Work With Perks

Seven STL workplaces take the typical benefits package above and beyond.

 

No matter what kind of work you’re in, it’s the extra perks, often intangible, that can take a ho-hum job from standard to standout. We checked out STL businesses, big and small, that go to great lengths to make their employees feel loved. Warning: This feature may cause moderate to severe job envy.

 

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1. Kind By Design

Cannon Design is clearly a company with a conscience. The architectural design firm inhabits the historical Power House building Downtown‰ÛÓhaving renovated the space itself using sustainable practices and materials. Nearly every desk gets natural sunlight via the tall arched windows that span all three floors, and there’s a garden along the side of the building that provides an outdoor oasis sheltered from the noise of the street. Several employees bike to work daily, so there are showers and a secure spot to store their wheels. Community service is a huge part of the company culture. The firm’s biggest fundraiser of the year called Exhibit A commissions works of art from national and local architects and auctions them off for charity‰ÛÓthis year’s beneficiary is St. Patrick’s Center. We visited the office during a weeklong fundraiser for the Arts and Education Council, which got people involved through activities like a cupcake design contest and a concert tee day. Last September, several employees traveled to Joplin, MO , to help demolish a tornadodamaged home. The firm recognizes that architecture is an expensive field‰ÛÓso, it pays for membership, maintenance, seminars and test fees for employees in the Intern Development Program and those taking the Architect Registration Exams. To keep everyone inspired, employees often get paid time off to attend cultural events during the work day. The Ideas Series organizes trips to CAM exhibits, Bruno David Gallery shows and even brewery tours. Employees also preview projects the company is working on, including the current renovation of the Downtown St. Louis Library. And, when a project team is working lots of late nights, traveling and facing hard deadlines, it’s not uncommon to be rewarded with a surprise Cardinals game or a night out bowling.

Cannon Design 1100 Clark Ave., Downtown

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2. Power to the People

Nestl̩ Purina PetCare Company does not take its mission to better the lives of pet owners and their beloved four-legged friends lightly. Appropriately, that mission starts with its employees.

On any given day, at least a few dogs can be found on each of the 15 floors at Purina’s STL headquarters. And, while most of them hang out in their supervisors’ offices, it’s not uncommon to find a curious pooch wandering the halls. The outdoor campus, lush with grassy knolls and paved walkways, gives pets and their owners plenty of space to get some fresh air and exercise on breaks. Although it may seem like a no-brainer, the pet-friendly environment not only serves as a perk for Purina associates, but it also helps the company stay focused on its overall mission.

Promoting healthy living is another primary focus at Purina, and pulling on a pair of sneakers is a popular lunchtime activity in the office. In addition to the outdoor walking paths, there’s an indoor fitness center, fully equipped with a fleet of treadmills, stationary bikes, weight machines, locker rooms and showers. For those who enjoy group workouts, the center also offers an array of classes, including yoga and Zumba. What’s more, the building houses a medical center that offers blood pressure screenings, free flu shots and advice on how to live a healthier lifestyle.

Any pet owner can appreciate the beauty of the on-site dry cleaning service‰ÛÓ perfect for shedding the sheen of pet hair that always seems to cling more doggedly to business attire. Associates can also shop the in-house convenience store for anything from Purina pet food and Tylenol to frozen pizzas and greeting cards. As if that’s not enough, the company offers driver’s license renewals, and a tailor drops by once a week. So much for taking a long lunch to “run errands.”

Nestl̩ PURINA 801 Chouteau Ave., Downtown

6. FASHION WITH FLEX

Kellwood Company’s St. Louis office is home to a creative team of around 150 employees, who spend their days designing, manufacturing and marketing an array of premier fashion brands, from couture to athletic and everything in between. But, as fashionable of a workplace as it is, the company also has a soft spot for ensuring its associates are well taken care of.

When summer hits and the sun is shining, it can be hard to focus on work. Kellwood’s flexible scheduling and summer hours, which allow employees to take every other Friday off (or a half day per week), make it that much easier to get away for a weekend at the lake or catch an evening ball game. A recent company barbecue, catered by Super Smokers and Ted Drewes, was a big hit‰ÛÓespecially when games of washers and a water balloon toss broke out. As the dog days of summer continue, Kellwood uses the heat as a terrific excuse to host ice cream socials.

Any fashion-focused company should have some serious perks in the shopping department, and Kellwood does not disappoint. Employees receive 40 percent off of top brands like Rebecca Taylor, David Meister, Vince and Zobha, and designers often visit for special presentations. During sample sales, employees can purchase brands at a reduced price, as well. They also enjoy price cuts with other partners, including Drury Hotels, the St. Louis Cardinals, Six Flags and more.

Because everyone needs a helping hand every now and then, Kellwood offers a Family Support Committee. The initiative helps support employees and their families during times of crisis, raising funds through various company-wide activities like candy carts and clothing sales.

600 Kellwood Parkway, Chesterfield

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4. All For One, One For All

Before Group360 moved into its new Wash Ave office in January 2011, the marketing agency’s 175-plus St. Louis employees were split between two offices: one Downtown and one in Westport. The primary goal behind the customdesigned space was to bring them all together‰ÛÓnot just into one building, but across departments and cubicles.

Collaborative work areas are scattered throughout all three floors, like the captains’ chairs circled around the fireplace on the main floor, or the couches tucked into a nook on one of the upper floors. Dry erase tables and walls abound, begging for sketches and inspiration boards.

The leaders at Group360 seem to go out of their way to encourage employees to get together, get to know one another and form cross-departmental relationships. A fishbowl at the front desk collects business cards for Meet Your Neighbor lunches. Three cards are drawn each week, and their owners have lunch together across the street at Lucas Park Grille. The Presidents’ Circle brings together employees from each part of the company to represent their departments in regular meetings with President Tim Rutter and Executive Vice President/ CFO Todd Gildehaus. It’s a direct line of communication that allows any level of employee to have a voice in what’s happening with the company.

The office is certainly not lacking in the fun department, either. We visited in the midst of the fourth annual Washers Tournament, which pits randomly drawn teams from the STL office against their colleagues in Texas and Maryland. Matches continue weekly throughout the summer (catch the live stream, brackets and recaps on washers.group360.com), with champions from the other offices flown in for the championship games. They also have all the requisite potlucks and happy hours, except theirs have the benefit of a fully-stocked in-house bar.

Group360 1127 Washington Ave., Downtown

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5. A Pawfect Fit

Nestl̩ Purina PetCare Company does not take its mission to better the lives of pet owners and their beloved four-legged friends lightly. Appropriately, that mission starts with its employees.

On any given day, at least a few dogs can be found on each of the 15 floors at Purina’s STL headquarters. And, while most of them hang out in their supervisors’ offices, it’s not uncommon to find a curious pooch wandering the halls. The outdoor campus, lush with grassy knolls and paved walkways, gives pets and their owners plenty of space to get some fresh air and exercise on breaks. Although it may seem like a no-brainer, the pet-friendly environment not only serves as a perk for Purina associates, but it also helps the company stay focused on its overall mission.

Promoting healthy living is another primary focus at Purina, and pulling on a pair of sneakers is a popular lunchtime activity in the office. In addition to the outdoor walking paths, there’s an indoor fitness center, fully equipped with a fleet of treadmills, stationary bikes, weight machines, locker rooms and showers. For those who enjoy group workouts, the center also offers an array of classes, including yoga and Zumba. What’s more, the building houses a medical center that offers blood pressure screenings, free flu shots and advice on how to live a healthier lifestyle.

Any pet owner can appreciate the beauty of the on-site dry cleaning service‰ÛÓ perfect for shedding the sheen of pet hair that always seems to cling more doggedly to business attire. Associates can also shop the in-house convenience store for anything from Purina pet food and Tylenol to frozen pizzas and greeting cards. As if that’s not enough, the company offers driver’s license renewals, and a tailor drops by once a week. So much for taking a long lunch to “run errands.”

Nestl̩ PURINA 801 Chouteau Ave., Downtown

6. FASHION WITH FLEX

Kellwood Company’s St. Louis office is home to a creative team of around 150 employees, who spend their days designing, manufacturing and marketing an array of premier fashion brands, from couture to athletic and everything in between. But, as fashionable of a workplace as it is, the company also has a soft spot for ensuring its associates are well taken care of.

When summer hits and the sun is shining, it can be hard to focus on work. Kellwood’s flexible scheduling and summer hours, which allow employees to take every other Friday off (or a half day per week), make it that much easier to get away for a weekend at the lake or catch an evening ball game. A recent company barbecue, catered by Super Smokers and Ted Drewes, was a big hit‰ÛÓespecially when games of washers and a water balloon toss broke out. As the dog days of summer continue, Kellwood uses the heat as a terrific excuse to host ice cream socials.

Any fashion-focused company should have some serious perks in the shopping department, and Kellwood does not disappoint. Employees receive 40 percent off of top brands like Rebecca Taylor, David Meister, Vince and Zobha, and designers often visit for special presentations. During sample sales, employees can purchase brands at a reduced price, as well. They also enjoy price cuts with other partners, including Drury Hotels, the St. Louis Cardinals, Six Flags and more.

Because everyone needs a helping hand every now and then, Kellwood offers a Family Support Committee. The initiative helps support employees and their families during times of crisis, raising funds through various company-wide activities like candy carts and clothing sales.

600 Kellwood Parkway, Chesterfield

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7. All in the Family

Juggle is a jack of all trades in the tech world, serving as the creative umbrella for a handful of companies that work in various niches of online brand development and marketing. So, it’s no wonder that creating a quirky, comfortable and visually stimulating office environment for its 20 associates is a focus.

When those two o’clock blues set in, there’s no better way to rejuvenate than a lively game of ping pong…or shuffle board or pool. Jugglers have their pick of antics to break up the workday, and challenges and tournaments are a regular occurrence. One of the central ideas behind Juggle’s creative method is constant stimulation‰ÛÓwhether it’s physical, through games and activities, or visual, by way of Monday movie nights.

Balancing work and family life is always a bit easier when you can bring your loved ones to the office. Not for your usual 9-to-5 workday, of course, but for after-hours activities like a barbecue or day trip to the boss’ lake house. The Whippy Shaft Golf Tournament each summer is a big family attraction, as are the holiday parties.

For such a small company, Juggle goes to great lengths to offer its employees the utmost convenience. A hair stylist makes an appearance twice a month to keep everyone’s looks fresh, a car service takes care of oil changes once a month, and the in-house masseuse is just what the doctor ordered for backs sore from hunching over keyboards. What doctor, you ask? The one who’s always on call for Juggle associates, and has been serving the company for more than four years.

Juggle, 33 Bronze Pointe, Swansea, IL

 

Photo credit: Rachel English

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