How companies perk up extras

The many ways to keep the staff content.

Pat "The Bowler" Kreioler bowls with the Wii system in the lunchroom at Merck Sharp & Dohme Ltd. Federal Credit Union in Chalfont, while her colleagues watch. She bowled a 203 and was the winner for the afternoon.

The lunchroom Wii, scholarships, weekly bring-your-dog-to-work days, four-hour Fridays, rafting trips, extra cash for gasoline, karaoke parties, picnics, pool tables, and a CEO as the ice cream man.

We asked companies about special perks for their employees, and how they foster workplace fun. Here are some of the things they do:

Fujirebio Diagnostics Inc., Malvern
[We offer an] in-house fitness center, wellness classes including yoga and Pilates, and regular employee celebrations including an annual "Wing Bowl," ice cream social, rafting trips, goal-achievement parties, anniversary celebrations, baby/wedding showers, and golf outings. When gasoline prices increased significantly, we gave all employees an extra $50 per month.

Evergreen Printing Co., Bellmawr
One of the ways Carmen [Pinto, Evergreen's owner] has turned this company around was by making the environment a fun and safe place to work. Quite often we have a random drawing for exercise equipment, big-screen TVs, or pizza for all shifts after a tough week.

Penn Jersey Paper Co., Philadelphia
We focus on team building and bringing all of our associates together whenever possible; some of the ways that we do this are through charity events in our communities, holiday parties, summer picnics, annual awards banquets and small group dinners that are held off-site each month with a different group of employees.

KlingStubbins, Philadelphia
Friday is Bring Your Dog to Work Day, and Fridays can also be a four-hour workday year-round.

Volpe & Koenig P.C., Philadelphia
Quarterly internal happy hours are held, often involving some kind of entertainment, like quizzo or karaoke. The firm has held ice cream socials in the summer, cooking competitions, and holiday cookie swaps, Philly sports team dress-down days, and also schedules larger events, which in the past have included bowling and casino nights.

Cherry Hill Volvo, Cherry Hill
We love to eat and have luxurious catered lunches several times annually. Our team is treated to pizzas, sandwich lunches, bagels and spreads, cakes, and other treats. At Halloween, we have a parade of costumed employees. Our service-management team prepares an incredible fresh-cooked breakfast twice annually.

Merck Sharp & Dohme Ltd. Federal Credit Union, Chalfont
In our lunchroom, we provide Wii, puzzle tables, television. We celebrate milestone birthdays, we have company picnics, holiday parties, we run fun contests, i.e. Halloween-decorating contests, product contests, employee-appreciation parties.

The Michaels Organization, Marlton
We have just completed a gym, with top-notch workout equipment, showers, and lockers. This also includes an indoor basketball court and lounge with pool table. The company has season tickets to all major sporting events in Philadelphia, including Eagles and Phillies tickets. They are routinely raffled off or given to employees. We have a scholarship program for the children of our employees. The program is fully funded by our CEO, Michael Levitt, and his wife, Pat.

Please Touch Museum, Philadelphia

We take play very seriously, and we have the committee to prove it. It's called iBac - the itty bitty activity committee. It holds lots of goofy contests during the year. We recently partnered with the Aquatic Fitness Center to offer a great gym program for employees.

Community Action Agency of Delaware County Inc., Media
In July, the CEO (a.k.a. the ice cream man) delivers cold, icy treats to all employees at each site.

First Financial Group, Bala Cynwyd
Quarterly group dinners with spouses, incentive trips to Cancun, Rome, etc. Trips, trips, and more trips.

Special People in Northeast Inc., Philadelphia
Health fairs, healthful-cooking classes, cardio kickboxing, Zumba, stress-buster seminars, and more!

Voice Systems Engineering Inc., Langhorne
Every six weeks, VSE sets aside a day for innovation, an opportunity for employees across many departments to take a break from their normal work responsibilities, form teams, and innovate. Several of the fun projects pursued on Innovation Day have evolved into full-scale product launches.

University of Pennsylvania and Health System, Philadelphia
The cultural and recreational amenities available to Penn employees range far and wide. Among other things, employees can view exhibits at the Penn Museum or the Institute of Contemporary Art, stroll the grounds of the Morris Arboretum, or go for a skate at the Penn Ice Rink, all free with a Penn identification card.

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