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Living the Life of Luxury at Work

Yes, I have lost weight. No, I haven’t been going to the gym. Why go to the gym when I can exercise, right here, at my desk?

It’s true! All it takes to lose lots is a management team sufficiently evolved to offer employees one of the most luxurious workplace perks available — a treadmill desk.

You may think your entire career is one big slog on a treadmill, but take it from me, you don’t know slogging until you’ve spend 8 hours a day at your desk, working and walking. And walking. And walking.

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If you find it difficult to visualize a treadmill desk, let your fingers walk over the keyboard until you reach “The Best Workplace Luxuries,” a Jacquelyn Smith article on Forbes.com. You can see a photo of a treadmill desk, which is probably as you imagine it — a belly-button high, desk-like contraption in which your chair is replaced by a treadmill.

Talk about getting nowhere fast.

According to columnist Smith, “while some corporations provide employees with free snacks, corporate discounts and ample vacation days, others afford more surprising amenities and perks, like nap pods, on-site bars and treadmill desks to keep their employees motivated.”

It’s easy to see how a treadmill desk would keep you motivated. The moment you stop being focused on what you do at work and start focusing on what you’ll eat for lunch, you’ll surely stumble, allowing the relentlessly spinning belt of the treadmill to knock you off and spit you out. All your replacement has to do is hop on.

Best of all, if the boss thinks you’re slacking off, all she has to do is turn up the speed. With your feet flying, your sales calls will be short and efficient, and your productivity will go through the roof. Or you will.

If the management of your company doesn’t care enough to offer you the luxury of a treadmill desk, some of the other perks mentioned by Smith do sound good.

Everyone loves snacks, but getting them provided free by the company would take some of the fun out of getting your own free snacks by raiding the lunch bags your trusting co-workers leave in the office refrigerator. And I’m not sure how a discount on the products your company produces would be a luxury perk. It’s bad enough you have to make that junk; it doesn’t seem fair that you have to buy it, too.

One luxury I can definitely get into is the MetroNap Energy Pod. Google employees luxuriate in this “chair-helmet combination” that “allows you to take a quick snooze on the job.” Sure, the $12,985 price tag is a little steep for the tightwads on Mahogany Row, but consider that “after being lulled to sleep by ‘soothing sounds,’ you are put into a perfect position for a nap.”

After all the naps you’ve taken in the coat closet and the computer room, this would definitely be a luxury upgrade, though it would be a strain on the IT budget when the company had to hire wrestlers from the WWE to extract you from your pod.

Akraya, a staffing-firm, offers its employees the luxury of twice-monthly cleaning services, performed at the employee’s home by paid, professional house cleaners. The cleaning part is OK, but the real advantage is that you can fill your home with photos of the boss, which is sure to make a good impression when the cleaners find what’s in your drawers and closets. On-site health services are one of the luxuries offered by software manufacturer, SAS, to its headquarters staff. Don’t get too excited; it would never work where you work. The SAS medical team only has one psychologist available. At your company, you’d need at least 20.

Finally, if the reviews on Yelp don’t make any sense, the reason may be one of the best of the best employee luxuries. The company has an “on-site mini bar and adult beverage machines, also known as ‘KegMates.'” A Yelp spokesperson insists, “consumption happens after regular business hours are over,” and I believe it. At your company, you could start drinking at 9 a.m., which is after regular business hours in Reykjavik, Iceland. You could drink through lunch (well past regular business hours in Azerbaijan), which should take you through to 5 p.m., when you can start drinking on your business schedule.

I suppose some might call this a luxury perk. To you, it’s a basic necessity.

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at bob@funnybusiness.com.

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