Work perks

Forget table tennis: 4 ridiculous work perks you wish you had

“Today,” says a smiling Phil Silverstone, “is Paella Day.”

The APAC General Manager at Melbourne-based scaleup Eventbrite is not just talking about his lunch preferences. He’s referring to one of many employee benefits the high-growth event ticketing and technology company has launched in order to make working at Eventbrite “the ultimate life experience,” such as generous paid parental leave, fully-paid private health insurance and a monthly wellness allowance for anything from massages to mindfulness classes.

With studies showing that high employee engagement drives talent retention, better workplace wellness, productivity, customer satisfaction and revenue growth, it’s no wonder that these envy-inducing work perks are becoming commonplace – especially in Australia’s scaleup and startup ecosystem.

Why go to such lengths for a few perks?

In the entrepreneurial landscape, small wins and improvements can make an enormous difference.  Which is why, if you step into any Melbourne scaleup, you’ll be met with some of the coolest work perks out there, from equity in the business, to free holidays and endless food.

If the potential of a paella day is not enough to pique your interest, here are 4 other work perks we found in Melbourne scaleups:

1.     Rome2Rio pays for employees to travel the world

Ala AirBnB, local travel scaleup Rome2Rio provides free travel for their employees – in addition to a whopping five weeks annual leave. These perks align well with their company’s mission to help people get from A to B around the globe, as well as build empathy for the customers they’re designing for and delivering value to.

Providing employees with benefits that are somehow connected to and integrated with their actual career is a great way to keep teams inspired and in love with their daily goals in the office.

2.     Zendesk gives dads leave (and funds volunteering opportunities)

“Zendesk is a really family friendly place,” said a young dad at the Victorian scaleup changing the face of customer experiences. “I have two kids, and we have an amazing parental leave policy. When our second kid was born last year, I got to take 4 months off to spend time with my daughter, which was really amazing.”

Want to make a difference? The company also has a social responsibility program that encourages employees to give back to the community with paid volunteering work. And not just a day off to help out at a charity – they research the needs of their local communities and build their own Zendesk neighbourhood programs (run by volunteers) to give back.

“The corporate social responsibility program is one of the things I really love about working at Zendesk,” said another team member. “We’re a company that actually wants to make an impact in both our customers’ lives and those of the communities we support.”

This mindset of support, society and inclusion has also helped improve diversity at the scaleup, with employees from all backgrounds and life circumstances flocking to Zendesk for its truly inclusive environment.

3.     Envato has a 3 month overseas remote work program

Local digital marketplace scaleup Envato has a global customer base, so they believe that working overseas can help bring global perspectives. After 12 months, employees have the opportunity to work remotely for 3 months every year – anywhere in the world. Imagine reading your emails from places like the Amalfi Coast, Mexico or Paris?

To make it happen, Envato also ensures that all team members are equipped with video conferencing and document sharing tech to keep connected, and put trust and flexibility at the core of their ethos. The Melbourne tech hub is also a previous recipient of Australia’s Coolest Company for Women award, and has recently overhauled their progressive parental leave and diversity policies to keep evolving.

4.     Redbubble gives you equity

“To win the marketplace,” says businessman Doug Conant, “you must first win the workplace.” One way to do that is to get employees invested in their work – really, truly, financially invested – with an employee share scheme.

Redbubble, a local print-on-demand scaleup that gives independent artists a platform to share and sell their art, gives some employees the opportunity to gain equity in the company. Startup jobs with equity provide team members with a tangible sense that they benefit directly from the success of their contributions, and is a very powerful engagement tool – rising in popularity in startups and scaleups around the world.

A culture worth committing to

Whether it’s equity or extra leave, perks that allow employees to be the best versions of themselves are ones worth investing in.

After all, when people feel that their company or management supports all aspects of their lives, they are more likely to feel invested in and inspired by the work they do within office hours. And this, in turn, leads to better performance, productivity and profitability for the company in question.


Explore a day in the life of a Scaleup in our Unicorn Life video featuring Envato, Redbubble, Eventbrite and more…