Leading Software-Powered Freight Forwarder
San Francisco, Amsterdam, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Chicago
We think it’s important to like the people you work with, which is why we invest heavily in building relationships within and between teams. Our onsite lunch catering and large kitchen spaces make it easy for teams to eat together. To that end, we try to keep our teams small enough to fit around one or two kitchen tables. If it's nice outside, some teams might leave the building and eat in a nearby park, or they’ll take their lunches to a room to watch videos or chat about topics of interest.
Teams also have offsite budgets to spend as they wish. In the past, teams have gone to lunches, pedicures, escape rooms, karaoke, woodshop classes, baseball games, and more. Onsite, it’s not uncommon for people to get together for things like book clubs, board game sessions, poker games, and Super Smash tournaments.
At the end of the day, our teams are cross-functional, and you aren’t limited to only forging relationships with people who do the same thing as you. An engineer can expect to get to know designers, product managers, business leaders, and operations folks. What’s more, a lot of people like to use a Slack extension called Donut, which matches up random people across the company every two weeks, regardless of role, and invites them to go grab a donut or coffee and become acquaintances.
26 Open Positions
It’s well known that meetings can stifle an engineer’s workflow, and while we can share company-wide news through newsletters and Slack channels, we’ve found that the best way to improve the “glue” is to let it happen organically over lunch. For example, an engineer might overhear our operations team complaining about a particular contract and connect the dots to a recent feature push that may have been the root cause. Every day, when our catered lunch arrives, everyone stops working to eat lunch with members of their own team and connect with people from other departments. This is the time for spontaneous collaboration and cross-pollination. Some companies underestimate the value of having everyone eat lunch with their peers. We don’t.
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Lunch time is casual for us, but it’s also an important part of our day. Friends frequently drop by and we talk about everything from bitcoin, VR, and gaming to what we’re doing on our off days (okay, sometimes those overlap). We’ll often go grab lunch together from somewhere near our Mission/SOMA office, or everyone will bring their own lunch. (We do this when we try to be healthy.)
We provide lunch 3 days per week and commonly take trips out together when we don’t (particularly if it involves a visit to the local Blue Bottle Cafe). On any given day, our communal kitchen table sports homemade pie (particularly popular on 3/14), lemons from a backyard tree, or treats brought back from exotic trips. The generous spirit that fuels our product development also fuels our stomachs. And while we enjoy eating lunch together, we’ll also sometimes eat dinner together after a team happy hour!
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The MetroTech Commons is right outside our building and is surrounded by eateries which are almost all on MealPal. Team members will usually find a table and congregate there to talk about anything from the latest Laravel LTS version to how they feel about the new iPhoneX.
We also have regularly scheduled lunch events called Lunch and Learns where someone in the company will present insights from their department or teach a skill they are a master of. Some notable topics are playing guitar, SQL, closing deals, and video editing.
1 Open Positions
We always want to find time to take a break, step away from what we’re focusing in, and touch base with one another. Sometimes it’s about work, and sometimes it’s not. Either way, it’s important to us on principle that teams enjoy the time they spend with their peers and make it a priority to catch up over food. We’re currently moving to a bigger office space, but we like to leave the office, get a scene change, and buy lunch somewhere each day.
First, our office culture (see below!) encourages a high proportion of quiet, focused work time, so lunchtime provides a compensating opportunity for social bonding and the informal, osmotic diffusion of knowledge and ideas. We embrace this break in the middle of the day as a valuable part of the way our business works. Our primary motivation for providing lunch in the office has nothing to do with time efficiency. In fact, we are experimenting with ways to layer more supported social interaction into our culture. (One experiment we're running is a cultural event series, where small groups attend outside events such as plays and concerts together.)
Second, we consciously make an effort not to sit by team. Engineers, recruiters, salespeople, and other customer-facing staff all mix at our lunch tables every day. This leads to more diverse conversations as well as a team that is more attuned to the needs of customers and the company.
Lastly, every Friday, we have “Show and Tell”, an all-hands meeting that overlaps with the second half of Pacific Time lunch. Scheduling our all-hands at lunchtime allows a larger proportion of people to attend, compared to an all-hands held at the end of the day, when parents are often running for the exits. (Of course, the presentations are also recorded, for anyone who isn’t available during that time.)
At Show and Tell, anyone, regardless of seniority, is encouraged to sign up (in an Airtable base shared company-wide, of course) to present anything worth sharing with a broader audience. We often kick off the meeting with a brief slide of pet photos (Airtable <3 animals) and then launch into short presentations. The content varies widely, but often includes demos of features-in-progress, reports of customer conversations, and more formal company-wide announcements. Show and Tell is a crucial and ever-evolving part of our culture, and we wouldn't be the same company without it.
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Our cross-team and cross-functional collaboration happen naturally as we all like to have lunch together every day. Our free, catered-in lunch is just an added perk of sitting down with a colleague and enjoying a meal together. Don't you end up eating with the same people who you normally hang out with anyways, you might ask? Not at Checkr! We have a built-in opportunity to join an optional group lunch every Friday with randomly selected people throughout the company, so you get to know and stay connected with each other better.
While we’re still too small for catering, we did start paying for lunch at the end of 2018. As a team, we like to mix it up between getting food delivered or going out to places like Rooster & Rice, Native Co, Sweetgreen, and Super Duper Burger together.
On Fridays we do Sparkwap Study Sessions during (or usually right after) lunch, which is a presentation/talk from someone on the team about a core technology. We usually talk about bigger picture and longer term issues during lunch, but more than anything, it’s the best time to enjoy one another’s company. We like to do things like contests to see if a coffeephile can really tell the difference between a pour-over and french press (spoiler alert: Danny can’t).
Like every other startup in the world, we often provide free food at the office (yay!), but beyond that, we eat together for the same reason we play softball and volleyball and go out together: we love spending time with each other!
In LA, we have Taco Tuesdays and grill on the top floor balcony of our office. We often go out to grab lunch and get sunshine together, and every Thursday, we have a happy hour around 4:30pm which we often combine with Lightning Talks. From “the history of space exploration” to the Mandela Effect, anyone can volunteer to present on anything that interests them.
In Chicago, we typically venture out of the office to pick up food together. We then gather at our picnic tables to eat as a big family. We have weekly happy hours, have hosted many SoFarSounds, and our Chi-Town team members also play in both kickball and volleyball leagues together.
To make sure everyone at the company gets to know each other, we use the donut app through Slack which matches you with a new co-worker every two weeks. Everyone gets to know one another and share lunch, coffee, or drinks. You can also be matched with someone in London, Australia, or Argentina for a fun Zoom session!
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Lunch is the time of the day where we can relax and talk about non-work related things. We have a private office in a co-working space, so there is always life around us. At least once a month there is an event in the co-working space that some people from our team participate in.
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Agile Product Development Consultancy
San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chattanooga, and New York
Our offices in San Francisco, Santa Monica, Chattanooga, and New York City all have big farmhouse tables that we congregate at for lunch. (Though in Chattanooga, people tend to go out for lunch together instead.) We have a tradition on Wednesday where each week, one person presents a lunch talk at each office. It doesn’t have to be about technology, and it can be off the cuff. Talk about an interesting article you read earlier in the week and open it up for discussion, or bring in clay and teach everyone pottery! We do it alphabetically and when it’s your turn, you can talk about whatever you want. Are you already thinking about what you’d present?
Our team values collaboration and time together as a whole, which is why we have huge picnic tables in the center of our office! It's a chance to socialize with other team members and spend some time away from your desk. You can find yourself having a casual chat with someone on another team about favorite restaurants or a thoughtful debate about a public issue -- either way you’ll enjoy the company of others and a get breather from your work duties. We have catered lunch 2x a week, plus special catered breakfast here and there. We also have a fully stocked kitchen with drinks and snacks.
We value company culture and what better way to bring people together than over some amazing food? Stationed right in the heart of Gastown, Vancouver, there are plenty of outstanding places to eat. Our legendary BBB (beer, bourbon, bacon) team outing is a magical place filled with dreams and tasty treats! You’ll have to join us to get the full experience. From company-wide Quiplash to Family Feud, lunchtime can sometimes be filled with entertaining group games. We work hard but we also play hard and we’re proud of it. We work hard but we also play hard and we’re proud of it. This keeps us fresh and ready to take on new challenges alongside people we enjoy spending time with.
Thursday’s lunches are sponsored by Thread, and each group has a designated leader that gets to pick the place! We also have catered lunch brought in to the office 3 days/week (and yes, we accommodate all dietary needs and restrictions!). We encourage everyone to take time away from their work to eat lunch together. It’s good for “Enjoying the Journey Together” (one of our values!) and also encourages serendipitous discussions. Every other week, we have a Lunch & Learn where someone gets to teach the team about a hobby, interest, or passion project. Some recent examples include Crit racing and barbecuing the perfect brisket.
Lunches are catered daily at Instacart and eating together has become an important part of our culture over the years. A good meal can bring people together in a powerful way, and we love sharing stories, getting to know one another, and bonding over delicious food.
We also take advantage of lunchtime to host regular “Hackers Lunch” meetings every Thursday. While these are optional in both our SF and Toronto offices, they’re a great opportunity to practice our public speaking skills and share what projects we’ve been working on with folks that aren’t in your immediate team. In the past, people have presented on topics like The New PagerDuty, Efficient Services, Technical Writing for Fun and Profit, and Building Availability Models. Once a month, we also have our technical all-hands meeting where we do deep dives into cross-departmental projects.
Of course, if anyone wants or needs to get some Super Smash Brothers in during their workday, we have a club that meets during lunch. 😉
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