Benefits that go beyond a weekly paycheck

Companies’ perks for staffers range from massages and tai chi classes to gift wrapping and trips.

Charon Planning is a small company that provides some unusual perks to workers, including T'ai Chi classes and on-site massages. Christina Carter, center, and other employees take part in a T'ai Chi class. (Charles Fox / Staff Photographer)

Does your workplace offer tai chi, gift wrapping, exotic trips, or Fridays off in the summer? We asked companies what special perks they offer workers. Here's some of what they said:

Charon Planning Corp., Warrington

 Our Wellness Campaign Committee arranges on-site chair massages, tai chi classes, and educational seminars. Our quarterly wellness campaigns are lots of fun, too. We've had raffles for heart monitors, gift certificates to restaurants and stores, a Wii Fit system, iPods, a Trek bike, movie tickets, Flyers tickets, a spa package, and a Nook electronic reader.

Analytical Graphics Inc., Exton

 AGI offers free holiday gift wrapping. You can't believe the stress-reliever that perk is.

First Financial Group, Bala Cynwyd

We offer trips to exotic destinations based on performance level (previous trips have been Rome, Cancun, St. Thomas), box seats to Phillies games, gift certificates to local spas, corporate matches for individual charitable giving.

SCA Americas Inc., Philadelphia

We offer a summer-hours program that allows employees to increase their work hours in the middle of the week and either start their weekend a half-day early on Friday or extend it into Monday. Besides our competitive health benefits, SCA also promotes healthy lifestyles for our employees by offering on-site health assessments and free gym memberships. We even supply fresh fruit in our offices throughout the week.

KenCrest Services, Philadelphia

Any staff person can submit a "Shine Story" about any staff person. Actions described range from extraordinary thoughtfulness with someone we serve to out-of-their-way kindness with a fellow staffer to laudable initiative in the community. Kept secret until payday, the Shine Stories generally come as a surprise to the person being honored. They know nothing about being observed doing their random positive acts.

Martin Banks, Philadelphia

We have two massage therapists who come in every Friday for free chair massages. The entire staff goes on an annual weekend retreat in the spring for team-building exercises. Retreats have been in locations such as Puerto Rico, Florida, and Washington, D.C. About once per quarter we have a wine-and-cheese social gathering after work in our office.

Maris Grove, an Erickson Living Community, Glen Mills

We celebrate our employees through an Employee Appreciation Week. Each day consists of a theme surrounding our values and culture. We offer massages for employees, fortune-telling, gourmet breakfasts, Philly-theme days.

Almac Group, Souderton

We have a beautiful facility with windows all around with breakout and lounge areas to take a break or have a private chat. Colorful and comfortable furniture is welcoming, and there is always a coffee-table book or magazines to look at. To help us stay in shape and healthy, we have an on-site wellness coach, Robyn, who is caring and personable.

Omni Hotel at Independence Park, Philadelphia

Based on our guest satisfaction survey, every associate in the hotel is eligible for a monetary reward, paid out monthly, that is based on their department's meeting or exceeding the goal score set by the general manager. We also hold an annual all-employee outing in September. Last year, we rented a private bus, provided lunch for everyone, and went to Atlantic City for the day.

Campbell Soup Co., Camden

The Campbell Employee Center is part of a $93 million expansion and redevelopment project. A Campbell Store sells discounted products and a credit union office operates. A reception and exhibition hall, health and fitness center, training and development center, Campbell Cafe, conference rooms, and office space complete the addition.

FMC Corp., Philadelphia

We've seen many take advantage of our educational-assistance program. We have one employee who was an assistant in our mail room recently complete his bachelor's degree who has moved to a new position in the company. Others have completed advanced degrees that enabled them to move up and into new jobs at FMC.

CB Richard Ellis Group Inc.

CBRE employees are afforded many nontraditional benefits, such as time off for charitable endeavors, support for intramural athletic teams, additional time off during the winter holidays, and shortened summer hours.

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