HQ perks that could improve Amazon’s talent pool and boost its bottom line
Amazon wants to deliver something new to America: It’s second headquarters.
On Thursday, the online retailer announced that it is looking for a city in North America to build its second headquarters, called Amazon HQ2. “Amazon expects to invest over $5 billion in construction and grow this second headquarters to include as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs,” the company writes on its website.
In choosing the location, the company says it will look for a city with more than one million people, a business-friendly environment, and an urban or suburban location “with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent.” It also says HQ2 could be, but does not have to be, an urban or downtown campus and a similar layout to the Seattle headquarters.
“We expect HQ2 to be a full equal to our Seattle headquarters,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. The Seattle headquarters is 8.1 million square feet and includes 33 buildings.
While Amazon hasn’t revealed the ins and outs of its new headquarters, some of the innovative things that other companies are doing may be worth emulating — especially when they’re backed by research. Here are some ideas — all of which could positively impact Amazon’s bottom line — for what Amazon might want to consider putting in its new headquarters.
Create a massive, natural oasis
Amazon should take a page from its own book on this one. On its Seattle campus, the company is developing three huge domes — Amazon calls them Spheres — teeming with plants and a dedicated horticulturalist to tend to them. Amazon plans for 40,000 plants, both rare and non-rare, to fill these spheres.
Why is a natural oasis important to Amazon’s bottom line? The new headquarters will be in an urban area, and if Amazon wants to speak creativity and help reduce anxiety and stress — both of which can be costly to companies in terms of lowered productivity and sick days — letting employees escape to nature is key, research shows. So Amazon should dedicate part of its new HQ space to be a huge, natural park or area where workers can get lost in nature for a few minutes a day.
Build a state-of-the-art, affordable daycare center
Daycare is majorly expensive — it now costs an average of nearly $12,000 per year — and vitally important to working parents: Harvard Business Review data shows that 38% of employees consider on-site daycare at least somewhat important when deciding on where to work. Amazon can stand out from almost every company with a state-of-the-art, on-site, affordable daycare center with everything from a great yard for the kids to play in to healthy snacks. What’s more, having their kids right on site may even allow parents to work longer hours since they don’t have to commute from work to a daycare center and then home. Google and Cisco both offer on-site childcare.
Go beyond the tricked out gym with free fitness classes
To get and keep talent, you have to pay well — and Amazon promises to create thousands of high-paying jobs within this new HQ — but you also have to think about fitness. Indeed, data from the Harvard Business Review finds that one in three employees say that free yoga and fitness class are a consideration for them when they choose a company to work for and roughly one in four say a free, on-site gym is.
So to really stand out in this department, Amazon should not only have a sick gym with free classes, but also take notes on corporate wellness from Zappos, which has organized sports lessons, laser tag games, trampoline jumping and basketball games for their employees. Amazon should consider building all kinds of fitness facilities — tennis and basketball courts, a pool, a climbing wall, a CrossFit Gym anyone? — to accommodate all kinds of physical activity throughout its campus. This will not only help Amazon get the best talent in the area, it will also keep them healthy and happy, as research shows that the benefits of exercise include improved health, happiness, memory and more.
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