches and dinners, and social-network behemoth Facebook sponsors an annual game day, which features classic schoolyard games such as kickball and capture the flag.

Though offering employees unique perks seems like déjà vu, there's one component of today's tech startups that's decidedly not old-school: the dress code.

The Journal notes that today's batch of tech-savvy entrepreneurs have eschewed the khaki pants and blue shirts of a decade ago for the popular hooded shirt, or hoodie, a nod to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, 27, who has made it his uniform.

Zuckerberg did surrender his hoodie for an evening in February while dining with President Obama. But when Obama showed up a few weeks later at Facebook's California headquarters, Zuckerberg gave the president, "who got Mark to wear a jacket and tie," a hoodie of his own.

Next: Nap Rooms: Trendy Perk That Companies Want to Keep Under the Covers

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i work for doctors and we received one raise in 9 years and no perks other then coffee. i am grateful to have a job but doctors don't like to part with money. my old boss used a hammer and a screw driver as a can opener when i first worked for him and he was a doctor too. bless these physicans. i do realize that the insurance companies are robbing primary care physicians and they don't make the money they use to but seriously a cost of living raise for all of us would be nice at least every other year.

July 12 2011 at 10:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I worked for a huge corporation and during Manager's Meeting, we were given a FREE BOTTLE OF WATER!! It was potluck for everyone for lunch! Very excited to get the water!

July 12 2011 at 5:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Back in the late '80s I worked for a company of about 70 employees in a part of downtown Cleveland that left us with no easy place to park or places to go off-site for lunch. The answer, the company used some of the property to set up our own free gated parking lot (each employee was issued a clicker that activated the entry/exit gate) AND they contracted with a local catering service that provided us with a fantastic lunch each day. Each days menu was valued at approximately $15. The company paid for $12 of it - and if you chose to each lunch at the office, there was a $3 payroll deduction for each day you ate the catered meal. Believe me, we ate some pretty good and fancy fare. Every Friday the menu was posted for the upcoming week, which gave us employees the freedom to plan ahead as to which lunches you would take advantage of, or which day you would decide to do otherwise. When you went for lunch, all you had to do was sign in. HR would tally the lunch deductions and note them on your pay stub every two weeks. It was a great system and made for many happy employees.

July 12 2011 at 2:47 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

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