50 Best places for active people to work

If you’re anything like me, your training is probably close to your last priority of the day (I can feel coach Jen deleting me from her client base).

For me it’s true. I commute, work, have a family, obligations… Oh and that little 140.6 mile race I want to do…

Some work days are slow enough to sneak out to the gym for a swim or run in the afternoon. More than often they’re not. But outside of training, I need to account for time off if I want to travel to races or take a day to recover after (since most races are on Sundays).

Take Mooseman for example, I flew out Thursday and flew back Monday, there go three of my 10 vacation days I get each year.

I read a great article in Outside Magazine about the best places for “active” people to work… I can only imagine having an onsite gym (sorry NBC but the 2 treadmill, 1 elliptical $60/month closet doesn’t count). Some of the 5o companies listed will cover your race fees or give additional time off to travel to events.

Now granted I work for a company with over 100,000 employees and some of the places Outside Magazine listed have less than 30 employees. So I under stand the cost difference associated but still it would be nice to be to have  something like Clif Bar’s annual Epiphany Ride!

Here are a few of the places and perks that really caught my eye. And if any of these places are thinking of opening up shop in Chicago, you can find my information here!

#46 Nixon Watches: 70 Employees

We have created a collaborative atmosphere when it comes to developing products, projects, and processes. It doesn’t matter if you have been here ten days or ten years, the best idea wins. We invest in our workforce whether it’s developing personal education, elevating the tools we use to get our jobs done, or creating fun events our employees can use to build relationships with each other and burn off steam. We have an open-door policy and monthly all-hands meetings on the first Friday of every month. We allow pets in the office.

If employees are going for a surf, skate, run, or any workout activity, there is a locker room for them to change clothes, shower, and secure valuables. Employees can borrow surfboards or skateboards to surf or skate locally. Bikes and boards were given to every employees as a year-end gift to promote local transportation—a healthy alternative to driving.

We have a company snowboard trip where we close our office on Friday and hire buses to take employees and significant others snowboarding for the weekend. Transportation, lodging, food, and use fees are completely covered by Nixon.

#43 Miresball (Ad & PR Firm): 32 Employees

Comprehensive benefits packages provide medical and dental care, life and disability insurance, paid vacation and sick leave, and retirement savings. To encourage physical fitness, the company sponsors an employee kickball team. Employees have the flexibility to plan their work schedule around their outdoor commitments, from training for marathons to tennis leagues to hiking trips.

No one complains if employees leave a bit early to pick up their kids or come in a few minutes late after a medical appointment—or because they were out surfing. The firm recognizes that employees can generate big ideas outside of traditional business hours, not to mention outdoors.

#42 SmartWool: 88 Employees

Each employee is given a season ski pass for their hometown ski resort. Employees are also given the opportunity to purchase an annual activity pass for their choice of activity, such as a season pass to the local health club, golf course, or other activity. The employee is then reimbursed for their activity pass up to $150.

June was turned into bike-to-work month in Steamboat Springs. We had nearly 100 percent participation at SmartWool. Our Smarties Commute program continues to grow and gain momentum. In 2010, we carpooled, walked, ran, or biked more than 40,000 miles to and from work. We also have an annual ride that we do from Steamboat Springs to the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City. This year the company had 30 people participate in the four-day, 400-mile bike ride.

SmartWool also offers summer hours that allow employees to take advantage of the longer days and warmer temperatures to get out and enjoy the outdoors. During the winter months, employees are encouraged to use flexible working hours and partake in snow days if there is fresh powder on the ski slopes. During the summer, every Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. employees meet in the main entry and depart for bike rides, both mountain and road. They ride for approximately two hours and then meet at a local watering hole to share stories from the ride, relax, and ease into the weekend.

#27 Santa Cruz Bicycles: 65 Employees

We provide bikes for our employees to ride in the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains, on trails that start about a mile from our office.

All employees have a flexible window from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. to start work. We allow for time away from work to go for a bike ride during the day or to just go to the beach. As long as their work is being accomplished, we give our employees the flexibility to manage their time and have an excellent work-quality-outside-life balance.

#26 Fuse (Marketing Agency): 36 Employees

Fuse provides a year-end bonus to full-time employees based on agency performance during the year, as well as 401(k) profit sharing. In addition, the agency provides periodic employee gifts. In a past year, the gift was a custom sweatshirt with artwork designed by an employee. In the summer of 2009, to celebrate Fuse moving to the new renovated-mill office space, staff were treated to a half-day canoe and kayak trip down the Winooski River. In 2010, to commemorate Fuse’s 15-year anniversary, Fuse gave an iPad to each full-time employee.
 Each year at Fuse’s holiday party, Fuse partners recognize and celebrate its employees who have reached their 5-year anniversary. Award recipients receive a commemorative trophy as well as a special gift specifically selected to match the employee’s interests. Examples include a surf trip to Nicaragua, a helicopter snowboarding trip, a Mac laptop, and a motor scooter.

Fuse has a rec area within our offices. The space contains a skateboard halfpipe, basketball hoop, and room for other fitness activities. Fuse has stand-up paddleboards for staff to use during lunchtime on the Winooski River, which is located just outside the office. Fuse’s office includes a shower, which allows staff to exercise on the way to work or during lunch. Fuse encourages staff to ride to work and offers a bike-repair stand and tools. In addition, there are loaner bikes to use to cruise for lunch or errands. Fuse offers full-time employees a season resort pass at their choice of several ski or snowboard areas in Vermont. A fitness reimbursement program provides an annual allowance that can be used for a number of fitness, recreational, and wellness products and services. Staff have used this benefit to purchase numerous mountain bikes, a kayak, a rowing machine, rock-climbing gear, Pilates and yoga classes, nutritional counseling, and personal fitness training.
Fuse organizes numerous team-building activities, including moonlit snowshoe hikes, canoe and whitewater-rafting trips, and a company ride day at a local resort each year.
In 2010, Fuse offered employees the opportunity to receive an ergonomic analysis of their workstation and a coaching session with a wellness professional.

From Memorial Day through Labor Day, Fuse has half-day Fridays. It is very common to see a group of employees go mountain biking or trail running together to make the most of their afternoon off. Fuse also has a winter snow policy that encourages staff to hit the mountain when it snows 12 or more inches in 24 hours. Staff can catch first runs in fresh powder in the morning and make up their hours at the end of the day. To be sure staff maintain a healthy work-life balance and to prevent burnout, there is a comp-day program that allows staff to earn a day off for each full day worked on a weekend.

#12 TRX: 146 Employees

Our state-of-the-art employee-only New Training Center (NTC) is located on the top floor of our worldwide headquarters. There are sweeping views of the Bay Bridge, part of the downtown skyline, and the San Francisco Bay. This 1,000-square-foot spot is the single most coveted in the building. Employees are invited and encouraged to make working out a priority and schedule work time around exercise. The NTC is open to employees at any time of the day or night and also offers organized group functional-training classes using TRX Suspension Trainers, Rip Trainers, jump ropes, medicine balls, and kettle bells throughout the day. These classes are conducted by either our own highly trained programming staff, by our education staff, or by local TRX instructors. It’s common to use employee workouts as a venue to verify programming concepts and new TRX moves.

The facility also features two Concept2 rowing machines, a Power Plate, bike trainers, and a fully stocked locker room.
The original TRX Training Center (TTC), located ten blocks away from our offices, features more than 50 classes a week to the general public, but employees are allowed to sign up for free. This is a 2,400-square-foot space dedicated to functional training with an emphasis on Suspension Training. The TTC is equipped with towels, showers, lockers, and highly trained instructors leading the classes.

We have free personal trainers on staff, and employees can also take advantage of free body-composition analysis and exercise tracking.

Each new hire is encouraged to learn the benefits of our product offerings and are given a TRX Suspension Trainer, Rip Trainer, and instructional DVDs for getting started. We encourage people to get outside and get on the TRX. We encourage group outings to take our product outside and work out together on trees, fences, and monkey bars to engage other fitness enthusiasts and break up the workday.

We provide an annual stipend for races, community events, and more. We have fresh fruit delivered every morning and a steady supply of raw almonds and energy bars, and we have a fully outfitted kitchen where employees can cook their own healthful meals.

We also allow flexible hours for competitive athletes to train in the morning or afternoon. We often have world-class athletes in the office and head out to train with them during the workday.

#5 Clif Bar: 272 Employees

Clif Bar and Company has an on-site gym with two yoga/dance studios and a main workout area, including a bouldering wall, stationary bikes, treadmills, free weights, resistance machines, a variety of stability and yoga supplies and props, and a private office for trainers. There are on-site showers and a towel service, so employees can shower after bike commuting to work or after working out in the gym on the clock. There are indoor bike racks and a fleet of in-house cruisers for employees to borrow for errands or to ride to a local lunch spot. Employees can work out for two and a half hours each week on company time. They can exercise with one of five on-site personal trainers, take one (or more) of 32 complimentary fitness classes offered each week, or work out on their own, all for free. Furthermore, employees have access to free nutritional counseling and life coaching (six visits of each per year), subsidized on-site massage and chiropractic services, an annual on-site health fair offering preventive health screening and information on holistic health options, and wellness seminars on topics such as healthy eating, stress, and holistic health. Clif also reimburses employees up to $350 per year for registrations or entry fees to defray the cost of participating in athletic competitions, including but not limited to marathons, triathlons, century bike rides, and 10K or 5K walk-run events.

Employees may opt to work a 9/80 schedule, in which employees work 80 hours in nine days and take every other Friday off. This schedule assumes nine hours worked Monday through Thursday and eight hours worked every other Friday. After seven years of service, employees enjoy a six-to-eight-week sabbatical.

#1 Natural Habitat Adventures: 35 Employees

We have a bonus structure in place for most departments, with bonuses based on such goals as assisting a certain number of travelers in a month to managing specific-size destinations in terms of numbers of travelers. Team leaders have year-end bonuses based on overall company health and revenue. We have numerous travel incentives for our employees, involving a two-week site inspection each year. We each have the chance to join one of our high-end wildlife safaris abroad annually, with a handsome travel budget that covers nearly all expenses. Summerfest, Winterfest, and the holiday party: company-organized events when we close the office entirely and take the entire staff on a lengthy outing. Winterfest is regularly a chartered bus to ski all day, with dinner and bar hops on the return drive home. Summerfest has been multi-day rafting trips, parties at the reservoir, etc. These are team-building and morale-boosting opportunities, as well as the chance to socialize with upper management.

Natural Habitat Adventures provides a state-of-the-art fitness center, which employees can use and access any time at no cost. The two-story structure supports aerobic machines on one level, with top-of-the-line weights, machines, and open mat space to support any type of indoor exercise need on the other level. We have a group workout space where we offer complimentary yoga and Pilates classes, and personalized small groups like P90X. A trainer has several group-workout sessions scheduled in which small groups of employees commit together to participate. Our office is located in a rural setting, with hiking and biking trails linked to our lot. We actively encourage everyone to spend time outside, eat well in our subsidized organic cafeteria, enjoy fitness classes, the gym, and the outdoor beauty of Colorado. We allow everyone the chance to take a longer lunch or leave early on Fridays from time to time to enjoy the great outdoors in summer. We also provide company ski passes, which we allow employees to sign up for and use at any time—even on heavy snow days during the week, if their work is covered.

Natural Habitat Adventures offers flexible work hours for parents and additional paid time off in the event of family emergencies. We recognize that many of our employees have family obligations that they must juggle along with their work lives, and we do our best to aid with that process while still allowing them to be effective members of our industry. We have also granted longtime employees a leave of absence for a three-month period to live and work in Africa, holding their job until their return. On top of their two weeks of site inspection (during which NHA pays for their adventure), employees start with three weeks of vacation and receive a fourth week after three years of service.

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