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6 Innovative Chicago Offices

Not all offices are created equal. The 4-hour Workweek says, "hard work becomes easy when your work becomes your play.” For employees at these six Chicago offices, work and play are often synonymous. Check out some of the most appealing work environments below:

1. Centro LLC

It’s no surprise Chicago Business voted Centro “Number One Best Place to Work” in both 2011 and 2012. Founded in 2001, the online advertising, buying and consulting company has been looking out for their employees ever since. The company’s highlights begin with health benefits. Three times each week fresh fruit is delivered to the office and a free on-site yoga classes are offered twice a week. The company also offers a smoking cessation program and a reimbursement of up to $500 a year for gym memberships. Other points of interest include a monthly Thursday afternoon happy hours and awards to employees nominated by their co-workers for outstanding work. The perks at Centro are endless, making it the company to work for.

2. Jellyvision Lab

Founded in 2001, Jellyvision is an interactive, and clearly innovative, marketing company, with the mission of shifting the focus of the web from “navigation” to “conversation.” With 44 percent of employees age 30 or younger, the overall environment in the office is light-hearted and humorous. The company has a “work hard, play hard” attitude. With perks like the annual foosball tournament, monthly cooking competitions and weekly in-office happy hours, who wouldn’t want to work here?

3. Coyote Logistics LLC

Voted number 18 on Crain Chicago’s “Best Places to Work 2013,” Coyote Logistics is a serious contender. The company, which is headquartered in Chicago, launched in 2006 and specializes in transportation and logistics services. With the average of Chicago-office employees just under 27, the environment is fresh and fast-paced. Coyote supports philanthropic and athletic endeavors for employees as well. About 150 employees participate in 12 sports teams, and the company provides uniforms and pays for half of the activity membership fees. The 11,000-square-foot lounge area on the fifth floor features couches, chairs, and ping pong and billiards tables that fan out around a 20-foot bar adorned with the Coyote logo. The office even has a Coyote Swag Store, with everything from t-shirts to tumblers. This is one coyote den you won’t want to leave.

4. Tasty Catering

Since 1989, Tasty Catering has satisfied Chicagoans for nearly every occasion. One of the perks when working for a major catering company? Free food. Tasty’s employees are given free lunch every day of the week. Other benefits include seed funding for employee startups, flexible schedules, and the use of company equipment such as grills, tents, and vans at no charge. As the longest operating company on the list, it’s clear Tasty is doing things right.

5. Groupon

As a leading e-commerce operating system, Groupon’s Chicago office lives up to its name. Located in River North, Groupon’s offices are nothing short of impressive. With an “intolerant of mediocrity” attitude, employees at Groupon know what it takes to get the job done. The company hires creative and determined minds with the passion and know-how to transform the products and services their customers need and want. Good things don’t go unnoticed at Groupon, which is why the company offers a kitchen stocked with goodies, work structures resembling the inside of a tree, fitness benefits and on-site cafes.

6. 1871

1871 is a communal workspace for digital startups. Due to the creative nature of the company, its no wonder Refinery29 dubbed it “The Coolest Office in Chicago.” The office features comfy couches, game machines, tables made from repurposed bowling lanes, scooters for riding from one end of the office to the next, and an in-house Intelligentsia coffee shop. With constant events and creative minds abound, 1871 is a hub for networking and new ideas. It’s not all fun and games though. In an interview with Refinery29, Mark Lawrence of Spothero described the environment as energizing, and further added, "I can get so much done. I'm focused. There's an energy here with everyone around you. It makes you want to work harder.” While companies range across the board, they all have one thing in common: to develop a successful business.

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