This San Francisco Startup Has a Shoe-Free Office Policy

No shoes, no problem.

That’s the idea at Gusto, a startup based in San Francisco whose new headquarters at Pier 70 in the Dogpatch have workers padding along with no footwear. With about 275 employees at the industrial-esque space, the company has instituted a policy that invites its staff to change into socks, slippers or even go barefoot upon entering the office.

Founded by Josh Reeves, Edward Kim and Tomer London, Gusto offers services centered on payroll, benefits and human resource management. Its outpost in the city’s shipbuilding hub functions like a living room, where expansive couches, comfy chairs, bookshelves and coffee tables serve as dividers in a workplace that’s as business as it is casual.

“Gusto was started in a house, and because our co-founders grew up in shoeless homes, it felt natural for them to be shoeless at work, too,” said Rick Chen, who works at the communications department.

Since its launch in 2012, the company has expanded nationwide, serving more than 60,000 clients in small business. It boasts another office near Denver’s Larimer Square, which also follows the unique no-shoe rule.

With an artsy-hip vibe, the California-based office features exposed brick and pipes, as well as overhead cranes and beams similar to other warehouses and residences in the neighborhood. It’s no wonder employees are made to feel like they’re in a lofted space with Gusto’s shoe-free policy, which extends to visitors and guests in the form of disposable paper sandals.

“As the company grew, employees made it a tradition that’s now a part of our company culture,” Chen added. “Everyone can feel as comfortable at Gusto as they are at home.”

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