It was only 15 years ago that Google was an unknown startup. Salon.com ran the first mainstream piece about the “Silicon Valley start-up company with the unlikely name of Google.com.”
A few years later, photos started circulating via chain email, showing people just what it was like to work at the “Googleplex,” which looked more a playground for adults than a place of business. Video games, free access to gyms and swimming pools, and all meals provided (organic and cooked by a chef, no less), and meetings over a meal rather than a conference room table were seen as just some of the perks of working for Google.
These revelations about the culture of Google made people around the world start to think. And while some people’s thoughts stayed in the realm of jealousy that Google employees have such a fun, inspiring workplace compared to their own nine-to-five, some people had other ideas. Bigger ideas. Ideas about how to use Google’s “culture of success and employee happiness” to their advantage.
These were the people who went on to create startups of their own which included fun as part of their brand story, rather than concentrating solely on productivity, efficiently, and the bottom line.
Funky, Delightful Product Names
Tina Aldatz and Margarita Floris both had backgrounds in fashion retail, entrepreneurship, and marketing and sales. But it wasn’t until they banded together to create their unique line of Savvy Travelers wipes – individually packaged and disposable wipes with specific functions designed for travelers, like “Lift Offz” nail-polish remover wipes, “No Sweat” antiperspirant and deodorant wipes, and “Take Offz” all-in-one facial wipes – that they started making fun an essential part of their brand story.
Realizing that 52% of those who travel global for business are women, Aldatz and Floris aimed to create a line of single-use, purpose-specific wipes to do away with the need for bulky packs of all-purpose wipes and clumsy bottles of nail-polish remover.
Their website is essentially fun, and the product names are downright hilarious. After all, only a startup focused on fun would name their personal hygiene wipes “BOTTOMZ UP.”
Bring Your Pet to Work Day
Startups are starting to understand the value that pets can bring to a workplace, and the increase in happiness and productivity of employees who can interact with animals as part of their workday. Creating a pet-friendly workplace has become a no-brainer for California startups including Tradesy, whose office dog Simba has half a dozen nicknames and (apparently) has no qualms about modeling human clothing for the delight of his work friends.
Two Bit Circus, a tech startup that invited website visitors to enter into their “world of fun,” has a menagerie of pets to keep workers happy: one of whom wears a lipstick kiss on her forehead in her owner’s signature shade, and another who is apparently betrothed to an employee by the name of Jason, once he can afford her dowry.
Crazy, comical, or just plain fun: there’s no doubt that startups who take the opportunity to include pets in their workplace culture are treating their employees as more than just money-making machines.
Company Pastimes Vs. Company Growth
Built in Los Angeles made a study of fifteen of the fastest growing companies in Los Angeles towards the end of 2015, and noted a fascinating correlation between growth and a company culture of fun.
- Amobee employees are obsessed with ping pong
- Cargomatic staff have catered lunches twice a week, and enjoy basketball and beach volleyball after hours
- Instantly staff take out their frustrations with laser tag
The correlation is clear: building a culture of fun makes for happier, more loyal employees, and directly contributes to the bottom line.
Does your workplace foster a culture of fun? Let us know in the comments below, and please like and share.