Best Companies to Work For 2015: OZ Architecture
They make play part of the work environment
Rank: 8 in the medium company category
The culture: Work hard, play hard.
“There is the understanding and willingness to allow play to be part of our work environment,” an OZ team member says. “We’re serious professionals, but we have a great sense of humor as an organization, so things like nerf gun wars are not unheard of.”
Perks: Throughout the year, firm principals give spot bonuses of $50 or $100 gift cards to any employee putting in effort beyond expectations. Frequent events, such as a Ski Day include transportation, refreshments and lift tickets at Winter Park. Monthly “Beer 30” events gather everyone at the OZ bar and outdoor patio to enjoy beer, wine and conversation. A community garden and bicycle tune-up workshops are just a few other options of perks employees can take advantage of.
Giving back: For more than four years, OZ has participated in the Cleworth Architectural Legacy (CAL) Program of the Denver Architectural Foundation. The program partners architecture, design and construction firms with Denver Public Schools, instructing students to connect with their built environments. This year, a group of employees committed to organize at least one community service activity each month. So far, they have completed: Coat Drive for Salvation Army; Design-After-Dark Event for the Denver Art Museum’s Department of Architecture, Design, and Graphics; Kitchen Volunteer Day at Project Angel Heart; Denver Digs Trees for the Park People; Doors Open Denver for the Denver Architectural Foundation, among others.
The inside scoop: From an OZ employee: “Many companies claim to foster an entrepreneurial spirit, but OZ truly lives up to that promise. I remember asking in one of my reviews, ‘What should I do if I want a role that doesn’t yet exist at OZ? How do I get there?’ The answer was: ‘Carve a path, aim in a direction and go for it.’ I wrote a plan for roll out and forecasted the (brand development) department’s potential for profitability and incremental revenue. I presented the plan to the board, and they unanimously supported OZ’s very first Brand Development service area and my role as Director of Brand Development. I am proud to work for a company that believes in its employees, where everyone’s ideas are truly considered and the entrepreneurial spirit thrives.”