November 9, 2015
WBJ Top Workplaces 2015

The Davis Cos. merges fun with healthy lifestyles

PHOTO/COURTESY

Walk into the Marlborough headquarters of the Davis Companies around 4:30 on any given afternoon, and you might find something surprising. Many of the staffing firm's workers will have left their desks and dropped to the ground, bodies stretched out like little benches around the office.

"It's in our calendar — we have designated plank time at 4:30," said Lindsay Lemieux, a lead recruiter who's worked for Davis for a little more than two years. "We wanted to create a challenge."

Lemieux spearheaded the planking challenge, a quick, intense core workout that she says helps everyone recharge to power though the last hour at work. She said the fact that she was able to do that, even though she'd only been with the company for about a year at the time, reflects both the company's commitment to health and its openness to new ideas.

The firm makes healthy activity a part of its culture, with employee hockey and softball teams, frequent charity runs and skiing every Thursday evening in the winter. There are also weight loss and Fitbit physical activity challenges, with workers in Marlborough sometimes engaged in a friendly competition with the company's four satellite offices in other states. The company even provides to free flu shots and oral cancer screenings to all workers.

President Brendon Davis said benefits and perks are largely defined by employees' interests. Everyone is urged to bring up their ideas. "The folks that are in the company — being healthy is pretty important to them being productive," he said. "A healthy lifestyle leads to success in work as well."

Davis said the benefits reflect the company's team spirit. Workers are expected to perform at their best, and are given leeway on how to do that.

For example, workers get unlimited vacation time. Davis finds that a lot of new employees who are fresh out of college need a lot off in the summer to attend friends' weddings. As long as they work with their supervisors to figure out how to take care of their responsibilities, that's just fine with him.

"If they can be responsible adults and get their work done, they should be able to be there for important times in their lives," he said.

A company with a more conservative culture might worry that people would take advantage of that kind of policy, but Davis said it hasn't been an issue.

"The people that are here are generally interested in their careers and their growth," he said. "They're not going to come in and then take a month off. That attitude just doesn't work very well in our environment."

For Lemieux, the benefit policies at Davis have meant a lot of fun with coworkers. They've organized a contest awarding the privilege of coming in late on Monday to whoever gets the most steps on their fitness trackers over the weekend. Last winter, she snowboarded with the company group. She said even the brief planking challenge each day is a chance to talk with her coworkers.

"It helps to keep your mind off of your body shaking," she said.

To Lemieux, all this represents a unique workplace culture that she's happy to be part of.

"We like doing things a little bit different," she said. "It keeps us who we are."

Top Workplaces of 2015

Employee Health & Well Being

Employee Rewards & Recognition

Education, Training & Career Development

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