A Perk Too Far

Motley takes a quick look at the latest perk being offered to employees of the world’s biggest multinational corporations

With new age technologies comes new age businesses, renowned worldwide for their quirky interiors, young and eccentric work forces and of course, the ‘perks.’ But in recent weeks, these perks have reached the level where they are beginning to be questioned by the general public. This doubt has spurred from global tech leaders Apple and Facebook’s recent announcement that they are willing to pay for the female members of their workforce to freeze their eggs, allowing them to pursue their career and postpone family life until their careers are at their peak.

When first hearing this, I was conflicted in opinion. Yes, this option may be one that females would be willing to take, however is this necessary? Say a woman working in one of these companies does decide to freeze her eggs and postpone motherhood for a few years, what if those eggs do not come to fertility? Will her career progression have been worth sacrificing a family for, and moreover, who would be to blame in this scenario? And the biggest question of all: are the tech firms pushing the ‘perk boundaries’ too far?

Upon further research, I discovered that Facebook and Apple both offer equal time for paternal and maternal leave, a step in the right direction for feminism everywhere. However, is asking a female to postpone motherhood really the right thing to do? And, probing further into this perk business, are any of these benefits genuine or do they all carry an ulterior motive? Many multinational companies pride themselves in the free breakfast, free dinners, free gym memberships located on site… All seen to be in the best interests of the workers. But, when probed, it seems that these perks aren’t as honest as they may seem.

Take the free breakfasts, for example. One would never snub a free meal, especially the most important meal of the day, but when your working day begins at ten with free breakfast served at seven thirty am, this lures people into work earlier than necessary. When searching for free dinner, one must stay till seven pm, although work finishes at six. This is already adding up to three extra hours at work that would not necessarily be spent beforehand. And with a gym on site, why would you ever feel the need to come home?

But oh, multinationals work on the concept that ‘open hours’ are the best way to work, come in when you want. This, however, can loosely be translated to ‘you can be on call whenever we like.’ Of course, over thinking anything to this extent will always shine it in a negative light, but there is a certain point where we have to consider where the line between work and ‘real life’ is, and these perks tend to blur it enormously. While some may see it as creating a relaxed work environment that eludes to productivity and creativity, others may see it as creating a reality where work is always on the brain, with no escape.

All this said, anything that gives families extra choices on building a happy and healthy life together cannot be frowned upon. In the end, working in a positive environment that allows growth, both in a career sense of the word and in a creative and personal sense of the word, is something that new multinationals pride themselves in. Just keep in mind that with every positive comes a negative and when something sounds too good to be true, the majority of the, time it is. There’s no such thing as a free breakfast.