How 6 companies enjoy Chicago summers while at work

Andreas Rekdal

When you live in a place with winters as bitter as Chicago's, the few summer months we have are a precious opportunity to soak up some sun and get out and about. In recognition of that fact, many companies offer their employees extra time off to take advantage of the sunshine while it lasts.

But in addition to taking time off, many Chicagoans like to soak up the sun during work hours, too. Here's how they do it:

Located in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood, Opternative’s rooftop has a great view of the rest of the city. And the company’s employees make sure to take advantage of it whenever they can.

"The legend of Opternative's rooftop is real,” said community manager Eric Pitt. “Some say that the view from Opternative's rooftop is one of the best in the city. While most companies simply use their outdoor space for relaxation, the Opternative team will routinely host meetings and brainstorming sessions on this oasis."

In most organizations, meetings are a necessary evil. But when the weather turns more pleasant, employees at’s Evanston office turn smaller meetings into a summertime perk.

“When the weather is beautiful or even just not wicked, we take advantage of walking meetings,” said CMO Kim Evenson. “It’s a perfect 25 minute round trip from my desk to the lake and back. Conversations that might have been small and tactical benefit from the fresh air and broader horizons.”

bswift’s office building along the Chicago River maintains a landscaped patio area with benches that employees use for breaks, one-on-ones and eating lunch. Even in colder months, bswifters get loads of natural light, as practically every workstation is completely surrounded by windows.

“So bswifters can enjoy amazing views all day long, we keep their desks and common areas next to the building’s giant windows,” said CEO and President Kerry Sain.

In Chicago’s summer months, the tech-savvy fashionistas over at Trunk Club enjoy their furnished rooftop both for work and play.

"Here at Trunk Club, we tend to embody a relaxed work hard, play hard-culture,” said Senior Sales Director Jan Seale. “We wanted to make sure that in the summer months our team had a place where they can work, entertain clients and socialize with coworkers. At the end of the day, we want our space to feel like an extension of our home."


Getting outside during the workday is great, but getting out of work to get outside is even better. That’s why Sprout Social hosts an annual summer outing, where they bond while canoeing right outside the city.

"During our annual ‘Great Sproutdoors’ event, our whole team steps away from the office and heads to the Fox River for a day of canoeing,” said Director of Talent Jim Conti. “It is a great, laid-back way to take advantage of the summer weather and beautiful environment while getting to know one another better."


Seriously, though, this picture from Havas’ rooftop speaks for itself.


Images via listed companies.

Does your company have a story to tell? Shoot us an email, or follow us on Twitter @BuiltInChicago.

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