Just another (awesome) day at the office

Not that 401k matching isn't thrilling, but does your company offer a private DJ, swank lounge or game room?

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Just another (awesome) day at the office

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Photograph: Chandler West
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LANCE CURRAN, warehouse manager at Threadless
FAVORITE PERK TUNES
Sure, Threadless’s Ravenswood office offers weekly beer-pong games and an indoor skateboard ramp, but what excites Curran is the company’s fondness for music. During online promotions and the holiday rush, Threadless brings in DJs to spin for its employees as they work overtime boxing and shipping large orders. The Hood Internet has graced the DJ booth, as has DJ White Chocolate—Threadless’s CEO, Thomas Ryan. “I came from a small manufacturing town in Indiana where I worked in a factory with silence—or elevator music,” says Curran, who’s been with the company for five years. “It makes your day miserable.”

LAURA SCHMIDT MONCRIEFFE, innovation director at Bamboo Worldwide
FAVORITE PERK LOUNGE
Seven years ago, when Moncrieffe walked into a former Bucktown glove factory that would become the home of branding and innovation consultancy Bamboo Worldwide, the first thing she noticed was the bar. It was huge, freestanding, able to seat 15–20 people and situated smack-dab in the middle of the loftlike space. Moncrieffe was sold. She and the other two Bamboo-ers created a mod 1960s lounge vibe—George Jetson would be at home on the red tufted chaise lounge—with marigold curtains, comfy couches and burgundy paint accenting the client meeting room/happy hour hangout/private event space, where the booze is always free. “I love when people come in and I look at their faces like, Whoa, this is different,” she says. “Plus, I know a client is comfortable when they come in and lie down on the futon.”

ERICA RABENDA, copywriter at Arc Worldwide/Leo Burnett
FAVORITE PERK CHEAP, IN-HOUSE BAR
Corralling a crew for happy hour can be tricky—except at the Leo Burnett building. “Once you go off-site, it becomes less likely people are going to come,” says Rabenda, a seven-year veteran of Arc Worldwide, the digital arm of Leo Burnett. Instead, she and her thirsty workers head for the building’s 21st-floor Star Bar, where mixed-drink specials—usually with a seasonal theme—run a mere $2.50. It’s open three days a week from clock-out time until roughly 9pm—a great excuse to work late. “Even if you’re not a drinker, it’s an easy way to go hang out with your team,” Rabenda adds. Clients and guests are welcome, too.

NICKOLAY SCHWARTZ, software developer at Centro
FAVORITE PERK GAME ROOM
When Schwartz and his fellow developers at Centro—an Internet advertising firm—run into a programming problem, they hit the foosball table. “[Playing] allows us to slow down and look at the bigger picture of what we are trying to solve,” says Schwartz, who’s been at Centro for two and a half years. The office also has a smattering of arcade games and Wii titles, and employees play on company volleyball and softball teams. But foosball is Schwartz’s preferred poison; he has a long-standing friendly feud with another developer, currently leading Schwartz 68 games to 65 (and that’s after someone erased the previous standings and they had to start over). And although talk often turns to work during games, it’s not always the primary goal. “It turns even developers—generally considered grumpy people with a lot on their minds—to brighter, happier versions of themselves.”

 

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