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It’s been exciting to see all the ways that employers have innovated in the last several years. Business isn’t just a competition for customers, but also for the best and brightest minds that you can find. This competition to hire has driven companies to get creative and focus on their culture and the work perks they build into it. I’ve compiled a list of my favorites!

Casual Dress Code

I have a very strong aversion to real clothes AKA business casual or business professional. Long sleeves, button up shirts that come to my chin, suit jackets…I’m just not cut out for them. The growing trend of allowing a casual dress code in the workplace is fantastic.

It’s not just that casual clothes are more comfortable. It’s also awesome to let people express their sense of style. Best of all, new hires can avoid the large expense that often comes along with buying a new wardrobe for a job where you have to dress differently than you would day-to-day.

Common Areas

Common areas facilitate chance encounters with coworkers that you may not usually interact with. I love this, because you can strike up a conversation and learning a bit about what’s going on in other departments. You can also make friends and acquaintances and brighten someone’s day just having a quick chat.

A full-time job is a huge part of daily life and most people want to be excited to go to work! Common areas contribute a lot toward improving workplace camaraderie. A noble goal, if you ask me!

Alternative Desks

I LOVE TREADMILL DESKS. Some people think they’re weird, but I think they’re great. It’s so great to be productive while you walk. It may take more coordination than some people are blessed with, but it helped me on many days where I had a mountain of emails or reading to do. These desks keep you moving and alert while you work, and leave you feeling more rejuvenated when you get back to your desk!

Standing desks are becoming a lot more common as well. It’s tough to maintain good posture sitting at a desk all day, and squeaky chairs are pretty obnoxious, so the option to stand would always be welcome.

Flexible Work Spaces

I’m all about having options other than your desk or cubicle. Sometimes you just need to hide away and get a bunch of work done. You need silence. Or maybe you just need a more comfortable chair. I find it much easier to be creative when I’m in an environment that gets my brain going. For me, that’s usually as simple as being somewhere other than my desk for a little while to really crank out a specific task.

It’s awesome to see so many companies allow people to take their work to the couches, to a conference room, or into the courtyard by having technology and office spaces that encourage it. Laptop computers, in-office chat communication, sitting areas, abundant conference rooms, picnic tables. It all keeps the creative and collaborative juices flowing.

Dog-Friendly Offices

I worked in an office that was dog-friendly before I got a dog, and it always brought a smile to my face to see happy dogs napping under desks. This helped me make a lot of work friends just by asking if I could pet their dogs. It brought a really fun element to the office environment and boosted spirits many times.

Now I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum; I own a dog and I don’t work in a dog-friendly office. I feel a bit guilty every time I leave my dog at home alone, and it costs almost $300/month to have him go to a daycare facility where he can be supervised and play with other dogs on weekdays.

Dog-friendly offices definitely aren’t for every company or every dog, but I see great benefits for dog owners and coworkers that like the furry friends.

Community Service

Corporate Social Responsibility has been a growing effort for several years. More companies build charitable donations and fundraisers into their budgets now, and that’s awesome! My favorite way that companies get involved is when they allow their employees to take paid time to volunteer or get involved in a cause that they personally choose.

Giving service is such a rewarding experience. When people do service with their own hands and time it gives them perspective, self-confidence and identity. It’s awesome when companies make these opportunities more accessible by offering paid hours or days to participate.

Commuter Benefits

Commuter programs make my Seattle-raised heart happy. I love it when businesses try to go green! Many companies have developed programs to make a mass transportation commute more accessible for employees. I’ve seen full or partial reimbursement for transportation passes, company-assisted carpool arrangements, sponsored van-pools from train stations, and shuttles where public transportation isn’t a great option.

There are so many ways employers can delight their people! What are your favorite work perks?