The ultimate office

Oh no, is it Friday already? Our fantasy workplace makes employees want to stick around

By Caitlin Hill
Friday, June 6, 2014

Note: This page is part of the 2014 100 Best Companies to Work For. Make sure to check out the full list of companies as well as this year's Best in Class winners.

With people spending so much time at the office, employers are doing their best to keep morale high and make sure employees feel appreciated. (Free massages? Yes, please.) But no one office has everything, which is why we’re combining winning elements from many to create the ultimate office here. From puppies and meditation rooms to free lunch and pool tournaments, these Minnesota companies have created offices that might make you want to stay at work just a little longer.

Zen Award: Beehive PR
When Beehive PR in St. Paul remodeled its offices recently, it created a meditation room dedicated to helping employees find some peace and serenity amid the workday stress. Called the "InZone," the quiet room is shielded from wi-fi and stocked with yoga mats, cushions, and low, comfortable chairs, plus speakers for playing meditation tracks.

Sustenance Award: The Sartell Group
Employees at software development firm The Sartell Group in Minneapolis never have to worry about packing breakfast or lunch during the workweek. Owner Pam Sartell stocks the company’s kitchen weekly, so employees never go hungry. In addition to a fridge full of healthy snacks, employees enjoy catered lunch meetings, Taco Tuesday, Wings Wednesday, happy hours, and free coffee all day long.

Canine Therapy Award: The Nerdery
Interactive production shop The Nerdery doesn’t just allow but encourages employees to bring their dogs to work. Does your pooch need some primping? No problem. Nerd Support will arrange a mobile groomer appointment for any dog in need of a little pampering. But, wait—that’s not all. The Nerdery holds “puppy fight club” every Thursday (how awesome is that?) where the pups can take a break to frolic with one another between all of those important meetings.

Fun Award: AK Material Handling
At AK Material Handling in Maple Grove, creating a fun environment for employees is high on the priority list. On any given day, you could run into a group of excited employees participating in arcade runs, costume contests, or team fitness runs, to name a few. The office also boasts a dart board, 18-hole mini-putt golf machine, and a pool table on which some employees have played more than a thousand games of pool.

Culture Award: StoneArch
In addition to its traditional benefits package, health and medical marketing agency StoneArch in Minneapolis encourages employees to develop their cultural side. The company does this through its “Creative Pursuits” program in which employees are reimbursed for attending arts programs and classes, museum memberships, and the like. We’ll tip our berets to that.

Enlightenment Award: Dedicated Networks
With an appreciation for self-improvement, network and computer retailer Dedicated Networks in Anoka rewards its employees for investing in themselves. As a reward for reading a list of self-improvement books in a specific timeframe, Dedicated Networks CEO Paul Cullen sent 15 employees on a five-day cruise through the Gulf of Mexico, plus three days in New Orleans to attend self-improvement classes.

Illumination Award: Room & Board
Room & Board doesn’t just limit its modern furniture and spatial solutions to its retail stores. Its office space in Minneapolis is beautified by streams of natural light and brings the outdoors in with real plants and flowers. What’s even better than a beautiful office that incorporates natural elements? Actually enjoying nature itself, of course. The furniture company has outdoor meeting rooms to take advantage of the nice weather whenever possible.

Rejuvenation Award: Rêve
Minneapolis-based strategy and service design consultancy Rêve Consulting knows that rejuvenation is key to productive (and happy) employees. With that notion in mind, the company has instituted free perks such as in-office chair massages to keep workers stress-free. Each month a masseuse comes into the office and sets up the room to emulate a high-end spa. The massages are part of a larger company focus around well-being, including treadmill desks, two-minute workouts, and other healthy initiatives.

Mascot Award: Salo
Every office needs a mascot. At financial staffing firm Salo in Minneapolis, guests are greeted by the company mascot—lucky cat—upon entering. The lucky cat mascot was introduced by founder John Folkestad, who has loved them all his life. At Salo, lucky cat represents the idea of bringing good fortune to the community and others. The company has even launched a Twitter campaign through the end of 2014 in which people can tweet pictures of lucky cats to be entered in a random monthly drawing, in which Salo will donate $500 to the nonprofit of the winner’s choice.

Crunch-time Dinner Award: Lurie Besikof Lapidus & Company
Minneapolis-based accounting firm Lurie Besikof Lapidus & Company keeps its employees sustained through the busy tax season with free dinner (and breakfast, and lunch—and everything in between). The office orders up food from local restaurants for its busy accountants, who can work 15 or 20 hours a day during the last few weeks of tax season. The accounting firm also instituted Fuel Break Fridays this year, a 2 p.m. pick-me-up of sorts that involves food, activities, and, most important, a break from crunching numbers.