top 10 coolest companies to work for in chicago
By o.c. tanner
Culture | June 18, 2013
Famous for great pizza, multiple professional sports teams, Oprah, and the Magnificent Mile, Chicago always seems to have a great buzz about it. America’s third most populated city has attracted an abundance of awesome companies that take employee appreciation to the next level. Let’s take a peek at the 10 coolest companies to work for in Chicago.
Tasty Catering has helped Chicago gain its reputation for excellent food. Besides providing quality cuisine, this catering company is also a cool place to work. Employees receive regular bonuses and awards for reaching their company’s goals. Tasty Catering also gives its workers free lunch every day. Excellent wages, great benefits, bonuses, and free lunch all make Tasty Catering an obvious choice for this top ten list.
The ever-growing ad agency, Tris3ct, is another clear-cut choice for our cool company list. Its nearly 100 employees enjoy working in an open, loft-styled office and having a voice in the company. During meetings, the company’s executives expect to hear from even the lowest ranked employee. Tris3ct gives its workers a paid comprehensive health care plan and a “perk du jour”—an employee indoor soccer team, Iron Ch3f competitions, and an employee art gallery. As if that’s not enough, Tris3ct is also known to have spontaneous team-building exercises like Jenga.
SWC is a team oriented company. They have a reputation for being loyal to their employees, giving their workers a lot of exposure to different environments and technology, and organizing a lot of fun, expensive after hour activities. In the company’s quest to help their employees live balanced lives, SWC organizes happy hours, lunch activities, employee talent shows, trivia contests, and even dodgeball games. It’s safe to say that SWC is one of the coolest companies in Chicago.
Any company that has a $100,000 tree house is bound to be a crazy fun place to work. Red Frog employees are allowed to work in this tree house or anywhere else around the office. On their breaks, workers can enjoy the in-house zip line, foosball tables, or even grab a free beer. Seriously. Red Frog employees also enjoy unlimited vacation time, a 401k, and a health plan with no deductible. When looking to hold a meeting, employees are encouraged to use a table surrounded by swings or one made of LEGOS. What’s not to love in that kind of environment? Well done, Red Frog. Well done.
Nitel, a company that provides telecom services to rural areas, holds at least one major activity for its employees every month. Some past activities include an office massage day, Cubs games, and even a beach volleyball tournament. Nitel also hosts an employee 5k run/walk and donates all the proceeds to charity.
Model Metrics trusts its employees to get the job done, no matter where they are. Many of its workers use subsidized iPads and smart phones to work from wherever they are. The company also allows employees to take as much time off as they want, as long as they fulfill their job requirements. The new office building doesn’t have any offices, either. Employees can sit wherever and with whomever.
Milhouse Engineering and Construction is all about Fridays. Every Friday is called “Orange Friday”, and employees are encouraged to wear their best and brightest orange clothing. Whoever wears the most orange (one of Milhouse’s primary colors) gets a reward that day. It could be cash or paid time off.The company’s CEO also has a lunch delivered to the office every other Friday. Plus, with a monthly happy hour event at various local restaurants and bars, Milhouse works hard to make sure its employees feel appreciated.
If vacation is a priority for you, kCura is the place to work. Its employees get 18 paid days off, plus another 11 paid holidays. That’s essentially a whole month of PTO! Throw in a lunchroom with darts, a game room, and a ping-pong table, and kCura is looking like a pretty cool place to work. In addition to the fun workplace environment, kCura throws parties and has activities outside of work. Monthly happy hours, cook offs, and family picnics help employees enjoy time away from work, as well.
At Assurance, a property and casualty insurance company, having a life/work balance is key. The company has multiple staff appreciation days, where the CEO and other executives go out of their way to make sure employees know how much their work is valued. They have had fresh fruit delivered, dance classes, and even an massage day. Employee wellness programs are also important at Assurance. The company provides its employees with exercise classes, a 5k run, and nutrition seminars to help improve wellness at work.
As an employee at Centro, you can expect yoga classes, fresh fruit, concerts, basketball games and more. Check out this video where employees brag about what a cool place it is to work. Besides these perks, Centro also provides employees with a ton of benefits and lots of time off, too—15 paid days off, 10 personal days, paid holidays, paid maternal and paternal leave, tuition reimbursement, and a three week paid sabbatical after your first year. Workers even get a free gym membership.
Whether it’s unlimited time off, free drinks, or employee appreciation days, it’s easy to see why these companies made our top ten list of coolest places to work in Chicago. Interested in other cool companies in the U.S.? Check out which organizations made our lists in Dallas, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Boston.