When companies tighten their belts, they look first to discretionary spending. Meta got rid of free laundry for its workers last year. In January Google announced a round of lay-offs that included 27 in-house massage therapists. Salesforce, another tech firm, has axed its contract with a Californian “wellness retreat”, where employees would have done God-knows-what with each other. The chopping of such benefits has been christened the “perkcession”. But just as perks get cut in bad times, so they return in the good. Eventually you can expect to read articles about a “perkcovery”. What makes a good perk?

Dispensability is part of the point. This is not like a salary or a health-care plan; if it cannot be cut, it is not a perk.