The tech sector isn’t just creating new apps to improve our lives – it’s breaking all the rules for Office Life.
Surviving and thriving in the big city means a good work/life balance. But as Float House Gastown co-founder Mike Zaremba learned on the latest #VancouverSurvivalGuide podcast, tech firms are also helping their staff actually have fun at work.
Mike’s guest was Erika Finlay, Community Engagement Manger for Vancouver tech firm Unbounce, which builds conversion tools for marketers. With 180 employees, Unbounce has set up some simple strategies to engage them.
Open Up The Office
Your office doesn’t have to be an insular place – it can be connected to the community it serves and engaged with the local neighbourhood.
Unbounce has a large space in the office dedicated to hosting meetups, technical events, open houses, and that staff also get to use, hosting 100 events a year.
“We've got kegs on tap,” Finlay said. “We'll bring in some food.”
Unbounce hosts not-for-profit fundraisers, like supporting Ladies Learning Code, and workshops to increase diversity in tech, specifically when it comes to getting women into more technical roles. There’s also Tech Vancouver Night, a chance for companies to share what they're doing.
Unbounce creates good vibes and inspires by connecting workers with their community through paying for volunteer hours, and a matching program for money raised. Tech people don’t often wear ties, but one Unbounce staffer wore one every day to raise money for Women Against Violence Against Women. Employees also created a landing page for the group Peace Geeks on Unbounce time.
Fun and Games
Unbounce ensure it had a large space for staff to stretch out instead of cramming them into soul-draining cubicles. Sports also helps staff unwind and at Unbounce they play ping pong. The sport is so popular that 27 different tech companies from all over Vancouver have a tournament that has raised about $170,000 for charities.
Go Green and Take a Break
At Unbounce, there's lots of plants to create a living ecosystem. There's also green walls.
The office also stops work on Friday afternoons around 4 p.m., as everyone gathers for some Kombucha or tea before heading out for Friday plans. Or staff get together for a calming drum circle.
Unbounce has SPUD provide the office with fresh fruit and veggies, and banana bread every week. People actually show up early for meetings to ensure they get the banana bread.
“It’s these little things that make a difference,” Finlay says.
Erika Finlay is the Community Engagement Manager at Unbounce. Quite simply her job is to connect Unbounce, and their employees to the communities they have offices in (Vancouver, Montréal & Berlin). In Vancouver they actively participate in the tech and start-up scene by hosting numerous events, and meetups. Erika Finlay has also founded a Technology Community Alliance along with the BC Tech Association, bringing together socially minded tech companies, so that they can together make a greater impact on some of the unique issues faced by Vancouver. At Unbounce I partner with non-profits and like-minded companies, they sponsor and support charities through lending them our event space for free and our product (marketing conversion tools). Unbounce actively works to help our Vancouver based staff to through providing great benefits, perks and other incentives to help ease some of burdens associated with the high cost of living in this beautiful city. Erika Finlay is also a proud champion for the New Leaf Project, which is inspiring organization that's disrupting the way they combat homelessness and poverty in our city. As a working mom with a young family, she is keen to explore ways to help alleviate the poverty in the Vancouver with strategies and solutions.