A CEO explains how giving employees $2,300 and an extra week off work creates a competitive advantage

Toca Boca CEO Bjorn JefferyToca BocaToca Boca CEO and co-founder Bjorn Jeffery

The old adage that “travel broadens the mind” may be cliché, but it still rings true.

It’s also the thinking behind one of Stockholm-based digital play studio Toca Boca‘s unique perks.

Employees are given $2,300 and seven days to go on an “inspiration trip” anywhere in the world. That week doesn’t count toward their vacation days.

Any one of the company’s approximately 70 workers can go on a trip (once they plan things out with their manager). Spouses can even tag along. If a worker’s travel expenses add up to less than $2,300, the surplus rolls over to their next inspiration trip.

One worker visited Japan to take photos and get some design inspiration. Another employee travelled to rural Mongolia, where she observed how nomadic children played without access to technology.

“We don’t decide where they go,” CEO and co-founder Bjorn Jeffery told Business Insider. “That’s up to the employee. They need to self-organise in order to find the things that inspire them. It’s all about finding your creative fuel.”

Jeffery says that the perk doesn’t simply reflect Toca Boca’s values — it creates a competitive advantage.

“It acknowledges the importance of feeling inspired when you’re doing creative work,” he says. ” It also acknowledges that different people need different things to feel inspired. Perks don’t have to be super expensive — they can just break the mould of what you expect. That alone can have a positive impact on work culture.”

He also notes that giving people the opportunity to get away from the office for a while is a great productivity booster.

“When people come back from a trip, generally speaking, they’re rested and they’re happy,” Jeffery says. “If they like their job, they have been looking forward to go back to work.”

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