From lunchtime meditation to karaoke to failure awards, these are some of the quirkiest work perks in Australia

Meditators at dawn (Photo by Brendon Thorne, Getty Images)
  • Companies are getting creative when it comes to what they can offer to get staff happy, with innovation consultant Amantha Imber compiling a list of the best options.
  • From 18-weeks paid paternal leave, meditation spaces and group singing sessions, there’s plenty on offer for everyone.

  • Would you enjoy your job more if could nick off to meditate in your own purpose-built sanctuary?

    What about if you and a few colleagues could bash out ‘Working Class Man’ over lunch?

    With many Australians still waiting for a pay rise that never seems to come, companies are getting creative to find other incentives to attract and keep workers.

    While singing might raise the eyebrows of some employees, there’s plenty of research that backs up its benefits, according to consultancy Inventium.

    “The benefits of group singing have been well documented. Studies have shown that group singing boosts oxytocin levels, which helps control stress and anxiety,” founder Amantha Imber said.

    These companies, Imber said, were helping show what was possible.

    “Not only are these organisations pushing the boundaries on what is possible for their customers, they are also creating world-class working environments for their staff,” she said.

    Amantha Imber has found the best workplace perks around the country (Supplied)

    This is what is on offer around the country.

    18 weeks paid parental leave for dads

    While some of the perks on this list might be noteworthy for their novelty, this is not one of those.

    At consultancy firm Deloitte, all employees are able to access the company’s flexible parental leave program within the first three years of their child’s life.

    “For example, instead of taking 18 weeks in one go, dads might elect to take two days a week over a longer period,” Imber said. “This flexible approach to parental leave has resulted in 128% increase in men actually using their parental leave entitlements.”

    It’s the kind of social reform that would no doubt attract candidates far and wide. We hope other employers take note.

    Custom-built meditation spaces and lunch-time singing

    International Towers, which manages three high-rise buildings in Sydney’s commercial Barangaroo district, has specially designed spaces with worker wellbeing in mind.

    Employees in need of a break are able to take themselves away from their desks and find their inner nirvana in specially designed meditation spaces.

    For those in need of a little help finding it, weekly guided meditation classes are also on offer.

    If you’re more inclined towards making noise instead, those group singing sessions are available once a month.

    Awards for failing and homemade meals

    Custom Innovation Company (a buzzword-filled name if there ever was one) is an online fashion company.

    Calling themselves a “disruptor” (another buzzword), they have implemented a policy of celebrating flops as well as its successes.

    “A lot of companies will punish people for making mistakes — we encourage them,” co-founder David McLaughlin said in a release.

    “You can’t innovate if you’re not f*cking things up. We wrap up the week with a session called ‘Clangers and Bangers’ where we celebrate the mistakes –clangers — and also the wins –bangers — over a beer,” he said.

    To encourage collaboration and morale, Custom Innovation employees take turns cooking a meal for the whole team twice a week.

    “This ritual acts as downtime for team members to bond while putting the tools down,” Imber said.

    Get paid to experiment, no matter the result

    In the same vein, mining equipment and software company GroundProbe encourages its team to experiment themselves.

    Similar to Google’s famous policy of giving employees time to work on their own projects, GroundProbe gives team members two hours free time each week to do so.

    “As an example, one of Process Engineers built a robotic, remotely-operated radar calibration device during this weekly time block, which turned a two-person manual task into to a one-person task, saving many hours of time,” Imber said.

    Like Custom Innovation Company, it’s effort that counts.

    “Managers are empowered to give up to $100 of gift cards every month for both successes and fast failures. And every new starter at GroundProbe is given the chance to work in the factory for a week building a product,” Imber said.

    Because the company’s products are so unique, it was decided that there was no better way to understand the products than to build them yourself.”

    Everyone gets a business card, including bartenders

    One of the country’s most awarded distilleries, Archie Rose, is powered by a team split across all its different operations and liquors.

    That’s why it makes sure every employee feels like they’re seen with a supply of business cards, Imber said

    “While this benefit is stock standard if you work in a sales team, it is almost unheard of for a junior bartender to receive their own card, who are always very excited to receive one,” she said.

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