What happens to lavish office perks in a post-pandemic world?

For about a week and a half into his new job as an art director at Sonos, a smart speaker brand, Randall Parrish got a taste of the California company’s headquarters office in Santa Barbara, which came with kombucha, cold brew, gaming, rental bikes, shower rooms, and catered lunches every Friday.

But when the 1,500 employees of Sonos went fully remote amid the coronavirus lockdowns, getting acclimated to a new corporate culture came down to “this energy that you only know through your sofa and Slack,” he says. “It just does not quite help build a long-term relationship with that culture bonding that you’re probably hoping for.”

Linda Li, meanwhile, misses the free food at Facebook, where she’s a software engineer. Having access to ready-made meals and snacks without stepping outside of the office was both a privilege and, as she describes it, a set of “golden handcuffs” that allowed her to focus even more on work without much context switching, she says. “You don’t want to leave, because they take away a lot of the things that normal adult humans have to worry about,” she says. 

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