Lucky as I was to actually land myself a bona fide job here in Austria before my visa ran out, I have been extra lucky that the company I am working for has a culture that not only fits in with my working philosophy and personality but also provides a number of perks.
If you’re going to read on… be prepared for some major job-envy.
I won’t mention the company by name… I will just say that it’s an IT company located near Graz, and like many IT companies, it places a strong focus on the social well-being of its employees. And now that I know some of the passionate people that work there, I daresay it’s a successful route to take.
So here’s the reasons why my new job is so awesome.
Starting with the most important thing: my favourite fruit is… the humble apple. The company is located among the apple orchards of Styria… so for most of the year, free apples abound.
2. The windows open
I have always been stuck in corporate buildings with fancy air circulating systems where absolutely no windows can be opened. But here, not 3m from where I sit, is a GIANT window that I can open anytime to get fresh air.
We have a core working time of 9:00-3:00 Monday-Thursday and 9:00-12:00 on Fridays. So as long as you’re present during those hours, you can choose the rest yourself. As a morning person, this means I can roll in at 7am if I choose, or I can do a workout before work and turn up a bit later. And it also means half day Fridays… every week!
4. Subsidised Food
Every day I get a 4€ voucher to spend in the canteen. That will buy me a sandwich or a soup & salad deal… more than enough for my lunch! Of course, if you fork over an extra euro or two you can get yourself one of the daily menus which usually includes soup or salad and a main meal. As a bonus, the vouchers are also redeemable in a number of other establishments close by!
5. A Decent Salad Buffet
Leading on from the last point, while the food in the canteen is of perfectly good quality, it is canteen food, mass produced for the minions. So when the daily menu doesn’t sound appealing, I just stick to the salad bar. It’s fresh, includes all my old favourites and changes up enough to be interesting.
6. A Lake Nearby
An absolutely, gorgeous Austrian lake is just a brisk walk away. That means I can pop out during my lunch break for a run or a swim, get some fresh air, some sun (hopefully), some exercise, and be energised for the afternoon. Oh, and did I mention that all employees get a free season pass for the lake and all its amenities? I can’t wait till the lake unfreezes and I can don my wetsuit and be ‘that crazy Australian who swims when it’s cold’.
7. Monthly Massages
And not one of those dodgy ones where an Asian man pounds your neck for 5 minutes while you sit uncomfortably in the spare meeting room, but a full half hour, lying down on a proper massage table, having the stress and tension massaged professional out of your back and shoulders. Bliss.
8. Wet Wipes
I discovered this on my first visit there for the interview. Along with toilet paper, they also offer wet wipes… amazing! I decided then and there, in the toilet before the interview, that I wanted the job.
9. Cup Cleaning
At the end of each day I would dutifully take my mug and used glass/plate to the kitchen and load it into the dishwasher. This is standard, respectful practice in any workplace. But one day I encountered the cleaning lady, who forcibly (or maybe it was just because she was speaking German and it seemed that way) told me that I should just leave my dirty dishes on my desk and she would collect them. When I protested that some of the dishes were mine (from home) she simply said I could leave those too and she would put them back on my desk. Wow!
10. Casual Every Day
No casual Friday here… only casual every day. I saw a girl the other day wearing slippers at lunch… and not Ugg boots or anything fancy, just the slip on kind you get free from hotels. Awesome.
11. Free Plants
Apparently I’m also entitled to a free plant, up to the value of 20€, every year. I’m not a huge office plant person (why have it if it doesn’t grow something you can eat) but maybe I’ll warm up to the idea.
12. Health & Fitness
I currently attend weekly ‘core & spine’ fitness classes and have also taken advantage of the personal training option in our basement fitness room. And there are numerous other activities coming up, from running groups to squash and tennis… all free of course… just naturally in your own time. And if you need to visit the doctor, no worries, he’s there twice a week.
13. An undercover parking spot
This is especially beneficial in the winter when snowfall and low temperatures can mean a lot of work scraping and clearing your car of ice before you leave at night.
14. People who want to carpool
Living 70km away and having to drive over the ‘Deathpass’ in the winter, I was relieved to find that there were two other people in the same predicament, who were more than willing to share the drive with me, encourage my German speaking and take the wheel if I was frightened to drive on a snowy day.
15. Champagne morning teas
Occasionally someone will break out the champagne in lieu of a birthday, graduation, or other celebration… it’s usually provided with some kind of tasty snack, and all before 10am.
16. And finally…the people
Well, they’re all Austrians and it’s an IT company, so naturally they’re all laid-back and friendly. I guess I haven’t been here long enough to be involved in any in-house politics etc, but everyone, from my colleagues to top management, is super friendly and approachable. And very welcoming to my foreign tongue and badly spoken German!