Aug 25

6 Unique Benefits That Would Make Any Worker Jealous

Evernote provides house cleaning services twice a month for employees.

Evernote provides house cleaning services twice a month for employees.

While the occasional casual Friday and surprise donut could make any worker happy, there are some work perks that are less common. Some organizations have come to the conclusion that the best and most unique employee benefits not only keep employees happy, but they also put some extra cash back into their pockets. View the list of the six companies that are offering unique perks that could make any worker jealous:

The Company: Evernote
The Perk: House Cleaning

The San Francisco Bay area-based startup Evernote knows how to reward it’s employees. In 2011 the company decided to allow employees to enjoy their free time by hiring house cleaning for their workers. According to Ronda Scott, Evernote’s director of communications, the company offers the benefit in order to keep workers happy both in the office and at home. Scotts says, “The benefits package at Evernote is designed to address the small stresses and inefficiencies of everyday life of our employees.” Currently, nearly half of the 250 employees take advantage of the opportunity to have their homes cleaned (for free) twice a month. Those same workers save approximately $2,400 annually and about 13 hours a week on household chores.

The Company: BodyLogicMD
The Perk: Spa Services

When was the last time you treated yourself to a massage? At BodyLogicMD, the company believes that its employees deserve relaxation more often than that. The network of anti-aging medical practices offers free beauty treatments, like massages and manicures, as often as once a week in their Boca Raton, FL, headquarters.  Vic Kuzmovich, vice president of professional services states, “A majority of our staff is on the phone all day, so to get a break for something relaxing is a great way to break things up.” Research suggests that a five-minute massage can reduce stress, and that isn’t the only perk for BodyLogicMD staff. In fact, employees can save just under $1,000 in weekly manicure costs alone.

The Company: JibJab Media
The Perk: Laundry Service

At JibJab, every Monday morning, all 80 employees snag a laundry bag and stuff it with as much clothing as it can hold. In 24 hours, the service returns with clean, dried and folded clothing. The online media company provides employees with the opportunity to relax when they’d otherwise be fighting stains and folding t-shirts. “If [our founders] could offer a laundry service to give their employees that extra hour or two to spend with family and friends, they figured it was totally worth it,” says Mark Phillips, JibJab’s brand manager.  With the perk, workers save about $480 based on a low-end average cost of drop-off laundry service.

The Company: Ontraport
The Perk: Fancy Food

Many company’s offer free lunch in on-site cafeterias, however the Santa Barbara, CA-based software company Ontraport ups the ante by providing employees with free breakfast, lunch, and snacks. The program was designed to ultimately strengthen employee commitment to the company and encourages workers to stay on campus and socialize with one another during lunchtime. Employees save at least $2,400 a year, based on Visa survey results that found Americans tend to shell out about $10 on their midday meal.

The Company: Asana
The Perk: Custom Workspace

At the task-management software company Asana, workers receive $10,000 to customize a workstation. That’s right, $10,000! In an effort to make workers more productive, Asana allows workers to design their customized work spaces where they are physically comfortable. While workers don’t save directly out of pocket, the perk helps to boost employee wellness and saves money on yearly treatments for back and neck pain.

The Company: LoadSpring Solutions
The Perk: Vacation Fun Money

After just one year at the project management company LoadSpring Solutions, “RockStar” employees get an additional week of vacation- plus $4,000 to $6,000 to spend while they are away. Currently, about a fifth of all LoadSpring employees take adavantage of the benefit known as “CultureSpring.” For obvious reasons, the perk saves workers at least $4,000. The average American spends about $1,200 on their summer vacations, meaning that a LoadSpring employee could take a family on vacation and still have money left over from the vacation fund bonus to help with their savings.

Benefits are always a nice part of any job. While most companies cover the basics of medical, dental and a 401(k), other businesses take it a step further to provide unique, one-of-a-kind worker benefits.

 

Aug 22

Returning From Vacation

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As summer comes to a close, many workers are fitting in their last minute vacations. If you are one of them, then you know the dread that accompanies the reality of having to go back to work. In order to come back to real life from vacation, without wishing you were back on sandy beaches, follow the advice below for creating a smooth transition.

Clean before you go

Coming back to a messy place can be overwhelming and an unfortunate snap back to reality. Returning from your vacation to organization rather than chaos can help get your thinking back on track. Before you leave for your trip, give your workspace a once-over before you leave to make sure that you’ll have a pleasant environment when you return.

Resistance is futile

One of the worst things to do after a nice, relaxing vacation is to resist your circumstances when you return home. Fighting against the reality that you have to return to work will only make you feel worse. Instead, engage with your environment, head back to the office, and make a conscious effort to jump back into the game.

Find the fun

The fun doesn’t have to stop when you get home from a vacation and have to head back to work. You can continue to enjoy yourself by taking a new class, becoming involved in a new project, making a new friend, or heading to a new place on the weekend. Find something fun to do and every weekend can start to feel like a mini-vacation.

Keep in touch

If you visited a friend on your vacation, make an effort to stay in touch upon your return to work. Before you leave, schedule a Skype call on the calendar for every couple of months. Use those times as an opportunity to catch up, swap stories, and keep the energy going.

Change things up

While a routine offers comfort, it can also become very boring. Consider changing things up when you return from your vacation. You should consider taking a new route to work, listening to an audiobook instead of radio, or setting your alarm earlier so you can get up and work out in the morning. Changing your routine and mixing things up will allow you to keep things fresh and exciting

Remember how you were

Chances are you felt pretty good on vacation. Don’t let that good feeling slip away from you. Try your best to stay at ease and to enjoy the smaller things in life. Approaching work with a more peaceful, or optimistic outlook can boost your work day and help you make it until your next vacation.

Vacations are relaxing and exciting, but returning to work can be an unfortunate dose of reality. Instead of letting the return get the best of you, smoothly transition back to work and get back on track by following the advice above.

Aug 21

Internships Boost Employment Offers

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For many college students who major in business, the pressure to gain resume-boosting work experience while in school is overbearing. The good news, is the angst associated with landing an internship may be justified.

According to data collected for Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2014 Undergraduate Business School Rankings released in April, Business students who said that they had “business-related internships” were much more likely to report having gotten at least one job offer.

Seventy-five percent of students said they had an internship, and of those students, 61 percent were offered a job by the winter of their senior year, compared with just 28 percent of students without an internship.

Although the internship gap persists across all industries, there are some in which the difference between interns and their peers who spent their summers another way is more substantial. In banking and financial services, 70 percent of those with internships have received an offer, compared with 27.4 percent of those without internships. Similarly, there are sizable gaps in consulting, technology and retail.

There are some industries in which recruiters will look more kindly on your internship-less resume, including health care, advertising and public relations and non profits.

Overall, internships matter a lot, but even more so in certain industries. Students should consider taking an internship in order to boost their resume and land a job in the industry of choice.

Aug 20

10 Best Cities for Working Parents

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There are many different factors and considerations that come into play when it comes to deciding where to raise a family. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 60% of “married-couple families with children” now include two-working parents, making the factors even more relevant.

NerdWallet and Business Insider partnered to create a list of the Best Cities for Working Parents. For the ranking of each city, NerdWallet took four factors into account: Cost of living in the city, cost of child care, quality of available education, and the percentage of households with children. Take a look at the list of the best places for those hard working parents:

10 Best Cities for Working Parents

1. Gilbert, Arizona
In Gilbert, 76.8% of households have children. Additionally, the median household income is $77,739. Parents in Gilbert can also breathe a sigh of relief when they learn that the city earns a Great Schools rating of 9.

2. Plano, Texas
Plano has a median household income of $81,339 and 71.2% percent of households have children. Additionally, schools in the area receive a rating of 8.

 3. Chandler, Arizona
In Chandler, the Great Schools rating is an 8, offering solid education options for parents. The median household income in the city is $69,917 and the percentage of households with children is 69.1%.

4. Fremont, California
The median household income in Fremont is $95,101. Another great benefit of the city is that the percentage of households with children is 78.4%. Schools also receive a high rating of 8 in the area on the Great School rating scale.

5. Irvine, California
Irvine receives the highest possible rating for schools in the area with a 10 and 66.7% of households have children. Parents are also relieved to learn that the median household income in Irvine is $91,760.

6. Garland, Texas
Coming in at number 6 on the list, Garland has a Great Schools rating of 6. Additionally, 77.1% of households have children. The median household income for the area is $52,084. 

7. El Paso, Texas
El Paso garners a median household income of $40,920 and receives a Great Schools rating of a 6. Additionally, almost three-quarters (73.9%) of households have children in the area.

8. Lexington, Kentucky
Despite having a lower percentage of households (57.7%) with children than the other cities on the list, Lexington still earns a spot in the top 10. The city has a Great Schools rating of 7 and offers a median household income of $47,785.

9. Chesapeake, Virginia
Chesapeake has a median household income of $68,750 and a Great Schools rating of 6. Additionally the percentage of households with children is 74.4%, attracting parents to the area.

10. Mesa, Arizona
Rounding out the list is Mesa, Arizona with a Great Schools rating of 7. In the city, 65% of households have children. Parents can also anticipate a median household income of about  $46,496.

If you are a working parent looking for an ideal city to raise your family in, then consider one of the 10 cities listed above. Visit Gigats.com to begin your customized job search and to view the various opportunities located in the metropolitan areas on the list of the 10 Best Cities for Working Parents.

Aug 19

Robots Predicted to Displace Workers by 2025

Japanese giant Yaskawa Electric's indust

Recently, The Pew Research Center surveyed a group of scientists and other analysts. Of the experts surveyed, 48 percent stated that robotic advances will displace a significant number of blue and white collared jobs by 2025. An additional 52 percent predicted that innovations will help to create new industries.

During the survey, there was one large feat that was expressed. Many believe that schools are not preparing students with the technological skills necessary for new types of jobs that may continue to emerge with the rapidly changing and innovative economy.

According to a 2013 report by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne of the University of Oxford, the growth of automated and computerized services puts about 47 percent of all U.S. jobs at risk during the next 20 years.

As we move forward it is likely that factory worker jobs will continue to be replaced by robots and computers as they have been during recent decades. However, it isn’t the only industry presently at risk.  Jobs are likely to be disrupted by robots and artificial intelligence in other industries,  including telemarketing, construction and transportation.

Additionally, the growth of computing power and search engines will likely disrupt jobs that require more education like paralegals and office administrators. In fact, a 2013 report from the McKinsey Global Institute market research firm predicts that computers with more processing power will likely affect more than 230 million knowledge workers, or approximately 9 percent of the global workforce.

Another industry that will be strongly impacted will be manufacturing. New technologies like robotics and 3-D printers will affect 640 million manufacturing jobs, according to McKinsey. While it is certainly a disappointment to displace 24 percent of the global workforce, the efficiency from these new technologies are seen as a mixed blessing, saving the manufacturing sector $1.2 trillion.

Many of the experts surveyed have varying views on the situation. For example, Vint Cerf, credited as one of the creators of the Internet for his computer science work with the Defense Department in the 1970s, states “Historically, technology has created more jobs than it destroys and there is no reason to think otherwise in this case.” Stowe Boyd on the other hand, the lead researched at Gigaom Research fears that humans will struggle to find their way in a robot-based economy in 2025.

Aug 18

Starbucks Announces Scheduling Change

Josh Barrow

Recently, Starbucks announced that it would change its policies regarding schedules in response to an article that appeared in The New York Times. The article from The New York Times highlighted the difficult situation that millions of working parents face every day. Citing the struggle of Jannette Navarro, a Starbucks barista who is raising her four year-old son on $9 and hour. In the article, Navarro states that she often doesn’t know the hours she will be working on a day-to-day basis, making it difficult to plan and arrange childcare, an essential part to maintaining a job for any working parent.

Cliff Burrows, Starbuck’s group president in charge of U.S. stores, stated in an email to 130,000 employees, “We must do all we can to deliver the best for our partners because they deserve our very best.” The email continues by stating that the company would be revising its scheduling procedures in order to make them more humane. Additionally, the company stated that it would provide employees with at least a week’s notice about their schedules, and that it would eliminate the common practice of “clopening”- making a worker shut down the store for the night and return just a few hours later to open for the next day.

Starbucks response is being noted as on of the “fastest responses to a piece of public-service journalism in recent memory,” and it is clear that the company is moving to remedy the situation.

The New York Times article and similar stories outlining the difficulty of work for working parents have made the topic a hot button issue. Many believe that similar stories will continue to flood the news until leaders of corporations opt to change and accept the realities of today’s workforce.

Aug 15

“Systematic Wage Theft” Suit Filed Against Jimmy John’s

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Two former employees of the “freaky fast” sandwich shop, Jimmy John’s, are suing the company for what they describe as “systematic wage theft.” In the lawsuit filed on Friday in federal court, Karolis Kubelskas and Emily Brunner claim that they were forced to regularly work off the clock due to unreasonably low payroll budgets provided to individual Jimmy John’s stores, leading to minimum wage and overtime violations.

According to the complainants, Jimmy John’s has “intentionally and repeatedly misrepresented the true time worked by their hourly employees” in an effort to keep costs down and dodge overtime laws. Presently, the lawsuit is a proposed class action, with Kubelskas and Brunner arguing that such pay practices come from “corporate set policies” and would apply to other workers.

The two workers are stating that Jimmy John’s employees were not given enough time to complete all of their closing duties at the end of the day. At a certain point, managers would tell them to clock out regardless of whether or not they had to continue to work.

The proposed suit isn’t the first time that Jimmy John’s has been the target of a lawsuit from workers. In fact, last November, 300 delivery drivers sued a major Jimmy John’s franchise operator, claiming that the auto expenses that they incurred pushed their earnings below minimum wage.

Brunner is being represented by the Chicago firm Foote, Mielk, Chavez & O’neil, and originally filed suit against the company in July, but she filed an additional, joint complaint with Kubelskas last week.

Aug 14

Work Hard, Play Harder

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For most working professionals, the “fun” parts of their lives are usually reserved for nights and weekends. Regular hours of the day are spent working hard, with only an occasional break during the day. On the other hand, some companies have specialized in making the day a little more than just standard work. Take a look at 5 companies that like to play as hard as they work:

1. HomeAway
HomeAway is a vacation rental marketplace that believes it is important for colleagues to get along with each other and have fun at the same time. One example of this policy is that every year HomeAway rents out a music hall in Austin to host its annual holiday party. The event provides workers with the opportunity to gather with friends and colleagues in order to celebrate the year, the company and each other.

2. YPlan
YPlan is an app that was developed to make it easy to find and attend the best events in London and NYC. Joining in the on the fun, Yplan employees often attend wine tastings or shows as a group. Additionally, the team enjoys weekly Friday happy hours and the occasional round or two of beer pong.

3. GEICO
GEICO offers employees with several opportunities to attend group outings, encouraging anyone and everyone to join. Events include Zumba classes, softball leagues and soccer teams. Additionally, GEICO encourages employees to start new clubs in order to offer something for everyone.

4. Zoosk
Zoosk is an online dating site that has been built by a pretty social team. The company has a resident party-planning committee that helps organize activities from Oktoberfest and Halloween costume contests to summer picnics and potlucks. Zoosk also holds several happy hours, foosball competitions and other events throughout the year.

5. Handybook
Handybook has specialized in making hiring household cleaners and handymen an easy process. Additionally, they know how to kick back and relax by hosting bi-weekly happy hours, opening up its well-stocked “drink cabinet” and challenging partygoers to create new cocktails. The Handybook crew can also enjoy the bar located downstairs where they play giant Jenga, drink champagne, or purchase rounds of shots.

If you’re interested in joining in on some of the workplace fun offered above, visit Gigats.com to see what opportunities may be available to you.

Aug 13

Gaining Respect at Work

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Ah, respect. It’s such a hard thing to earn but such an easy thing to give away. There are a variety of thoughts on the subject, such as: ‘Always treat your elders with respect.’ ‘Respect is earned, not given.’ ‘Everyone is worthy of respect until they prove otherwise.’ Yet as professionals we still continue to struggle to understand how we fully earn and give respect.

It’s no secret that everyone does want to be respected and everyone is willing to give it. In a way, it’s common courtesy to have respect for people you don’t know. When you’re first introduced to someone new, you’re usually on your best behavior; smiling, standing, and out-stretching your arm for that firm handshake. All of which are signs of respect. You even express respect towards people that you already know, you’re acquaintances, co-workers, and friends of friends – you probably respect them as well, just out of habit – or dare I say, respect?

But what happens when you really aren’t feeling it yourself? When you’re respectful of others at work and you bring good things to the table, but you’re still ignored, passed over, and just not feeling the love? How can you start to gain respect from the people you work with every day?

How to Gain Respect and Attract People

  1. Respect yourself. Think of all the people you respect at work (or otherwise) and consider exactly what it is you respect about them. Is it their broad knowledge base? An awesome skill they bring to the team? The way they treat people? Whatever it is, start to realize that you’re awesome too.  You bring with you something that no one else in your position could bring, so what is it?
  2. Once you start respecting yourself, you’ll start respecting your projects and you’ll start to feel really good about what you’re doing. Your mojo will accelerate and the last thing you’ll worry about is what other people are doing (or not doing) and how much respect they give you.
  3. As is often the case in life, the moment you stop worrying about people respecting you is the moment that respect will start to come. Did you ever notice that the most charismatic and confident people in the room don’t seem to care what anyone else thinks about them? It’s funny how that works. The less you care about what people think of you, the more drawn to you they will be.

Follow the three steps above in order to turn your lack of respect around and start commanding some at the office. Begin by fully respecting yourself, recognizing your valuable contributions and eliminating your concern over what others think of you in order to command a stronger presence and earn the respect that you are rightfully due.

Aug 12

New Glassdoor Feature Allows Benefit Comparison

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For years, tech companies have been competing for top talent by offering unique employment opportunities, impressive benefit packages and more, leaving many job seekers with tough decisions on the company that provides the best match. Fortunately, job seekers are now able to compare the benefits packages of all these places using a new tool on Glassdoor.

Glassdoor, allows employees to write anonymous reviews of companies and recently launched a new feature that enables users to read reviews and see the rankings of the benefits that are offered at various workplaces in tech and other industries.

Currently the site has more than 300,000 companies in its database and continues to strive to remove the guesswork out of comparing and researching benefits. The site allows users to view information on vacation days, health- and dental-insurance information, and 401k and pension plans. Additionally, job seekers can view information on perks such as free lunches, massages, tuition support and on-site daycare.

The tool is relatively new, so there isn’t enough user data to stack companies against each other, quite yet. However, Glassdoor has been collecting comments about benefits and perks for years and has plenty of information on the extras that cause job seekers to become excited.