Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Software Company Benefits

Today in class we talked about the different benefits that game companies / software companies in general offer their employees to encourage / reward them for working long hours. Last summer, I was an intern for Microsoft and experienced some of the benefits first hand. The program was structured to give interns almost all of the benefits of full time employees in addition to many perks specifically for the interns (to encourage us to want to come back full time). A small subset of the benefits included, gym memberships, free beverage coolers accessible any time (tea, coffee, pop, flavored water, chocolate milk, juice, etc.), and team-moral events (golfing, dinners, concerts, sporting events, etc.).


  1. Not a software company, but I toured the Pixar campus right before "Toy Story 3" came out, and it was just as insane as everyone says. They had all their Oscars and a bunch of life-size versions of their characters in the lobby. Also in the lobby: a two-story life-sized dollhouse replete with a paid actor who was painted green like an army man and saluted everyone all day. Mind you, the Pixar campus is not open to the public, so they basically just had a paid actor around to entertain employees. They had a huge display of in-box vintage Barbie dolls that the designers culled for inspiration. Also, fun fact: their huge rendering room had shot glasses all over the place. Rendering *is* a pain in the ass though, and it takes forever. I understand. Just don't tell the kids.

  2. I think the thing that gets me about how these various software, start-up, new media companies try to spin their corporate image--like they want to show that they are cool and not like an "old-fashioned" corporation so part of how they recruit and keep employees is to try and be as anti-corporate as possible, while also being a big company. It's a little crazy, no?

  3. Yeah, and in general they try and out-do other companies too - in order to "prove" to programmers why they should work at one vs. the other.

    They claim some of their benefits are to create a work-life balance. For example, at Microsoft they have their own intramural sports leagues. They have soccer fields, baseball diamonds, etc. right in the middle of campus and games occur in the evenings during the week. The ironic part is sometimes the games are later in the evening and people will stay at work longer (to avoid going home and coming back). So even though they are encouraging a work-life balance, they end up getting you to work longer hours in the process.