A day off to watch baseball and other ways to make you the best boss ever

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In 2015, employees of the Chinese conglomerate Tiens Group were treated to the ultimate work perk — a vacation in the south of France. The all-expenses-paid trip included a mass visit to Moulin Rouge and a private viewing of the Louvre museum for the group of 6,400 workers. While a trip like that may be out of reach for most businesses (it’s expected to have cost $15 million), you can learn a thing or two from these companies that have found ways to keep their employees smiling.

Blue Jays fever

With the Blue Jays making the playoff for the second year in a row, Canadians are cheering them on, and workplaces are taking part. Several companies across the country have hosted viewing parties for the games. 

Last season, several companies gave their employees the day off to watch the game, including Canadian Tire’s corporate offices.

A better commute during high traffic

When the Pan Am Games created a commuting disaster for Torontonians, companies were encouraged to let their employees work flex hours or telecommute. Some companies chose to close their offices for a portion of the games, giving employees an unexpected summer break.

A few businesses got creative with their offerings, including Telus, whose smart commute program allows employees to connect with their colleagues to arrange carpools. During the Pan Am Games, this allowed them to take advantage of the temporary high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, for a quicker commute.

Volunteering and alternative vacations

Many companies put social responsibility at the heart of their work, including Deloitte, whose annual Impact Day allows workers spend a day volunteering for any cause they care about. Cadillac Fairview Corp puts their money where their mouth is, donating up to $5 000 when employees volunteer for charities.

Some companies are taking this a step further by encouraging their employees to take an alternative vacation by volunteering abroad. Leave for Change allows employees to spend up to a month volunteering with capacity building projects in developing countries. It’s funded by their employers and the Canadian government and implemented by Canadian international development agencies. Over 50 companies have taken part to date including Dentons, University of Guelph and Providence Health Care.

Don’t jump on the bandwagon

What can you do to keep your employees happy? From having a pie party on Pi Day (March 14) to rewarding them for keeping their personal new year’s resolutions, there are plenty of ways you can be the best boss ever. Just be sure you practice what you preach.

Several companies who were quick to declare their support for marriage equality for example, were accused of hijacking the issue for commercial purposes and were called out on social media for their lack of support of gender equality within their own workplaces. To avoid the backlash, it’s best to think twice before jumping on the bandwagon. That said, thoughtful gestures both small and large can play a part in creating a positive work culture and retaining your brightest employees.