Beyond Silicon Valley: 7 Side Benefits Your Job Could Offer Soon

Jobs usually come with an array of benefits. Depending on the size and generosity of the company, those benefits can be huge. Corporations know the value of getting and retaining good employees, and attractive benefits are one way to do that.

But what will those benefits look like in the near future? Here are some possibilities that may be coming your way sooner than you think.

1. Long-term paid maternity and paternity leave

Sadly, the United States is at the bottom of the class when it comes to maternity and paternity leave. The U.S. has no mandated paid time off for new parents, but that could soon change. Some companies, like Amazon, Google, Starbucks, and Etsy are leading the charge by giving their employees a generous amount of paid time off when welcoming a new baby to the family. Many companies are also expanding these benefits to employees who adopt or use a surrogate. With such big name brands setting the example, we may be seeing these benefits become much more common in the near future.

2. A self-driving company car

Make no mistake, self-driving cars are going to be a mainstay of everyday life. So why wouldn’t employers embrace them as benefits? Think about the upsides: For starters, self-driving cars are considered safer and more reliable. They also give you time to work or read to and from the office, which means greater productivity for the company paying your salary. Your insurance rates will go down, which adds an additional benefit that the company doesn’t have to pay for. You’ll never get a speeding ticket, and your chances of being in a collision go down dramatically. If your future employer wants to attract the best and brightest talent, offering a self-driving company car is a no brainer.

3. Identity theft protection

Identity theft is here, and now. It affects millions of people every year, and costs the economy billions of dollars. It’s no surprise that employers around the world are already starting to offer identity theft protection as an employee benefit. When someone is a victim of ID theft, it can turn their life upside-down. There is additional stress and pressure on the employee, and that spells bad business for companies. If your employer can cover you for a small cost, it’s in their best interest to do so. It’s estimated that around 70 percent of employers will offer this benefit by 2018. By 2020, it could be standard, just like health insurance and sick time.

4. Student loan assistance

The average college graduate leaves university carrying over $37,000 in debt. That’s a heavy burden for someone just entering the workforce, and it’s one that future employers might be willing to take on for the right candidate. Several companies are already helping their employees pay down their student loans, including Nvidia ($6,000 annually), PricewaterhouseCoopers ($1,200 annually), and Fidelity Investments ($2,000 annually). As the acquisition of the best and brightest minds heats up, we might see large corporations start to cover the entirety of the student loan burden for qualified employees.

5. Free health care for healthy employees

Few employers would offer completely free health care to every member of staff. But, if the employee could prove they were in the peak of health, free health care would be a generous reward. How could this happen? Well, some companies are already instigating large health care discounts in return for employees taking physicals, getting skin cancer screenings, and reporting weekly exercise routines. A healthy, fit employee is far better for the employer than one who is unhealthy and takes more sick days.

6. A home office

As each year passes, more companies are giving employees the option to telecommute. It makes good financial sense, and also saves time and effort. A long commute wastes gas, leaves the employee feeling frazzled and rushed, and eats up time that could be spent doing other things. So, it will behoove companies of the future to furnish their employees with everything they need to work from home. From a computer and smartphone, to a videoconferencing system and mail station, employees of the future may increasingly be offered an office away from the office — all at the expense of the company.

7. Catered meals

Good nutrition is the foundation of good health. Companies of tomorrow could encourage this practice by offering free catered meals to every employee. This will, of course, mean that your employer will have a say in what you eat, but having two of your three meals provided free of charge, Monday to Friday, is not only saving the employee money, but the time taken to go out and get meals or prepare them at home. Some companies, like Twitter, already do catered meals for their employees. Expect this trend to catch on as employers look for out-of-the-box ways to entice top talent and encourage healthy living.