Name the errand and the Facebook campus likely has it covered -- whether you need to see a doctor, apply for a home loan, or get a quick trim. CNET's Sumi Das visits the social network's HQ and speaks to the woman behind the lavish perks.
Sumi DasProducer / Reporter
Sumi Das has been covering technology since the original dot-com boom. She was hired by cable network TechTV in 1998 to produce and host a half-hour program devoted to new and future technologies. Prior to CNET, Sumi served as a Washington DC-based correspondent, covering breaking news for CNN. She reported live from New Orleans and contributed to CNN's coverage of Hurricane Katrina, which earned the network a Peabody Award. She also files in-depth tech stories for BBC News which are seen by a primarily international audience.
The last time I visited the buildings located at 1 Hacker Way in Menlo Park, Calif., Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg were nowhere to be found. It was 2007, and I was reporting on Sun Microsystems.
Today, traces of the former tenant are still visible. But aside from the occasional Sun sign or logo, much of the campus' look and feel has been completely reimagined. Gone are the warrens of cubicles. Instead, Facebook has opted for clusters of desks to foster collaboration. The adequate, but rather ordinary, Sun Micro cafeteria has been replaced with Philz Coffee, the Burger Shack, and Fuki Sushi. And that's just the start.
Watch the video for the complete tour -- but in the interest of full disclosure, know that it could lead to job dissatisfaction.
Watch this: Barber, candy shop, bank among deluxe perks at Facebook
Fabulous perks aren't unique to Facebook. They've become a Silicon Valley standard among the tech heavyweights. Nina McQueen, Facebook's global head of benefits, tells us she's well aware of what the other guys offer. "We do a lot of benchmarking," she said. "I'm friends with all the benefits people in the valley. We all know each other."
But for McQueen, it's not a case of keeping up with the competition. Her team views benefits as a moving target. "What's important to people changes over time," she said. "I've had the pleasure of seeing people get married, buy their first home, and start their families...A recent college grad may not be interested in parental benefits, but if you're having your first baby, four months of paid parental leave is pretty awesome. So we try to build benefits programs that take people where they are in life."
New parents also receive "baby cash" -- $4,000 to help put a dent in diaper costs and nanny care.
It'd be hard to put a dollar figure on McQueen's favorite perk, though: the so-called Facebook Foxes, a family of California gray foxes that calls the campus home. A close encounter with nature can work wonders.
I had to ask McQueen about the downside, though. What's the drawback of spoiling your employees with everything from on-site doctors to a fully stocked candy shop? Some Silicon Valley veterans contend that when all your needs are met by your employer, your perspective of the world can be somewhat insular.
McQueen's response? "I don't think that's possible at Facebook -- we're connected all around the world, and we're seeing what's going on everywhere. So I don't think being at work here puts us out of touch at all."