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Idealog's definitive guide to the best workplace wellbeing policies from around the world

In New Zealand, we often pride ourselves for being leaders in workplace happiness and having a cruisy, laid back office culture. For the most part our companies are relaxed, our work days are flexible, and our ties can be casually tossed aside on a Friday. Yet some international big players such as Fit-Bit, Airbnb, Google and Twitter go to extreme lengths to make sure their employees are taken care of. We take a look at some the best examples of wellness policies from around the globe.

Fitbit

‘Corporate wellness’ is a term that is thrown around a lot, yet nothing quite communicates wellness like Fitbit’s wellness programme. The wearable tech company has made Fitbit’s 10,000 daily steps goal into an inhouse programme which promotes exercise and breaks from inside the office, which they notice improves creativity.

As a reward, the company provides charitable denotations in an employee's name for employees who reach the step count, showing that big incentives don’t need massive budgets.

Also, internally, Fitbit plans "Workout Wednesdays," a day devoted to fitness where employees can participate in various types of workouts throughout the day.

Google

It is a well-known fact that Google has a fantastic company culture, and it makes sense that the company can afford to treat its workers when it made on average last year over $100 billion in revenue.

Although an in-office slide from level to level is a quick and easy way to promote fun, the company also focuses on employee health, even going as far to create a People & Innovation lab to conduct research of develop for its people. If a fancy HR department doesn’t convince you, the Google offices also include ping-pong tables, nap pods and LEGO stations. Employees can shower, get their laundry done, get massages and even swim at work.

Employees can also enhance their knowledge of various subjects through a Googlers-to-Googlers education program. The classes span from subjects like management and public speaking to kickboxing and parenting — and as the name suggests, all classes are taught by Google employees to Google employees.

Cadbury

You’d think working amongst chocolate would be enough to create a fun working environment, yet Cadbury definitely goes above and beyond.

The company has built houses onsite for the workers. Passionate about social reform, the company wanted the Bournville estate, the name of the factory grounds, also to include parks, recreation grounds and open space to give their workers a healthier environment.

The factory offers flexible hours, an inhouse cinema, free lunches and free chocolate. The company also makes an effort to promote fair pay and offer working union ship to support all its employees.

Twitter

It’s a given that Twitter would have great in-house polices and amenities, being one of the most well-known tech companies in our modern world.

According to Fortune, ‘tweet-worthy’ perks include, a crossfit gym, games room, in-house education programmes, yoga, massages, wine, beer and kombucha on tap, rooftop decks, constant company presentations with A-list celebrities, and twice a year Twitter organizes a global day of service. Employees can pick from a number of projects organized by local non-profits, from serving lunches at homeless shelters to setting up Internet connectivity in the neighborhood to tutoring elementary students from lower-income schools.

Airbnb

For a pure-play business, the AirBnB offices are an impressive display of how important in office culture is to its employees.

Along with open spaces and flexible schedules, the AirBnB team promote team work, rather than individual projects. Along with amenities like an in-house cafeteria, relaxing lounges and fully stocked kitchens, the company also works as a meritocracy rather than as a hierarchy.

The company spend a lot of time with its human resources team, who pride themselves as being playful, fun, helpful and dead serious. They uphold the company’s most important goal, which is preserving and driving the company’s culture.

Facebook

Obviously included on this list is the behemoth Facebook, one of the well-known company cultures to impress and improve employee wellbeing. Facebook would be one of the very first companies to be vocal about its ‘cool’ company culture.

Along with fair pay and a dedicated HR team, some lesser known perks include dry cleaning services, valet parking, on site medical care, onsite barber, free meals and snacks, video game room, gym, hiring various celebrities to speak at the offices, choice of supplied Mac or PC as well as being paid to be on Facebook all day.

Some financial benefits also are supplied to new parents, including five months paid maternity leave and $4,000 ‘baby cash’ gifted to new parents.

Microsoft

It’s not surprising that one of the most charitable men in the world is just as charitable to his employees. Bill Gate’s Microsoft is well known for its office polices. Yet once taken over by Satya Nadella in 2014 the company has gone through over 18,000 layoffs. On the other hand, he has also changed Microsoft's culture. 

In recent years, salary and perks have increased, as well as Microsoft’s effort to diversify the workplace. Many employees have said the takeover from Nadella has sent Microsoft in the right direction, offering a chance to work with amazing people, which is an important part of its inner culture.

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