If you’re an employee at L’Oréal’s new West Coast headquarters in El Segundo, Calif., you officially have a butler—because you’re worth it.
Or perhaps more accurately, L’Oréal USA CEO David Greenberg is requiring that you return to the office, at least three days a week (you can pick which days).
The French cosmetics giant, whose subsidiaries include NYX, Kiehl’s, Maybelline, Redken, and La Roche-Posay, knows that most workers are likely unenthused about the three-days-in-the-office mandate. To ease the transition, L’Oréal has gone many extra miles—by giving workers a butler.
For just $5 an hour (a cost the company subsidizes), employees can hire a concierge to help with a range of personal chores, the Los Angeles Times reports: taking their cars to the gas station, picking up their laundry, and ferrying their dogs to and from day care, to name a few.
That last task may not be necessary, because the El Segundo office—once an aircraft factory—welcomes dogs.
The concierge perk, which originated in the New York City office, has been part of L’Oreal’s benefits program since 2009. In a post-pandemic office, it ultimately enables workers to remain physically present in the office, unencumbered by the day-to-day responsibilities that would take them away. Even sustenance is taken care of; the office sports a gym, restaurant, juice café, and coffee bar that occasionally serves alcohol. Plus, there’s an on-site store selling beauty products and personal care items.
L’Oréal USA’s CEO, like many Fortune 500 executives, is a firm proponent of in-person work. “We’re in an industry that’s very much people-driven,” Greenberg told the L.A. Times. “[There is] necessary engagement, creativity, sharing, and learning from each other.”
The brand puts “a high degree of importance” on its culture, he went on, which is why he believes it’s remained an industry leader for over a century. “Culture comes from people. It’s part of the recipe.”
The other side of the culture shift
While many companies share Greenberg’s sentiments, few have joined him in actually providing the perks to employees that would make coming into the office a genuinely useful and practical experience.
Large firms like Meta, Salesforce, Google, and Goldman Sachs have even gone the opposite direction, rolling back their perks amid economic uncertainty and a closer return to a normal workplace.
Some of these perks have been mainstays at large companies since before pandemic times. In sharp contrast to L’Oréal, Meta discontinued its own concierge services for complimentary laundry and dry cleaning; it also curtailed the free-meal cutoff time from 6:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
And Bloomberg removed its longtime free office lunch perk for workers in New York, New Jersey, and California. But some of their workers are still seeing the bright side; one wrote on Glassdoor that Bloomberg’s snack bar is “unrivaled.”
Other perks, now rolled back, were implemented early on in the pandemic to encourage workers to return to the office. In April, Goldman ended its free breakfast and lunch program for New York employees, supplanting it with an increased “out of hours” meal stipend. Then in September it shuttered its free coffee station in the lobby and cut off free daily car rides to and from the office.
“RIP to another pandemic perk for junior bankers,” a junior Goldman banker told the New York Post after the announcement. “I’m sure the partners still don’t have to pay for their coffee—or anything in their fancy dining hall.”
No matter. “For a number of employers, it seems an impossible and even fruitless task to convince employees, whose commutes are only getting longer and more expensive, that after a year of record productivity during a global pandemic, they need to get up an hour earlier and grind out a commute in exchange for a $10 sandwich,” wrote Fortune’s Paolo Confino last month.
Unless there’s a butler waiting for them, of course.