A peak inside the headquarters of Shopify
There are reasons Ottawa’s Shopify receives a lot of résumés every week.
One is that it is a highly-successful software company, providing e-commerce solutions to around 165,000 on-line vendors around the world.
The other is that, well, it’s just a very cool place to work.
“I like coming to work every day,” says the company’s Director of Internal Operations, Greg Scorsone. He had a big hand in designing Shopify’s new company headquarters in downtown Ottawa.
The design includes things like an indoor, soundproof go-kart and skateboard track. Fully-functional meeting rooms built to look like a giant sauna or a struggling artist’s loft. Hammock chairs, quiet nooks at every turn, and a “bear forest” (filled with bear-shaped beanbag chairs.)
There’s even an indoor backyard deck on the 10th floor, complete with artificial grass, a deck, and tiny cottage-like rooms for quiet privacy. “Just a place where people come and hang out and relax and have little meetings,” says Scorsone.
Jonathan Heard worked in government before getting hired at Shopify. He says there is no comparison. “It’s phenomenal,” says Heard. “It’s miles ahead of where I was before in terms of work environment.”
The idea behind the funky, innovative workplace is one that comes from Silicon Valley. Tech giants like Google and Facebook use similar techniques to keep their employees happy, energized and creative. The relaxed environment and occasional diversions are meant to help workers approach problems in new and innovative ways. “That’s the idea,” says Scorsone. It increases productivity because people are like, oh, I hadn’t thought about it that way. And now I’ll go back and do something different.”
Does it work? Well, from a humble Ottawa start-up Shopify has grown into a multi-million dollar, publically-traded company in just over ten years.
There must be something to that go-kart track after all.