If she gets a sick day, so should you.

In the startup age, the best perks have little to do with traditional employee benefits like health insurance and 401(k) contributions. Today’s small business employers are making sure that their employees feel appreciated and enjoy a flexible work/life balance with perks like these:

Pet Sick Days

The best employee benefits are those that benefit the employee and the people – and pets – they care about most. If you or your child is sick, you can take the day off. Well, what about your pooch?

If Fido needs surgery or has a case of the flu, you should be able to take care of him, with pay. The same goes for losing a pet, which can be emotionally and mentally taxing. Savvy startups realize that for many people, pets are like family members.

Flexible Schedule

This may be one of the biggest and best employee benefits of all: a completely flexible schedule. As long as the work is getting done, does it really matter if it’s getting done between 8a.m. and 5p.m.?

More and more SMBs are operating under the policy that as long as deadlines are met and obligations are kept, employee can make their own hours and take off when they need to. This empowers employees to manage themselves and their personal lives, prevents burnout and contributes to a more supportive work environment.


Gone are the days of coffee and doughnuts in the break room. In 2013, more and more startups are offering catered lunches and dinners at the office as one of the best employee benefits.

Amazing food goes a long way in making employees feel appreciated. It can also contribute to a company culture that values health, especially if the food offered includes fresh veggies, fruits and proteins.

Employees are much more likely to be productive if they’re satiated and not constantly running to the nearest fast food chain for a sugar fix.

No Dress Code

Removing embarrassing dress code policies doesn’t mean everyone is going to show up to the office in sweat pants. It does mean that employees are treated like adults, and are trusted to dress themselves. After all, there’s something about having to follow a dress code that makes going to work feel like getting ready for the first day of 4th grade in parochial school.

Beyond business casual, many startups are implementing “creative casual” dress codes, meaning that employees should be presentable but comfortable enough to let their creative juices flow. If orange Chuck Taylors inspire you, by all means, wear them to the office!

We have some great employee perks at Shoeboxed.  What’s the best employee benefit at your company?

photo credit: commons.wikimedia.org