A Perk That’s Keeping Silicon Valley Workers Healthy — And On The Job

By Tracy Seipel
The Mercury News

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) In addition to traditional health coverage, some tech companies are providing employer-paid health care, with access to physicians, nurses, and therapists, at clinics onsite.

SUNNYVALE, Calif.

At LinkedIn, employees at the world’s largest online professional networking website enjoy a smorgasbord of perks, from gourmet meals to on-site dry cleaning to car washes and oil changes.

Yet in the uber-competitive world of attracting and retaining top talent, some Bay Area tech companies have been turning to a modest-sounding benefit that may not be as flashy as adoption assistance or doggy day care, but could have a profound impact on something much bigger: their employees’ health.

For Google, Apple and Facebook employees, the doctor is always in, at work. In addition to traditional health coverage, these companies are providing employer-paid health care, with access to physicians, nurses, and therapists, at clinics onsite. And a growing number of other companies like LinkedIn are offering similar benefits in clinics they fund just off campus.

The business model is thriving in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, experts say, because it focuses on preventive services that treat workers before their illnesses and pains, physical and emotional, become more expensive for their employer plans.

And since it’s so convenient, employees are more inclined to not put off that annoying trip to the doctor across town for an ache or symptom that just won’t go away.

More and more Bay Area companies are jumping on board.

Just ask Larry Boress, executive director of the Chicago-based National Association of Worksite Health Centers, the nonprofit group that advocates for the industry.

During a recent Silicon Valley employer forum, Boress said a recruiter for a top tech firm told him that on-site clinics are becoming the coin of the realm.

If on-site acupuncture, massage therapy and chiropractors are not part of a company’s benefit package, the recruiter told him, workers “will go somewhere else.”

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