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Quora Column

The best-ever employee perks and benefits

Workplace perks (Photos.com)

Workplace perks (Photos.com)

Sometimes, it’s the little things that count.

Whether it’s an employer that lets you bring your pampered pooch to the office, provides afternoon ‘nap pods’ or drives you to work every day, the hidden perks of a job can prove crucial for keeping staff happy.

For a growing number of workers, job satisfaction is about more than just their monthly pay packet. It’s the little extras they enjoy week-to-week that encourage them to stay with a firm. And these hidden bonuses have become the new hot topic to brag about on social media or with friends over the weekend.

You don’t have to work for an internet start-up to get in on the act. In a tough economic climate where wages have been slow to increase, more businesses are thinking out of the box when it comes to keeping their workforce sweet.

For some lucky employees, amazing fringe benefits are already par for the course so what was the best employee perk or benefit you ever had access to? BBC Capital was curious and a little jealous so went to question-and-answer site Quora.com to see what people had to say

‘Police academy’

Evasive driving lessons, plus access to police lights and sirens “for rare, rare use” were some of the perks enjoyed by David S. Rose, in his first job after college. As the personal assistant or ‘body man’ to  US senator, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Rose also had access to “airport security passes (pre-9/11) that let me bypass security lanes and even get on to the tarmac at [airports] JFK and LGA, the ability to request a helicopter if really, really necessary...and quite a few other things”, he wrote. Now an entrepreneur and angel investor, Rose wrote that leaving his government job to enroll at business school was “a real let down”.

Working for Major League Baseball gave Stephanie Vardavas, now a small business owner, regular front row seats to New York Mets and Yankees home games as well as “easy access to — not free but excellent — seats at Madison Square Garden and the various Broadway theatres.” She wrote: “I could also get excellent seats to any Major League Baseball game anywhere in the US or Canada.” Although she always offered to pay for the tickets she was routinely compensated by her employer.

Sometimes workplace perks can make a significant difference to employees’ wallets. For software engineer, Mark Yang, the best benefits are those more closely-tied to money matters. “Income tax equalisation for employees who move from a lower-tax country to a higher tax one.”

Free food in the office is seen as both a blessing and a curse by many employees. For Jason S.Mow, a computer science student, hot breakfast lured him in to work at Google, where he interned, promptly every morning. “Free food and breakfast in particular is an awesome and underrated perk. I often skip breakfast, but being able to go in to work at Google and have eggs and pancakes prepared and ready every day is amazing.”

Other simple little extras that improve workers health and well-being are greatly appreciated. Shruti Garg,a marketing and advertising, wrote that her favourite perk was “awesome medical insurance which not only covers the general medicines but also homeopathic and ayurvedic treatments.”

What workplace perk would make your day? Or do you already show off to friends about the great hidden extras of your job? Share your thoughts and experiences on BBC Capital's Facebook page or message us on Twitter @BBC_Capital

Quora respondents are required to use their true names under the site’s Real Names policy. To help ensure legitimacy and quality, Quora asks some individuals, such as doctors and lawyers, to confirm their expertise.