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Inside Buffer

Why Buffer Perks Are Different Than Typical Startup Perks

open bookBeing a distributed team as Buffer is has a few special challenges, many of which we’ve talked about here on the blog. :)

Working out our office perks isn’t one we’ve mentioned yet—but come to think of it, it is a little tricky. Typical startup perks are pretty much off the table. Long-distance Ping Pong is kinda tough. And Buffer doesn’t share a kitchen where we can stock yummy snacks or tasty communal beverages.

With team members all over the globe—and a special set of values that guide pretty much everything we do—we do things a bit different than most other startups when it comes to perks. Ours are designed to both connect us and help us improve ourselves each day.

From your first day at Buffer, you get a free Jawbone UP, which tracks your sleep and your exercise and steps, and a Kindle Paperwhite with all the free Kindle books you’d like (fiction, non-fiction, no questions asked).

In this video, Joel and Leo explain how Buffer’s perks came about and how we use them.

Needless to say, we talk about reading, sleeping and exercising a lot (you may have noticed as much if you’ve read over any of our weekly improvements).

And these tools really do serve to connect us deeply. Seeing smiling faces and little notes of encouragement on your UP readings is a great feeling. For example, here’s a sleep reading from a recent evening when I was sick (check out that total!). Knowing my teammates were thinking of me was so lovely!Up sleep


And each new Kindle book invariably starts a great discussion, either in Hipchat or our Facebook Group. Here’s a recent example:

Facebook book discussion

Want to know more? Follow along with the Kindle books we’re picking up! Our Pinterest board stays updated with all our selections.

Follow Buffer’s board What Buffer is Reading on Pinterest.

There are a few other perks, too—like our Buffer retreats, which bring us all together in amazing places, and the ability to grab whatever we need (laptop, coworking membership, etc.) to work productively. Like the rest of Buffer, these perks are always evolving as we think and re-think how to work more productively and happily. Recently, Buffer expanded the Jawbone UP and Kindle program to family members of team members, which has been an amazing change to see! What sorts of perks does your office provide? What perks do you think would help you work happily and productively? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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  • I love your perks! I have a vivofit but my husband is the only other one I know with one so I am definitely missing out on that community feel you guys have – so jealous! I admire everyone at Buffer committing to reading – I wish I could get my company to be as passionate so I could share it on our social media accounts like you guys do. Maybe I’ll try to start a reading movement here… hm! Currently I am reading #GIRLBOSS (much like every other girl blogger at the moment, it seems) and I love it. As always, thank you for sharing this insight!

    • Thanks so much, Laura! Love your passion for reading, best of luck in keeping it going and getting your team on board!

  • Mike Coutts (@couttsdotcom)

    I received some feedback from the team on the Jawbone UP – I suggest a Buffer Fan group where we can all join and support healthy living together!

  • MagikAlex

    I like your perks because it’s represent your key values Just a question because i find that some Jawbone UP are dead after severals months. Did you have any problems with your Jawbone UPs and do you recommended it to someone who wants to buy his first Activity tracker ? Thank you.


    • Thanks so much for your thoughts! Yeah, some of us have been through a number of Jawbones. This is my third one, I think. I believe they’re working on making them a bit more durable and water-resistant. I’m sure it’s quite a tough challenge!

  • Buffer perks are just awesome. They are both genial – makes your more productive or at least supports you for be more productive and also the continuous team cheering up makes that even better. Great choice of perks.

    • Thanks for the kind comment, Petr. I agree; they are pretty awesome. We are quite lucky and privileged!

      • Which one do you like the most Courtney? :-)

  • What about healthcare benefits and retirement perks? how does that work with a distributed team internationally.

    • Ah, that’s a great one! Yup, healthcare benefits are standard for all the countries where you’d normally get that through your work. We cover employees 100% and 50% for dependents. :)

  • dennisrobert

    We just got cold brew coffee kegs. So good and saves me a daily trip to the coffee shop!

    We have a little library to borrow books from, but I would love to have the Kindle program you provide your team!

    • Oooh, coffee kegs sound like an amazing perk, love it! And the library is so awesome, too! Sounds like you’re in a great spot!

  • That’s very interesting! What other perks the company offer? For example, internet for remote workers?

    • Yup, we get our Internet bills reimbursed every month! We also get unlimited vacation time and a stipend from Buffer to spend on vacation as a reminder and encouragement to take time off to relax and refresh. We are quite lucky, i think!

  • Crestline Promos

    We do Fitbit’s at Crestline and everyone seems to love them!! They are a great way to encourage employee wellness and get us up and moving throughout the day. We love perks that encourage wellness!

  • tomschouteden

    Hey guys, how does the unlimited books work? Are all the Kindles connected to the same Amazon account? Or do you buy every book again each time someone wants to read it?

  • Lionel Amit M Mitelpunkt

    Great perks and love your general company attitude ;)
    Do you guys have a special deal with amazon for the kindle’s and books or you pay regular prices?

  • Cyprexx

    We have a kitchen stacked with fruits and any cereal you can imagine. More importantly (and probably more relevant for Buffer) is the Education Budget we get. 1500EUR per year + 2 days off to educate yourself. Can be a conference or a course in anything related to your work task. Seems like a very Buffer thing to do – keep on learning :)

  • Priscila Mirjana Bernal

    I absolutely loved reading this! I recently created a FB page and that’s how I found out about Buffer. The more I read about you the more I like and respect your way of working. I currently work for a global shipping company – I have peers from all over the world but we don’t really know each other as persons, we just recognize each other by the title we have.

    I think we have the employee’s benefits a standard company offers in El Salvador (health insurance, end of the year bonus, etc) but the flexible schedule I was offered here is one of the things I like the most (I work from 5:00 AM to 2:00 PM) because it allows me to go to classes to learn a 3rd language, see my niece and work on my little project.

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