project44 Just Launched a New Employee Perk: Luxury Van Getaways
The tech industry is known for its employee perks: unlimited PTO, free lunch and even on-site massage therapists.
Now, project44 is introducing a new benefit: a remote-work road trip in a luxury conversion van equipped with mobile internet, electricity, a shower and heating and air conditioning.
Project44 is renting the van from Roameo, a Colorado-based startup with a fleet of 22 souped-up conversion vans they call “mobile suites.”
project44 is the first tech company to rent a van from Roameo for an employee perk program.
When project44 announced the new van-cation perk, employees at the Chicago-based logistics unicorn jumped at the opportunity, filling all of the available time slots within 10 minutes.
Twenty employees have made reservations so far, and the initial reviews are glowing.
“Driving cross-country is my favorite pastime, so taking my work on the road was a no-brainer,” project44 communications manager Sara Vermilyea said in a statement. “I drove from Chicago to Colorado to reset and returned to work feeling fully recharged. It was easy, convenient and comfortable. This is by far one of the coolest perks at p44.”
project44 initially offered the luxury vans in an eight-week pilot program, but due to its popularity, the company extended the program. The additional slots filled up immediately.
One of project44’s software engineers recently tweeted how much they appreciated the ability to code while visiting the Badlands.
The flexibility of remote work and the freedom of the open road is what drew Annie Aladjova and Robert Nathan to start Roameo in the first place.
The husband-and-wife team both worked in tech companies — Aladjova in finance and Nathan in logistics — and both founded their own startups in Chicago before selling their companies, heading out west to Colorado and launching their venture capital firm Value Chain Ventures.
When the pandemic hit, they took their first van-cation through the Wind River Mountain Range in Wyoming and were so enamored with their experience they decided to make the experience available to others.
“We wanted to eliminate the barriers to the great outdoors, but also cater to people that wanted to be productive and be able to work from anywhere or work from the wild,” Nathan said.
Roameo does rent vans directly to consumers, but the company is most excited about its business-to-business possibilities with companies like project44 that want to offer flexible work environments to their employees.
Roameo is catering to enterprise businesses with a booking platform where employees can manage their own bookings and monitor open time slots.
Roameo currently has eight employees. The company is headquartered in Denver and has an outpost in Chicago. It also plans to open an outpost in Las Vegas for people who want to travel to popular destinations like the Grand Canyon or Joshua Tree.
Aladjova and Nathan are also looking into registering their vehicles as mobile command centers with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which might be able to use the vans during hurricanes, wildfires or other emergencies.
Roameo also provides vans to employers with remote employees, for workers who need a quiet office space at home and even for an outdoor enthusiast on a six-month expedition.
Aladjova and Nathan think they will see more demand as companies expand remote work opportunities and recognize the mental health benefits of nature and travel.
“We think there’s an opportunity to provide a service for people, to help them expand how they think about life, how they think about work and the balance of the two,” Nathan said.