All work and no play? Not at these retail offices and headquarters.
From napping rooms surrounded by fish tanks to live music performances and on-campus skate parks, these cool companies’ headquarters sound more like a playground of sorts with no shortage of job perks — but their employees still manage to get their work done, as proven through their legacy names and statuses in the industry.
Here, five companies that count themselves among the most fun places to work in footwear.
1. Native Shoes
Where: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Facilities and amenities:
- Alternative transportation reimbursement encourages walking or biking to and from work
- New office features a rooftop patio and borders the Vancouver Harbour
- Shoe allowance for employees extends to family and friends
- Health and wellness activities include yoga sessions, breathing workshops and a running club
- Generous Christmas gifting (i.e. skydiving, weekend away, horse-riding experience)
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Product and design director Silvana Rivadeneira has been with Native for more than four years, and she testifies to its collaborative culture, citing memorable team events like bubble soccer as well as company president Kyle Housman’s monthly breakfasts with a select number of employees, where they share personal and professional goals and discuss the state of the business.
“My favorite parts of the job are definitely when we see the shoes come to life, knowing that we all uniquely contributed to the creation process and then seeing how our customers react to our products and how much joy and smiles they bring,” she explained. “It’s incredibly rewarding.”
Another synergic activity comes through the use of Slack’s Donut app, which pairs random employees together for meet-ups, encouraging people from different departments to get to know each other beyond their regular circle. “I’ve been really enjoying these coffee dates, as it’s an opportunity to build a connection with someone that you may not interact with much within the scope of your role,” Rivadeneira said.
Where: Boston, Massachusetts
Facilities and amenities:
- Two-floor fitness center offers more than 20 classes per day, with spin, yoga and dance studios, a boxing ring and a CrossFit box
- Access to personal trainers, nutritionists, chiropractors, acupuncture and massage sessions as well as meditation and physical therapy
- Flagship retail store features specialty customization lab
- Employees receive 50 percent off all Reebok products
- Women’s Network program promotes female employees through mentoring and networking
- Talent Carousel allows employees to work in different functions and locations to gain professional and cultural experiences around the world
After starting in Reebok’s post-graduate design program, Veronica Bayagich landed her current job as a graphic designer for the brand’s Studio range and Les Mills partnership. This summer, she will have been working full-time at the company for five years, and among her favorite parts on the job is the gym facility.
With its abundance of classes, Bayagich evolved into a regular at the dance studio, and her instructor took notice. She suggested that Bayagich get certified, so she applied to become a fitness instructor and completed her training. Now, Bayagich also teaches dance classes on top of her work as a designer.
“I wouldn’t have done it outside of that,” she said. “I had always been interested in dance, but I never took it seriously. Reebok got me thinking about that opportunity… and it definitely pushed that lifestyle change.”
The cost for Reebok’s state-of-the-art gym is $75 per month; however, each time an employee uses they gym, he or she receives $7.50 back. (If an employee uses the gym 10 times a month, it is then free of charge.)
Beyond the workout, Bayagich also gets to enjoy the opportunities granted to an employee in her position, from going on domestic trips for inspiration to visiting the company’s factory in Southeast Asia to see the products in person for the first time.
“Whenever I go home to my parents and tell them about the trips I’ve been on, they have a hard time thinking it’s an actual job,” she said. “In design, I go to stores, I go to fitness classes to check out the trends, I go shopping, I go to museums — and they ask, ‘This is work?'”
Where: Stratham, New Hampshire
Facilities and amenities:
- Massage therapist and chiropractor available weekly
- Dry cleaning pickup and delivery
- On-site childcare center
- Trail maps of local walking or running trails around the business park
- Timberland’s Annual Greener Living Fair invites local vendors to promote their products and services that help employees go green
- Be Fit for Life wellness program offers tools, programs and resources to encourage employees and their families to live healthy lifestyles
- Book swap program
- Discounted tickets for Regal Cinemas, New England Aquarium, LEGOLAND and The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire
Every year, Dan Grube, associate manager of digital solutions at Timberland, spends 40 hours of paid time to volunteer in communities from Mexico City to Yosemite and at the company’s Stratham headquarters in a Timberland program called “Path of Service.” For many parents, that means more time to spend with their kids, whether it’s chaperoning a field trip, coaching a soccer team or volunteering with their children.
“These activities feed my personal passions and also fuel me to excel at my job,” Grube said. “I’ve been fortunate to have so many incredible opportunities in my five-plus years at Timberland, but it’s really the people and community that make ‘the treehouse’ such a special place.”
From its intramural sports leagues to Friday flex days, Timberland employees are offered a series of unique programs to help them carve out a well-rounded lifestyle. Grube’s lunch hour, for instance, is spent on the soccer field on Tuesdays, playing wiffleball on Wednesdays, basketball on Fridays and running to fill the days between.
“My friends and family often ask me, ‘Do you even work?’ Of course I do,” Grube explained. “I work very hard at my job, and I work equally hard to maintain a comfortable work-life balance.”
Where: Costa Mesa, California
Facilities and amenities:
- Fitness classes include bootcamp, spin and yoga as well as guided meditation sessions
- Music room has equipment for employees to hone their musical talents and hosts a full stage for bands and artists to perform on site
- Barista serves up “secret menu” and seasonal drink items
- Upstairs deck features a custom BBQ pit, seating and sound system for events and employee soirées
- Vert ramp and concrete floors throughout the building allow for skating throughout the campus
- Half-pipe ramp in the parking lot
- Employees receive 50 percent off all Vans products and those of other VF brands
- Weekly car washes
- Bring-your-dog-to-work Fridays
- No office dress code
At Vans, employees are all about creativity — just ask Cheryl Van Doren, the company’s vice president of human resources and daughter of Paul Van Doren, who co-founded Vans with his brother, Jim. “Everything we do is centered around how it impacts our people, whether we’re providing people with opportunities and whether it’s a place they want to come to work every day,” she said.
That recently culminated in a move to its first global headquarters, a platinum LEED-certified building that boasts an indoor skate facility and half-pipe ramp. Van Doren explained that the company’s mantra upon opening the corporate office was centered on three things: “Good coffee, great Wi-Fi and a good gym.”
In addition to the physical environment is the flexibility afforded to employees with Vans’ remote working program. “It’s really important to us that people can bring their whole selves to work, but we also respect that they have their own personal lives,” Van Doren said. “It’s also very important for all leaders to realize that just because someone’s not in front of you doesn’t mean they’re not working.”
To celebrate their achievements, employees are also encouraged to ring an oversized — and ceremoniously loud — bell in the middle of the atrium. “It’s another ode to lack of formality,” Van Doren joked. “It’s a lot of fun.”
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada
Facilities and amenities:
- Napping rooms surrounded by fish tanks and massage chair lounge
- Fun activities supported by a ping-pong room, outdoor mini-golf and rooftop basketball court
- More than 80 fitness classes monthly and year-round wellness program with health screenings and chiropractor
- Employee garden and small dog park
- Discounts on local and national businesses
- Paid personal training, life coaches and wellness coaches
- Company events include Golden Knights watch parties and “Royal Wedding Crasherz” to celebrate Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s nuptials
As one of the country’s largest online shoe and apparel retailers, Zappos has earned a reputation for going the extra mile for their customers — and the same attitude goes for their employees.
The extensive list of amenities and facilities available at the company’s headquarters give workers the opportunity to take much-needed breaks from everyday demands, whether they choose to do so by letting off steam at the rooftop basketball court or catching up on zzz’s at the fully “tanked”-out nap room (pictured above).
Bhawna Provenzano, senior manager of benefits, wellness and engagement, has been with the company for eight years and attests to Zappos’ family-centric work environment as well as its heavy focus on employee satisfaction.
“The vibe here is so low-key, and I feel that I have some level of flexibility and that as long as I get my job done, people won’t make a big deal about it,” Provenzano said. “The flexibility, autonomy and trust from my department that I will do what’s in the best interest of our employees is one of my favorite parts about being on the job.”
See Aldo’s headquarters and more fun places to work in retail in our gallery.
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