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Apr 1, 2017

I was in Seattle last week visiting colleges with my oldest son, Hudson. We happened to be quite near the Space Needle, in an area of the city that is now nicknamed Amazonia because of the amount of buildings there that belong to the company Amazon. I love looking at architecture and analyzing structures, but it's not every day that(1) I get to photograph round, glass buildings. Well, there were three of them contrasting elegantly with the tall dark buildings around them. When they are finished in 2018, they will be 65,000 square feet of biosphere, filled with about 3000 plants, 300 of which are endangered species. This oasis of sorts(2) will not, however, be open to the public. It will be Amazon's gift to its employees. It is well known that plants in any room reduce stress, improve air quality, and increase a person's creativity. Studies in England and Australia have also demonstrated that offices that have plants increase productivity by 15% and creativity by 45%. So these biospheres are both a gift for Amazon employees, and a good idea for the company. A usual perk(3) for employees is free coffee on Friday mornings, or perhaps an extra day of vacation. Well, this is quite different! Other companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook give their employees perks like supplying a gym, free healthy food, and even doing their laundry. Perhaps this is becoming the age of an intelligent approach to workers. Their well-being directly affects the success of the company they work for, so the goal is to treat them well.

1. 'It's not every day that ...' is another way of saying 'it is unusual to...'

a. We went to the circus last night. It's not every day that I see elephants and tigers!

b. On the way to the Grand Canyon we stopped to see the desert in bloom. It's not every day that you see a desert full of flowers!

2. 'This .... of sorts' refers to something that has already been mentioned, and basically means 'this kind of ......'

a. My friends and I have been meeting every Wednesday for years. This support group of sorts has been very beneficial./ This kind of support group has been very beneficial.

b. Our office has hot and cold filtered water. This perk of sorts is to keep the employees hydrated. / This kind of perk is to keep the employees hydrated.

3. 'Perk' is a benefit or gift that is freely given by an employer or company to its employees.

a. A long lunch is the best perk in our company.

b. You get paid holidays? You lucky thing! What a perk!

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