Non-traditional office life growing in popularity

A St. Pete company has thrown out the time clock, and employees are happy.

Obviously, not every industry lends itself to an unconventional workplace. But in St. Petersburg, there’s a place where napping is encouraged, cold beer is always nearby, and the office has a view to die for.

Just some of the perks that come along with hard work.

From the moment you enter Squaremouth Travel Insurance in downtown St. Petersburg, you notice something is different.

In fact, a lot of things are different. The space is huge, open and airy – with floor to ceiling windows that overlook Al Lang Stadium and St. Pete’s waterfront.

“I'm happy here. We get our work done, but then we also have fun,” said worker Carolyn Leckie.

Employees at Squaremouth, for example, don't have standard desks. They sit or stand in front of monitors, sinking into cushy chairs, or casually conferencing around a table.

Shoes - are optional.

Oh, and everyone knows each other’s’ salaries.

“Completely transparent. If you want to raise, you ask for it. And then everyone else in the company will vote on it,” said Leckie.

Somehow or another, the spectacular views of downtown Saint Pete don't seem to distract staffers. Nor, apparently, does the pool table. Arcade games. A fridge stocked with beer and soft drinks. Oh, and did we mention they get their birthdays off and unlimited vacation?

“No one is looking over your shoulder,” said Megan Singh, “It's all about trust and freedom you get your work done. And then you enjoy a beer. Ha ha.”

And yet somehow this wish-list workplace is not just growing, it’s booming. The CEO says they’ve added 15-20% growth each year since they moved into the space 5 years ago.

Workers - motivated, not just by the perks, but a sense of trust and teamwork.

“I think it's just a company culture that we're happy to come to work every day that makes all the difference,” said Leckie.

Clearly, there are businesses that simply don't lend themselves to such a laid-back and flexible atmosphere. Imagine, for example, if firefighters could decide what days they wanted to work. Police officers had unlimited vacations. Or nurses and doctors sipped a cold one - barefoot in the emergency room.

“OSHA wouldn't like that, infections, no, that wouldn't work,” said Kim Jay, who works in a medical office in St. Petersburg. “We're trying to get rid of infections not bring them into the atmosphere.”

But at Squaremouth, the only thing infectious is the culture. Making the unconventional workplace - work.

“I think that everyone realizes the importance of getting their work done first,” said Jessica Harvey, “But as soon as 5 o'clock it's on a Friday, that's when the party starts.”

“It's great,” added Singh, “It's unlike any other environment I've ever worked in.”
 

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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