Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

From unlimited holiday to free massages and office pubs, the UK’s most amazing company perks

rexfeatures-3310144a.jpg
hero.jpg
rexfeatures-2731979k.jpg

Virgin's Richard Branson has announced that he is offering his personal staff as much holiday as they want. In a statement on his website, the billionaire entrepreneur said his team of 170 people in the UK and US would be allowed "to take off whenever they want for as long as they want. There is no need to ask for prior approval and neither the employees themselves nor their managers are asked or expected to keep track of their days away from the office".

It sounds like a frankly inspired plan to us (one-way ticket to Rio, anyone?). We've taken a closer look at other enterprising UK companies who are pushing the boundaries of a traditional work-based hierarchy and nurturing their employees with incredible job benefits. From flexi working hours to an indoor helter skelter, free breakfasts and an "anti-stress" office beagle, come see the firms with the most enticing job perks:

Unlimited holiday

Richard Branson (pictured here with Virgin Atlantic staff in 2003) is offering his personal staff unlimited holiday leave, saying he was inspired by a similar policy run by TV streaming company Netflix. "Flexible working has revolutionised how, where and when we all do our jobs," he said. "So, if working nine to five no longer applies, then why should strict annual leave policies?" He said it would be up to his employees to ensure their absence did not damage the company in any way. The perk will be offered to his staff in the UK and US - "where vacation policies can be particularly draconian" - first, with the option to roll it out elsewhere if it's successful. Sheffield-based software firm WANdisco runs a similar unlimited holiday scheme, as well as boasting an in-office helter skelter.

Work at any time

London media agency the7stars also offers an unlimited holiday scheme but beyond that, it lets employees work at whatever time of day they want to, whether they're night owls or early morning bees. The company provides its workers with laptops to "roam with" and work outside the office if they prefer. Free gym membership, breakfast every day and fruit throughout the day also count among its perks. "We believe in people ahead of process and have banned all bureaucracy and cumbersome, unnecessary paperwork," a spokesperson told The Sunday Times, who voted it the third best company to work for in the UK this year.

An office pub

Staff at Southhampton IT company Peer1 benefit from one of the coolest offices ever seen - in fact, it's more like an adult playground than a working space. First there's the office pub - The Sherlock Arms - named after the company's founder, Gary Sherlock. There's also an indoor garden complete with a 15ft tree, picnic benches and a tree house where staff can escape for some down time. A swing, a giant helter skelter, a pool table and two flats to host overseas guests also count among its perks. "We are trusting," says the company's managing director Dominic Monkhouse. "Everyone is a peer rather than a parent and child relationship. But while mucking around on a slide may seem like skiving off, the company believes it actually boosts productivity. People tend to go through highs and lows throughout the day, but if you do something different for a few minutes, your performance goes up."

Free massages

Need to de-stress during the working day? Communications agency Battenhall and B2B PR agency TopLine Communications are just two companies that offer a massage allowance to employees, with regular access to therapists and a relaxing range of treatments. Battenhall also runs a 20% policy, whereby one in five hours of each employee's time is spent on experimenting and innovation (each person has their own tech fund to spend on this), and flexi and remote working is offered "to empower our staff to work in whatever way is most effective for them".

Dream scheme

Brighton-based social media company Propellernet has its own motivational scheme, Dream Balls, whereby employees enter their handwritten wishes into an old-fashioned sweet dispenser. Every time the business hits a big target, someone's dream in the 42-strong team is picked to come true. So far, the company has helped fund a trip for two employees to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. "Our whole ethos, our whole reason for being, is enjoying the workplace," said Nikki Gatenby. "We fundamentally believe that if you help people achieve their dreams, you will definitely win their hearts and minds. On top of receiving a bonus when we reached a target, we wanted to actually make people’s dreams come true."

An office beagle

eCommerce company eWAY, based in Edinbugh, says it offices "are among the friendliest in the world". It has a pool table, a beer fridge, a staff-powered playlist and best of all, an office beagle. Harper Beagle "the anti-stress and distraction manager" tours the office "with a diverse portfolio of digging, barking and tail-wagging". The firm says it wants to foster teamwork and creativity with its series of attractive perks.

Company kayaks and a barge

Worcester tech firm Postcode Anywhere makes the most of its riverside location with a company barge and kayaks that staff can use during their downtime. It also gives its team free breakfast and lunch every day of the week and free gym membership. "We’ve always made a conscious effort to ensure that Postcode Anywhere is the sort of place where people wake up and look forward to going to work each and everyday (yes even on a Monday morning!)," the company, which is regularly voted the best place in the UK to work, says.

On-site postal service and beauty treatments

Little wonder kitchen-appliance retailer a0.com has been ranked among The Sunday Times' top 100 companies to work for in the UK. The Bolton-based firm offers its staff free snacks in the form of chocolate, crisps, fruit and drink, childcare vouchers, two paid days of community work a year, corporate gym membership and subsidies on social activities that four or more employees want to do - such as scuba diving or guitar lessons. The company also has a team dedicated to hosting free and extravagant staff events, such as huge summer barbecues. And best of all (in our opinion), it has an on-site postal service and beauty salon to take the stress out of daily errands.

Photos: Rex Features, words: Anna Brech

Related

455475689.jpg

Enhance your CV, expand your skill set and revolutionise your career with these brilliant evening courses

productive-office.jpg

How to make your workplace more efficient

hero-2.jpg

Five productive work rules to live by

top-dog.jpg

Fed Up Of Never Being Top Dog?

morning-hero.jpg

10 ways to make your morning routine less stressful and more productive

Comments

More

Espresso tonic is the new drinks trend taking over our Instagram feeds

Meet your new obsession

28 Mar 2017

Revealed: this new life hack could help you fall asleep

Forget counting sheep - research shows this is the way to the land of nod

28 Mar 2017

Rape survivor says judge was 'right' to warn women about 'drunkenness'

Megan Clark waived her anonymity to address the remarks

28 Mar 2017

This ‘penis seat’ is being used to highlight sexism on Mexico’s Metro

The literally uncomfortable seat is "exclusively for men".

by Hayley Spencer
28 Mar 2017

Italy to become first European country to offer paid menstrual leave

Women could get three days off every month

by Sarah Biddlecombe
28 Mar 2017

At last - Britain's first gravy bar is coming

Finally, a proper way to enjoy chips

by Anna Pollitt
27 Mar 2017

“When are you going to get hitched?” How to tackle intrusive questions

Useful responses for the most annoying of questions

27 Mar 2017

Oh, happy day: a live Sister Act show is coming to London

Featuring a 35-piece gospel choir and full band

by Moya Crockett
27 Mar 2017

Westworld creators answer one of the big questions about Maeve

And star Thandie Newton addresses the show’s violence toward women

by Amy Swales
27 Mar 2017

Women link hands on Westminster Bridge to honour victims

Many wore blue as a symbol of hope and peace

by Anna Pollitt
27 Mar 2017