The Workish Guide to summer perks

In today’s job-hopping gig economy, companies are devising new perks to attract and retain top talent. Sure, flex hours are handy, but paid “pawternity” leave helps businesses keep pace with Silicon Valley, and ultimately brings more good to the world.

Even though fringe benefits may seem like a distraction, they’re good for the bottom line. They increase productivity, lead to happiness, and help prevent the long-term effects of overwork: the Harvard Business Review estimates that burnout costs corporations $200 billion each year.

But budgets are tight, especially during summer, aka The Glacial BizDev Age Between May and September When Clients are at the Cottage.

With that in mind, here’s a Workish guide to evolving corporate perks, while keeping employees engaged and saving money… along with advantages and watch-outs to help set your firm apart from the AltaVista’s of the world. AltaVista’s still a thing, right? I think so.

Corey Has a Band!

Next time you’re programming the summer event calendar, remind your staff that your CFO Corey has a band… and everyone in the office is encouraged to attend because the band is really hitting its stride.

Even though late-night work commitments can seem jarring, Corey’s experimental-9-piece-jazz-fusion side hustle The RFP’s are a surefire hit. Check them out at Humidity Fest next Monday at 10. The show is 2-3 hours, and tickets are 35 bucks, but if you talk to Dave at the front gate, he’ll find Corey and walk you in. Pro-tip: to fast-track expense approvals, post at least one shout-out on Instagram.

No Don Thursdays

Flex Fridays might be all the rage, but elastic scheduling can serve as a smokescreen for the key goal of evading Don—the middle manager everyone’s trying to avoid. Previously branded Passive-Aggressive-Free-Thursdays, No Don Thursdays is a seasonal offering allowing you to focus on projects without interruption, share ideas without push-back, and confidently decline cryptic calendar invites labeled “Let’s catch-up.”

The Break Room Brewery

Even though whiskey tastings and on-demand champagne are giving budget-conscious companies a headache, they’re missing a critical level of personal customization… especially during rooftop patio weather. Skip the top shelf and launch your own in-house brands by wrapping store-bought bottles with tailor-made labels. Workish recommends a Procurement IPA (a tad on the bitter side), the Let’s Regroup on that Media Spend Lager, and pairing cheese plates with a nice glass of What’s the Printer Code Again? Chardonnay (2002).

Hide Your Job Search MasterClasses

It’s no secret that workers may be looking for their next job during slower summer months. And with employee ghosting on the rise, you’ll want to avoid that late-night text reading “Busy at liiiiiiife bro, let’s rain-check the gig!”

Step-up your openness and transparency when staff are “considering their options” by programming lunch and learn presentations offering insider best practices for navigating the process. Workshops include Everything’s a Funeral: Wearing Interview Attire to your Current Job; Text Notification Settings 101; Delete that Cache!; and How to Update Your Resume Without Gale Finding Out.

For fun outdoor activities, consider Skillset Field Days, where you’ll run through an obstacle course for a Cloud Computing endorsement on LinkedIn.

And if you work remotely, you can host a retreat—and get help with laundry—with an Everyone Meets at Your Condo off-site. Just be careful: if it’s not on a Thursday, double-check the invite list.

Sandy Marshall (@MarshallSandy) is the creator of Workish (@Workishwork).