HOUSTON (KTRK) --Now that summer vacations are officially over, it's back to work for most people. ABC-13 took a tour of some of Houston's workspaces that have the most unique features with some of the best employee perks.
The architecture and design firm is housed on the second floor of a quaint two story building in Greenway Plaza. It was destroyed after a hurricane in 2008 and sat empty for four years before Inventure bought the property, came in, and gave it a major makeover.
The office is wall to wall with floor to ceiling windows. Even on a rainy, dreary day the space is still bright and cheerful.
But maybe everyone's so happy because of all the perks in the office. Their kitchen is fully stocked with free food and drinks for employees, including alcoholic beverages that employees can drink whenever they want. There's a kegerator with two taps, a wine fridge that Inventure owner Jim O'Niell takes pride in, and enough liquor to throw a fantastic happy hour. And that's exactly what they do, about four times a week.
"It's amazing how many 4 p.m. meetings you'll get scheduled at this place," O'Niell said.
Even the happiest employees get stressed sometimes, so the owner purchases everyone a Nerf gun to keep in a desk drawer. Just wait until about 3 p.m., and the Nerf wars get underway. Not to be outdone, O'Niell has the mac daddy of all Nerf guns at his desk.
You probably guessed it, but with an office this awesome, most employees spend a lot of time away from home. That's why they're allowed to bring their dogs to work about once a month.
If they ever need a break from the office and all its amenities, employees are free to take unlimited paid vacation.
And yes, they're hiring.
Take the elevator up to the 21st floor at a downtown high rise and the first thing you'll see is bright green Astroturf peeking behind the glass doors. That's how you know you're at Spencer Ogden. The oil and gas recruiting company has offices around the world, and you'll find the signature turf in each one.
But it makes for a great place to play soccer. Or to practice your putting game. Or play any other sports the young staff plays throughout the day.
It's a very social office, and that's the way it was meant. The owner's wife designed all the company's offices to look alike, and another Spencer Ogden signature feature is their workspaces. No one has a desk. Instead, all employees sit side-by-side at round tables where they are in constant communication with one another.
Their board room is decorated like a lounge with a leather sofa and chairs featuring both the U.K. and American flags. The conference room looks more like a dining room, and both rooms are filled with authentic Texan, British, and American history artifacts.
Like most offices, the most exciting part of the day comes at 5 p.m., but this one for a totally different reason. The employee that secured a deal during the day takes a lap around the office to his or her favorite song, while all the other employees stand in a high-five line. Then the employee rings a bell that sits mounted on a wall. That bell also happens to have $250 in cash attached to it - a nice bonus to some of its newest, most successful employees.
They just opened up more green turfs in several U.S. cities, and this office may have to relocate its own turf to another space in Houston soon because of how fast the company is growing. They're always hiring.
Entrance Software may just be the hippest office on the Northwest side. From foam rocket launching to pie bake-offs, employees and the boss know how to let loose. When Eyewitness News visited, the perks seemed almost endless including on-site oil changes and dry cleaning pickup. Not to mention, there's a kegerator with St. Arnold's root beer on tap at all times.
The software smarties take a break with a game of "Volley-Pong." There's even a manual handed out to new hires, just to school them on the office sport created by developers at Entrance. There's also a cookbook you'll get once you join the forces. Next to the ping pong table, there's a foosball table for those who need to take a mental break. After they've worked up a sweat, employees head to a kitchen where you may just be tempted to indulge way too much.
Every week, Entrance employees start a "Frabble." Bright colored magnet letters help make the fridge scrabble game possible. Open it up, you've got ice cream for root beer floats and a freezer stocked with smoothie ingredients. You'll hear the blender daily in the kitchen, just few from the "well-being room." That's the spot where you can mediate and perfect your yoga skills. Also, employees are urged to create their own "tangram" to adore the spot next to their name plate.
Founder Nate Richard believes "smart plus fun." He told us you need a well-functioning, smiling team to not just succeed but to thrive. Entrance serves as consultants for oil companies, helping them find the perfect software to make their business boom. It's pretty technical but rest assured once developers feel refreshed, the coding begins. We even witnessed one guy jamming out to Snoop Dogg as he stared into the computer screen, working on algorithms to make the latest client's problem fade away.
Oh, they're always hiring. You just better be packing some serious skills.