Beer, games, pets? Perks of an evolving workplace

Once upon a time, a workplace was nothing more than partitioned cubicles and fluorescent lights. Now more businesses are letting loose with more relaxed atmospheres and new policies.

Dr. Kurt Venator is a Purina veterinarian. He says employees can bring their pets to work as long as the dogs and cats are healthy and well-behaved. You would think the pets would be a distraction, but Purina says it's just the opposite. He says studies have shown workers have lower stress by the end of the day. He says Purina has found that it boosts employee satisfaction, retention, and creativity.

Experts say that a happier employee means a more productive employee.

Silverline, a cloud computing consulting company in Union Square, has shuffleboard tables, ping pong, and a fully stocked cafe with a beer keg. The company has free yoga on Tuesday, lunch on Wednesday, bagels on Friday, and periodic massages for the whole company. Silverline's founders say these extras inspire employees to work even harder.

The work environment is similar at Etsy in Brooklyn. Etsy is an online marketplace to make, sell and buy unique products. When you get hired at Etsy, you get a $100 gift card to spend on Etsy to decorate your space.

Ron Friedman is a social psychologist and the author of "The Best Place to Work." He says all work, all the time does not make you a better employee. In addition, he says, work perks translate to better job performance.

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