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top places to work: PERKS

Little extras add up to a lot


Accuform Signs

Can't find time to check your blood pressure? Just go to work at Accuform Signs in Brooksville.

Employees enjoy on-site health fairs that include blood pressure checks, healthy-eating seminars and flu shots.

The company wants workers to eat healthy food and subsidizes a cafeteria that offers breakfast and lunch.

If the healthy meals aren't enough, workers can pump iron in the company gym or pedal and run a few miles on the treadmill and stationary bikes.

"The more we can help them become stress free, it makes for a more productive worker," said Kate Billings, director of human resources. "The health of the employee is the heart of the company."


Bouchard Insurance

Clearwater's Bouchard Insurance supports 68 charities and associations and encourages employees to volunteer in community projects. Full-time employees are eligible for up to one paid day off for community service activities.

Workers can spend an entire day volunteering or break the time up in hourly increments.

Most workers choose to donate their time during the holidays. Some volunteer to ring bells for the Salvation Army.

The company wants its workers to support the charities, said Dee Moore, executive vice president of human resources. Workers select the charity of their choice, not just those sponsored by the company.

"It's a way of giving back to the community," Moore said.


Grand Hyatt

Who says you can't relax where you work?

Employees at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay are given 12 free stays a year at any company property. Those 12 nights can easily be worth more than $1,000 annually.

While workers can't use the passes to score penthouse suites, the rooms are standard with double and king-sized beds.

Employees are urged to book early online, as no restrictions apply to the dates.

"It saves a lot of money while traveling," said Laura Stilley, human resources coordinator. "It is the favorite benefit."

And those hungry employees can also eat a discounted meal for $1.50 while working.

"It's a big variety of food," Stilley said.


Ocean Optics

If you work for a company that makes products used in the ocean, you might as well splash in the water on your downtime. And Dunedin-based Ocean Optics helps employees do that by providing full-time workers with a free membership to a boat club.

Ocean Optics picks up the enrollment charge and monthly fees. Workers are charged only for the gas and oil.

The perk has been available for more than five years. Many people want a boat but don't want the monthly payment or maintenance and docking fees, said Ellie Hunter, benefits administrator.

The company wants its workers to enjoy the gulf waters.

"We are in a wonderful place," Hunter said. "It always becomes a selling point as an extra benefit. Employees just love it."



Beyond providing an RV for employees to use at Disney — for free — and major discounts on RV purchases, Lazydays RV Center's "Spirit Committee" organizes potluck meals at work and off-site events like baseball and bowling for the 514 employees.

The 30-member committee started when the economy tanked and layoffs occurred. The group recently held a free breakfast for all workers.

"It definitely improves morale," said Deborah Dube, human resources director. "It gets more people engaged and is growing substantially."

Although the poor economy has whittled away commissions at the center, the free RV is still the most popular perk. The fifth-wheel camper is docked in a prime spot at Disney and booked 52 weeks a year.

Little extras add up to a lot 04/16/11 [Last modified: Sunday, April 17, 2011 2:07am]
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