Extreme Perks

Need ideas on how to keep your employees happy? Check out these employee benefits.

Around the Track

Company: Ford Motor Co.
Location: Dearborn, Michigan
Perk: Interns rarely get great perks, but in Ford's PR department they get to take a spin around the company's figure-eight test track. The interns are not allowed to exceed 60 MPH, but they might get to rev up the newest Mustang before it hits the market. This perk is about more than just fun, explains Edward Miller, 46, manager of corporate news: "We need everyone here to know our products -- and our competitors' products."

Hot Wax

Company: BMC Software Inc.
Location: Houston, Texas
Perk: Your company will move faster if your employees' cars run smoother. That's why BMC software provides on-site car washes and oil changes. Employees can park their cars in the company's parking lot in the morning, and for a fee, BMC will make sure the car has been washed and its oil changed by the end of the day. As an added convenience, BMC also provides a hair-and-nail salon, as well as a dry cleaner.

Gray Panthers

Company: Fannie Mae
Location: Washington, DC
Perk: Elder-care consulting. Fannie Mae employees with aging parents can seek guidance on such issues as finding the right caregiver and navigating the maze of Medicare. The company has also created an elder-care tool kit that gives employees workbook exercises to help prepare them to address their aging parents' needs. Since Fannie Mae hired the consultant over a year ago, nearly 300 employees have sought her advice.

Meet at Recess

Company: Bank of America
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Perk: On-site elementary school. Employees can enroll their kids in an accredited public elementary school that is located five minutes away from the company's office park. About 200 children attend the school, which covers kindergarten through third grade. "The parents have a wonderful situation," says Carol Ballentine, vice principal. "They work where their kids go to school. And they can bring their kids in as early as 6:30 AM."

Study Break

Company: United Parcel Service Airlines
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Perk: In order to attract part-time, night-shift workers to its hub in Louisville, Kentucky, UPS foots the bill for four years of tuition and housing at the University of Louisville. Of the 5,000 night-time employess, about 2,000 take part in the program. "We knew that if we offered students a benefit that they couldn't resist, we'd go a long way toward reducing turnover," says workforce-development manager John Kinney, 42.

Love Me Splender

Company: Inlumen Inc. (a business-information provider)
Location: New York
Perk: "I Love You -- I Love Me" program. Each month, Inlumen gives its employees $50 to spend on someone they love -- including themselves. But the money must contribute to a cultural, intellectual, or health-related interest. John Fitterer, 24, a manager of product strategy, uses his "I Love You" money to take his mother out to dinner. "I did break tradition one month," admits Fitterer. "I was in Israel, and I spent the money on a tour of Bethlehem."

You Are Here

Company: Sun Microsystems
Location: Palo Alto
Perk: Drop-in centers. Instead of wasting time in traffic, Sun employees can work from one of five drop-in centers that are scattered throughout the Bay Area. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, each center accommodates about 50 workers. It's nearly impossible to find an empty desk on Fridays. "I use the centers about once a week," says Diane Carlini, 35, a PR manager. "It cuts down on my commute."

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