These 3 office spaces prove not all tech innovation happens in River North

by Tessa McLean
April 30, 2015






Sports technology, data and content company
Employees at location: Over 200
Date founded: 1981
Location: Northbrook, IL
What were your considerations when choosing an office space and designing its layout?
When we moved to our new office space in 2007 the two topics on everyone’s mind were location and growth. We wanted to make sure we were located in a place that was right for key employees and there was plenty of room to grow. Once we found an office that felt right we started thinking about the little things that really make a difference for employees. Things like, is there enough parking? Is there public transportation nearby? Are there places to eat lunch nearby? What social options are in the area for after work events? We wanted a space that would provide an open and collaborative environment for all departments, while helping to maintain our culture. 
What are some of the perks of working in your office? Why are these important to you?
STATS has a very unique culture, because sports are the heart and soul of our company employees have a lot of unique opportunities. One being company sponsored sport leagues. Two would be sports related social activities like Tuesday morning hockey and Friday hoops. We also have a casual dress code which puts the emphasis on their work not adhering to a dress code. Third, each work space has cable access allowing employees access to up to 200 different channels to view during work. We also host two employee appreciation events during the year, as well as a social/networking committee to encourage company comradery through happy hours and other weekly events. We feel it is important to take care of our employees because happy employees do good work. 
How do you think office design affects work culture?
Office culture and space design go hand in hand. To attract the creative and technical staff we need to serve our clients, we continually look to redefine the space in which the work. We continue to work on our environment to ensure it provides opportunity for collaboration and cross departmental interaction. 
If you would like to learn more about STATS, head to Harry Caray’s in downtown Chicago on Thursday, April 30th between 3-8pm for free drinks, food, giveaways and networking.   


Commercial provider of online memorials
Employees at location: Over 140
Date founded: 1998
Location: Evanston, IL
What were your considerations when pick an office space and designing its layout?
We’ve been in our spaces for a number of years, but we recently did some renovations to make a more open environment where employees can easily exchange ideas and get to know each other.  We’ve also livened things up with fresh coats of colorful paint and interesting art work on the walls.
What are some of the perks of working in your office? Why are these important to you?
We offer weekly breakfasts and lunches, a stocked kitchen full of healthy (and less-healthy-but-still-yummy) snacks and beverages, and some gaming systems for de-stressing.  We think these make for a comfortable and relaxed work environment that our employees don’t mind spending 8 hours a day in.
How do you think office design affects work culture?
Our space used to be much more closed off and our cubicles had very high walls, neither of which were conducive to spontaneity, creativity, and conversation.  Since we’ve done our renovations, the office is much livelier and employees are more likely to converse with each other in person than just exchange emails.  It’s been great for team cohesiveness and productivity.




Mobile security company
Employees at location: Over 50
Date founded: 2008
Location: Oak Park, IL
Answers from Chee-Young Kim (President) and Mike Dwyer (Director of Talent)
What were your considerations when pick an office space and designing its layout?
The first thing we thought of was location, location, location! In Oak Park, we’re a 5 minute walk from the Green line as well as near over 70 restaurants, which gives the area a cosmopolitan feel. At the same time, we have a park directly outside of our office as well as access to street parking for those of our employees who commute. 
When we began designing our office, ease of collaboration and comfort were paramount. We installed several skylights as well as consciously using light colored paints and flooring in order to create an open, airy, positive feel. Our office has an open floor plan with several private conference rooms, with the walls for the conference rooms being all glass to give a sense of accessibility as well as making the entire space feel bigger. We provide ergonomic chairs to all our employees as well as a laptops so that they are not tethered to their desks, can have impromptu video calls anytime and can work from anywhere.
Over half of our workforce is entirely remote, and we have several employees who work remotely a few days each week. Because of that, we have several desks that are designated as hotel desks among these employees. We believe this contributes to the atmosphere of collaboration that is so essential among startups. In addition to desks, employees can work in any of the private rooms or on several comfy chairs throughout the office.
What are some of the perks of working in your office?  Why are these important to you?
New employees receive a buddy and periodic check ins. We provide catered ChowSecure lunches every other week. These give employees the time to talk about their lives outside of work and build strong relationships anchored in friendship. We also have ping pong, foosball and several gaming consoles so employees can relax when they need to. On Friday evenings, we have company-sponsored happy hours (that often extend for the entire evening!) to help everyone get to know each other. Also, there are several informal clubs (book club, walking club, squats club, etc) that employees organize in person or over Slack (the messaging service we use). 
Recently, we have also added a third week of paid vacation for employees as well as creating a repository for anonymous questions to our weekly Ask Me Anything with our CEO Andrew Hoog. We have also revised our work from home policy. We hire driven, intelligent individuals, so we trust them to know where they are most productive and happiest. Individuals can discuss working remotely with their managers to create a schedule that makes everyone happy. 
How do you think office design affects work culture?
We believe that environments have huge sway over employee state of mind. Our industry moves incredibly quickly, and it is so important to be able to focus on your work as well as recharge. The ability to feel comfortable and relaxed means our employees will concentrate on their work instead of discomfort or any other concerns with their environment. 
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