Hello, Quartz at Work readers!

For the last few years, plenty of employees have had the upper hand in job negotiations. The US job market was hot, and companies that wanted to land the best candidates responded by raising the ceiling on starting salaries, beefing up bonuses, and outfitting bigger benefits packages.

That’s also when the job perks started getting strange.

Employers often see novel benefits as a recruitment tool—or at least an attention-grabber to stand out among job postings. Companies also consider them a way to show that they’re invested in their employees.

The new offerings, though, go well beyond retirement savings or health insurance. Some are inventive: take the hospitality company that starts every new hire with a two-week vacation, or the organizations aiming to support new parents with a return-to-work baby bonus. Other perks are a little more unusual. A few for your consideration:

🐾 Pawternity leave. At litter box manufacturer Whisker, employees who adopt a new pet get a day off to welcome their furry friend home.

🧘‍♀️ Ketamine therapy. At soap maker Dr. Bronner’s, workers gain access to psychedelic-assisted therapy sessions through their healthcare program.

🏄‍♀️ Surf classes. At fintech company nCino, staff can sign up for lessons in hanging loose with surfing and paddleboarding classes reimbursed by the company.

✍️ Tattoo sessions. At Texas-based pizza chain Zalat Pizza, workers can get inked free of charge—if it’s a Zalat tattoo.

Even as the labor market slows, employers are using offbeat benefits to signal their priorities—and their quirks. Quartz contributor Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza reports more on why job perks are getting extremely niche.


This week, the Nobel prize committee gave its economics award to a historic winner: Claudia Goldin, a Harvard economist who’s dedicated her career to the gender gap in the workplace.

In the work that earned her a Nobel nod, Goldin mapped 200 years’ worth of US labor market data to discover a surprising finding: women’s participation in the workforce isn’t linear, but U-shaped. Her research marked the “first comprehensive account of women’s earnings and labor market participation through the centuries,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences wrote.

Image for article titled The strangest work perks employment can buy

Illustration: Vicky Leta

Goldin is only the third woman in history to win the economic prize, and the first to do it without a male collaborator. With her victory, Quartz’s Ananya Bhattacharya argues, the Nobel prize has finally recognized the economic power of women’s work.


Image for article titled The strangest work perks employment can buy

Illustration: Vicky Leta

As workplaces continue to experiment when and where their teams best work together, plenty are finding that remote work—at least for part of the week—is here to stay. And there’s plenty to learn from the companies who get remote culture right.

Quartz just published our third annual ranking of the best companies for remote workers, which celebrates the businesses creating team cultures that don’t depend on a physical office. Inside the list, you’ll find each company’s best practices, with plenty of takeaways whether you’re in the market for a new employer or in search of new ideas to bring to your current workplace.


Being a good manager and a good remote manager takes two different sets of skills. For Quartz at Work, Job van der Voort, CEO of the HR platform Remote, outlines the key routines managers should adopt to support their remote-working reports.

🎨 Master the art of going async. Standardizing asynchronous communication relieves your team of relying on real-time updates, which can shut out teammates in different locations or time zones.

📢 Communicate in public, not private. It may feel unnecessary (or uncomfortable!) to log small updates in open channels, but defaulting to public communication keeps everyone on equal footing, no matter where they’re working from.

📝 Document, document, document. There’s a lot of time (and frustration) to be saved when people can hit up a search bar for what they need, rather than waiting on a colleague for answers—especially when they’re in different places.


This will get you a lot further than an elevator pitch. In one telling, the elevator pitch has uncanny origins: it dates back nearly two centuries, when mechanic Elisha Otis invented the first safety brake for elevators. After his innovation didn’t pick up much interest, Otis organized a demonstration of the brakes—by stepping into an elevator and ordering an assistant to cut its ropes.

Today, Quartz contributor Harrison Monarth writes, the elevator pitch is pervasive, but whether you’re interviewing or networking, you should rethink selling yourself life a safety brake. Instead, talk about your values. You can find how in a five-step process.


💰 Coaching is big business now—but should we buy in? 

🏅 What Nobel winner Claudia Goldin showed about women’s labor 

💬 10 questions to help tell if your team trusts you 

⚙️ Luddites saw the problem of AI coming from two centuries away 

🔭 Andreessen Horowitz’s tested advice for conducting executive searches 


Send questions, comments, and asynchronous documentation to [email protected]. This edition of The Memo was written by Gabriela Riccardi.


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