Some companies get it. They understand that fostering a positive corporate culture is more than just whacking a foosball table in the tea room or getting everyone hammered for free on a Friday night. It's about creating an atmosphere, an environment that encourages productivity but promotes a bit of fun as well.
When people think of "fun places to work" they usually think of Google. There's a good reason for this; who wouldn't want a free lunch everyday or even the option to bring a pet to work? Perhaps the latter has its drawbacks if one of the employees has a penchant for tarantulas or even one of these (best to keep him away from the watercooler).
Unfortunately for Melburnians, Australia's Google HQ is situated up with our Sydney friends. Still, our humble town has a number of workplaces that has everyone frantically updating their resumes for.
A lot of organisations brag about their guiding philosophies but few actually practice what they preach. OBS is an exception.
Apart from their seven company principles – such as respecting individuality and encouraging improvement - the company also has an Xbox room and provides free laptops every two years.
OBS also prove that you don't have to sell an exciting product to create an exciting workplace. After all, SharePoint – OBS' main point of focus – isn't exactly the Sharon Stone of the working industry.
NetApp has been consistently voted in as one of America's best workplaces. This reputation has also been proudly smudged upon their Melbourne offices.
Unlike other popular workplaces, the focus is not on tangible benefits. Rather NetApp believe a "happy employee is a productive employee" and go to great lengths to ensuring a genuine work/life balance. They also believe in a flat hierarchical structure, meaning that everyone is of equal status.
Sure, we've all heard that spiel before, but NetApp seem to pull it off more convincingly than the rest.
A quick visit to Ikon Communications' website will give you a strong indication to why they were voted Australia's 8th best workplace by BRW.
Aside from the low turnover rate and their innovative approach to working with clients, Ikon integrates a sense of fun into their culture. The company is all about being "ikonoclastic", which, according to them, means doing things differently and re-visioning popular beliefs.
Thankfully being "ikonoclastic" is vastly different to being "iconoclastic". Super glad they changed that "c".
The MCG siren blower
What a gig. You get to watch all the action from the finest seat in the house. Plus, how hard is it to press a button to sound a siren? You've probably got assistant timekeepers to help as well. Sign me up. No, seriously.
The mighty Googleplex campus. Sigh. Photo: Durova (wikimedia commons)
Perhaps one of the biggest lessons we can learn is that it doesn't matter too much where we work. Often it's the relationships we develop with our co-workers that determines our level of happiness. Of course, that can always be tricky if you have a micro-managing boss or a co-worker who uses air for deodorant.
And, well, some workplaces are just impossible to enjoy. Try working here, for example (viewer discretion advised). Eek.
Disagree with the above? Think your work beats 'em all? Express a thought or three below.