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(Illustration: Veronica Cerri)

The 50 Best Places to Work in 2021


In a year when record numbers of Americans were changing jobs, these companies attracted top talent with benefits like paid sabbaticals, all-inclusive ski trips, and free health care


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1. Global Citizen Year

(Photo: Courtesy Global Citizen Year)

Location: Oakland, California
Focus: A gap-year program that offers cultural-immersion fellowships in Ecuador, Brazil, Senegal, and India
Number of employees: 26
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: Unlimited PTO

Perks: A remote-working option, a $500 annual stipend for professional-development courses, another $100 annually to learn something new, a monthlong paid sabbatical after three years, a book club, and periodic staff retreats in a host country

What makes it great: “We have created a culture that allows people to be their full selves, feel welcomed and celebrated, and continue to learn and grow throughout their journey in the organization. Once the pandemic hit, we knew it was costing people more to work at home so we provided a monthly stipend to help cover those extra costs. We knew it was important to stay close with their teammates, so we created the virtual together Thursday, in order for people to have those water-cooler and lunch conversations without leaving their living rooms. Having this supportive and values-based culture helped so many of our staff navigate these challenging times.”

2. Forum Phi Architecture

Location: Aspen and Carbondale, Colorado
Focus: Architecture, planning, and interior design
Number of employees: 37
Average salary: $98,103
Vacation time: 29 days PTO to start, increasing by a week every five years

Perks: A fully stocked office bar and kitchen; Monday-morning breakfasts; mountain-bike, uphill-skiing, and powder clubs; complimentary ski pass; and outdoor team-building events like overnight hut trips, river floats, and cross-country ski adventures

What makes it great: “It’s fun to work for Forum Phi. Creativity, collaboration, and camaraderie abound on a daily basis, and we promote everyone being themselves. We live in possibly the most beautiful place in the country and want our team to capitalize on the consistently perfect weather, gorgeous mountains, and streams around us, so our group is very outdoor-activity focused. I love to sit on our deck and work while staring out at Capitol Peak.”

3. Western Environmental Law Center

Location: Eugene, Oregon
Focus: Litigation on wildlife, climate, and public land throughout the American West
Number of employees: 22
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: 22 days PTO

Perks: Annual retreats to explore places like Mount Hood, Santa Fe, and Colorado Springs; employees earn three months of paid sabbatical, plus a $1,000 stipend, every five years

What makes it great: “Working at WELC means you get a lot of flexibility from management on how you get your job done, and the space to try creative approaches to your work. If you need to shift your schedule to make space for something else in your life, it’s usually no problem. If you want to move to a new city, you can probably do that and keep your job. If you want to try out an unconventional approach to an issue, management has your back.”

4. Rule4

Location: Boulder, Colorado
Focus: Cybersecurity and emerging-technology advisory services
Number of employees: 16
Average salary: $136,000
Vacation time: 21 days PTO to start, with an additional day each year up to 31 days

Perks: A $1,000 annual stipend toward a ski pass or other outdoor activities; branded gear for work anniversaries and as micro-bonus rewards; five-week sabbatical at five years; small fleet of electric bikes and scooters; pet insurance; and an annual ranch retreat and camping trip

What makes it great: “It’s been especially apparent these past 18 months that our team takes care of each other, on every level. Even outside the fox den, everyone is generous with their time and eager to lend a hand, whether it’s dogsitting, loaning a vehicle, helping move, giving advice, or sending meals. At the office we have catered meals, fully stocked beverage fridges, and a custom arcade, and we have full remote work setups at home.”

5. Fortnight Collective

Location: Boulder, Colorado
Focus: Advertising
Number of employees: 19
Average salary: $130,000
Vacation time: 20 days PTO

Perks: Winter Fridays for skiing, flexible schedules and hybrid work options, mindfulness training, online and outdoor yoga, a one-year subscription to the Peloton app, surprise bonuses, and an annual ski trip to Keystone

What makes it great: “Fortnight Collective, purposefully situated in the heart of downtown Boulder, has always embraced its surroundings. They say location is everything and we tend to agree. For an ad agency, creativity is our asset. We heed inspiration from the outdoors. Whether that is a stroll along Pearl Street, an early-morning hike on Sanitas, or catching an afternoon downhill blue at Eldora, we embrace the outside to help drive creativity. We do have showers, so bring on the sweat. Three-hundred-plus days of sunshine is not lost on us.”

 6. SummitCove Vacation Lodging

(Photo: Courtesy SummitCove Vacation Lodging)

Location: Keystone, Colorado
Focus: Short-term vacation lodging
Number of employees: 69
Average salary: $79,500
Vacation time: Five days PTO to start

Perks: Ski-pass reimbursement, office bikes, a dog-friendly office, team fitness challenges like monthly step counting and group yoga, flexible schedules, discounted rec-center passes, and a work-from-home option

What makes it great: “We like to have fun and support our team members. As a team, we play the Great Game of Business, which gets everyone involved in the financials and well-being of our company and gives employees the opportunity to earn bonuses throughout the year when we see company-wide performance. We celebrate wins and participate in a company-wide huddle each week that brings us together and all departments have the chance to interact. It brings a closeness and unity to our team like nothing else! At the end of our busy season (ski season!) we always celebrate with a company gathering, such as a theme party or fun group outing.”

7. Traina

Location: San Diego, California
Focus: Full-service branding and marketing
Number of employees: 28
Average salary: $104,000
Vacation time: Between 12 and 20 days PTO to start, depending on experience

Perks: A flexible work-from-home policy, 2 P.M. shut-down in summer, annual BBQ and Boat Day at a local lake, quarterly profit sharing, annual cost-of-living salary increases, six months partial-pay maternity leave, paid vacation between Christmas and New Years, office fridge stocked with local craft beer, an on-site gym, and walkable lunch spots

What makes it great: “We all work hard. But we also play hard—from Padres games to go-kart racing, midday movies to bowling, and spontaneous team lunches to happy hours. Occasionally we shut the office down and spend the day working on passion projects. For example, one time we each redesigned our favorite album cover and then let our followers decide whose was best.”

8. Workshop Digital

Location: Richmond, Virginia
Focus: Digital marketing
Number of employees: 27
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: Unlimited PTO

Perks: Paid volunteering time; organized events like kickball games, softball leagues, whitewater rafting, and paddleboarding; company-sponsored kickball and bocce rec-league teams; profit sharing; and monthly health and wellness challenges

What makes it great: “Workshop Digital’s purpose is to ‘build a better agency.’ It transcends the work that we do for our clients and extends into creating a better way to work. That includes actively listening to our employees and incorporating their feedback, thoughts, and ideas into the work we do and the policies we make. We are hopeful that the model we are building for ourselves can be a useful model in the future for other companies that are striving to create healthy, happy, productive, environmentally friendly, and inclusive workplaces.”

9. CommonFont

Location: Bozeman, Montana, and Providence, Rhode Island
Focus: Experience-management technology
Number of employees: 34
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: Unlimited PTO

Perks: Office kegerator, weekly happy hours and catered lunches, stocked snack cabinet, group volunteer service days for local organizations, a summer kickball team, group hikes, flexible schedules, and charitable giving matches

What makes it great: “CommonFont exists to serve our clients, communities, and teammates. Our decisions are made with consideration for all three and never one at the detriment of another. The work we do brings people and technology together. As data nerds and tech enthusiasts, we get to do what we love while serving others.”

10. Booyah Advertising

Location: Denver, Colorado
Focus: Digital marketing
Number of employees: 81
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: Unlimited PTO

Perks: Flex hours; full-time work-from-home option; paid parental leave; 401(k) with 10 percent match; fully paid medical insurance; paid sabbatical after five years; a dog-friendly office; annual events like ski days, Rockies games, or kickball tournaments; quarterly team events like laser tag, hikes, brewery tours, and cheesemaking

What makes it great: “Booyah goes all out. We don’t do anything halfway. That of course applies to the work we do for our clients, but it’s also on full display at our company events. Halloween is a special favorite: each team arrives in a themed and meticulously executed group costume. They vie for prizes and—more importantly—the Best Team Costume title, a badge they wear proudly over the next year. We’ve seen everything from hyperaccurate Napoleon Dynamite ensembles to a fully painted, head-to-toe-green Statue of Liberty. It’s a silly thing, but it’s emblematic of the fun energy and collaborative approach that are the hallmarks of our agency.”

11. Retrium

(Photo: Courtesy Retrium)

Location: Silver Spring, Maryland
Focus: Software that helps companies conduct retrospectives
Number of employees: 20
Average salary: $138,700
Vacation time: Unlimited PTO

Perks: Walking meetings and fitness breaks, paid parental leave, a monthly health and wellness stipend, an office-improvement stipend, and an annual personal development stipend

What makes it great: “I get up in the morning and I can spend time with my husband, little boys, and dog and work out without feeling like I have to be online when the clock strikes a certain time. I love that we’re encouraged to take a walking meeting or a meditation break on a regular basis because this really refreshes and energizes me. I’ve used my wellness stipend on yoga clothes and running shoes and every time I put on my gear it reminds me of how great I have it.”

12. C1S Group

Location: Dallas, Texas
Focus: Engineering, construction, and sustainability consulting
Number of employees: 26
Average salary: $106,300
Vacation time: 15 days PTO to start

Perks: Reduced-rate classes at a nearby yoga studio, an annual charity golf tournament, flexible work options, flex-time summer schedules, team trivia competitions, taco Fridays, a running team, and catered Monday lunches

What makes it great: “Our people don’t work for C1S; they work for themselves and the life they want to live. One of our project managers is an avid rock climber and snowboarder. Earlier this year he told us he wanted to move to Colorado. We totally support his passion for the outdoors, so we encouraged him to come up with a business plan that allows him to relocate to Colorado and continue to work for C1S. He pitched it to the leadership team in February, and he has been successfully managing projects from his new home in Denver since June.”

13. Geocaching HQ

Location: Seattle, Washington
Focus: A geocaching-adventure app
Number of employees: 86
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: 15 days PTO to start

Perks: Comprehensive health benefits, 401(k) matching, paid time off to geocache, loaner gear for adventures, free lift tickets anywhere in the world, reimbursement for mind and body activities, paid four-week sabbaticals every seven years, a professional-growth stipend, charitable donation matching, a home-office stipend

What makes it great: “This is a place where you make friends on your first day, high-five the office dogs on a weekly basis, share your unfiltered thoughts and ideas with the cofounder, get your fill of nostalgic childhood sweets from the magical snack drawers (#chocopie), play fantasy football with the CFO, and (perhaps most importantly) spend your weekends truly and unapologetically unplugged from work. Geocaching HQ is kind of like a geocache itself: truly a hidden gem amongst the tech giants and startups in Seattle, right under your nose.”

14. BSW Wealth Partners

Location: Boulder, Colorado
Focus: Financial advisory services
Number of employees: 27
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: Prorated PTO in year one, 10 days PTO in year two

Perks: Flexible work options; new headquarters at the base of Mount Sanitas; an annual all-inclusive ski trip; summer fun days with whitewater rafting, kayaking, Iron Chef–style competitions, and go-kart racing; fully funded HSAs, with healthcare for employees and their families; and local B Corp craft beers in the office

What makes it great: “BSW deeply respects the importance of balance and believes it’s important to have fun. There is a remarkable focus on giving back to the community. Furthermore, BSW conducts amazing work for a great clientele—work that employees go home feeling really good about.”

15. Choozle

(Photo: Courtesy Choozle)

Location: Denver, Colorado
Focus: Digital-advertising software
Number of employees: 61
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: Unlimited PTO

Perks: Monthly $100 stipend toward a ski or park pass or wellness service; a semiannual company summit in Colorado’s mountains with a free day for massages, skiing, or whitewater rafting; outdoor spaces, Ping-Pong, shuffleboard, and on-tap kombucha and cold brew at the office

What makes it great: “Choozle is great at supporting its employees when they get together outside of working hours. In the past, they have sponsored pizza and drinks for a fantasy-football draft and also covered the race fees for a 24-hour team relay race in the mountains. Camaraderie is very important, and it’s amazing that Choozle supports these efforts. Lifelong friendships have been formed.” 

16. Evotek

Location: San Diego, California
Focus: Technology solutions for digital businesses
Number of employees: 145
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: Unlimited PTO

Perks: Mental-health days; annual health challenges with rewards like a Peloton bike; free health care; flexible hours; company events like taco trucks, happy hours, and Padres games; an an annual private company retreat (spouses included) to destinations like Napa Valley, Austin, or a private yacht in Miami

What makes it great: “The team is more important than anything else. A good example of this is how the leadership handled the pandemic. Under no circumstances did they ever plan to let anyone go because of COVID. Cesar Enciso, founder and CEO, communicated more than once that they’d run profitability down to zero dollars before affecting the lives of the employees—you don’t see that a lot! I’ve been presented with opportunities to grow more than once and I know that I’m the only one who can stop my own growth—Evotek will forever push me to the next level as long as that is what I want. That’s what makes this place like no other and cannot be measured against a gear cage, beer, office view, etc.”

17. GroundFloor Media

Location: Denver, Colorado
Focus: Advertising, public relations, marketing
Number of employees: 24
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: Unlimited PTO

Perks: 11 A.M. Monday starts, flex time to work from anywhere or take Fridays off, Rockies Home Opener day off, an in-office resilience coach, Thursday afternoon Beer Club, $50 monthly active lifestyle allowance, office dogs, and a four-week paid sabbatical after ten years

What makes it great: “We learned during the pandemic that our team thrives when they have the chance to explore and enjoy their passions and hobbies. Some might tell you if you don’t take advantage of a powder day or afternoon rooftop patio weather in Denver, you’re doing it wrong. Others will share that seizing the perfect gardening weather keeps them focused and creative. What it boils down to is, the autonomy we are provided to get our jobs done means we can also take a day off to make sure our heirlooms are healthy, our skis and snowboards are well used, and our dream fourteener lists are not only growing, they are also being conquered.”

18. Creative Alignments

Location: Boulder, Colorado
Focus: Recruiting
Number of employees: 29
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: 15 days PTO to start

Perks: Flexible and remote work options; organized “play days” for things like hiking and snow sports; Bike-to-Work Day rides; company volunteer days; a company softball team and baseball games; and wine tasting and other creative virtual events during COVID

What makes it great: “I’ve worked at a lot of great companies, but Creative Alignments is the best place I’ve ever worked, hands down. Leadership fosters a transparent, inclusive, and collaborative environment where people can just be themselves and feel comfortable contributing. If someone needs help on a project, they know there’s a team of talented people at the ready with good ideas, honest feedback, commitment, and a positive attitude. It also feels good to work with clients that genuinely appreciate our partnership.”

19. Parallel Path

Location: Boulder, Colorado
Focus: Digital marketing for health, wellness, and lifestyle brands
Number of employees: 21
Average salary: $100,000
Vacation time: Unlimited PTO

Perks: Annual $1,000 healthy-living stipend for ski passes, fitness classes, or food delivery services; free personal health and wellness coaching sessions; half-day “Get Outside Fridays” in the summer; healthy snacks and beverages in the office; and monthly community lunches

What makes it great: “With our focus on health, wellness, and lifestyle brands, we get to work with companies that are generally doing good things in the world. It makes our work more fulfilling. And Parallel Path prioritizes our own personal health and well-being by paying for my ski passes or new fitness gear and making personal health and wellness coaches available to us. With unlimited PTO and Get Outside Fridays, I get to enjoy the outdoors whenever I want.”

20. SportRx

Location: San Diego, California
Focus: Prescription sunglasses and snow goggles
Number of employees: 78
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: Unlimited PTO

Perks: An office located on a bike path, with a SAG stop for bike commuters and easy access to other trails; profit sharing; an on-site gym; a social hall for office games like Ping-Pong, shuffleboard, and cornhole; Padres games; free or discounted bike and snow gear; product-testing trips to Southern California mountain-bike trails; annual ski trips to Mammoth and Big Bear

What makes it great: “To achieve growth as a company, we understand it requires happy and fulfilled people to drive us forward. Culture (and the customer!) is at the center of everything we do. It’s the north star that guides us when making tough decisions—and promotion decisions. SportRx invests in the people within it and promotes from within. We’re actively seeking opportunities where we can align personal goals of individuals with the company goals and create a work environment where individuals can flourish.”

21. WhippleWood CPAs

Location: Littleton, Colorado
Focus: Accounting, business consulting, and tax services
Number of employees: 27
Average salary: $99,400
Vacation time: 16 days PTO to start, flexible PTO after five years

Perks: Skate “board” meetings; a Zen Room; half-day summer Fridays; stress-relief events like go-kart racing, ax throwing, and Topgolf after tax deadline

What makes it great: “One really big thing about our company in respect to the industry is that we only require 55 hours a week from tax staff, compared to the industry average of 80. We do quarterly themed happy hours (like Kentucky Derby, Halloween, Cinco De Mayo, wine and cheese tasting). We do a lunch and a fun event on the day after the deadline and offer a paid floating day to all staff to reward tax-season efforts. Just generally, executive leadership practices what they preach and gives everyone, at every level, respect and opportunity to grow. For an accounting firm, WhippleWood really is a fun place to work.”

22. Duft Watterson

(Photo: Courtesy Duft Watterson)

Location: Boise, Idaho, and San Francisco, California
Focus: Full-service branding and advertising
Number of employees: 19
Average salary: $66,000
Vacation time: 15 days PTO to start

Perks: A new Linus commuter bike after 30 days on the job, group rides to bars or along the river, agency-wide long ski weekends (families included) or rafting trips down the Payette or Boise River, and an office kegerator and cornhole

What makes it great: “The Rocky Mountains and Boise River are literally outside our front door. So we’ve instituted half-day Fridays in 2021: everyone is encouraged to head out and ski, swim, hike, or just be with family and friends. We love to wrap hard-charging workdays around our office kegerator (kombucha included) over a game of cornhole. We also offer generous flex time for personal growth, parenting, and well-being, and—damn right—Treefort Music Fest.”

23. Ergodyne

Location: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Focus: Work and safety gear
Number of employees: 63
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: Unlimited PTO

Perks: Half-day summer Fridays, workday 5Ks followed by healthy lunches, a fully equipped gym with Peloton, weekly yoga and cardio classes, flex days to float the St. Croix River

What makes it great: “We are a high-performing, passionate bunch who take the work we do and our results seriously. We like to say: come for the cause; stay for the people. Most folks who dig our vibe are passionate about helping workers and making a difference. Having flex days allows our people to skip the commute or find an inspiring space to work outside our office walls. That said, it’s also amazing to see the good that those three in-office days do for the human spirit and our culture.”

24. Adaptive Sports Center

Location: Crested Butte, Colorado
Focus: Outdoor adventure for people with disabilities
Number of employees: 17
Average salary: $75,000
Vacation time: 10 days PTO to start, plus two additional days each year up to 28, with rollover

Perks: Slopeside office, lunch laps, nearby trails, free ski-season conditioning, certification-training reimbursement, and mental-health counseling

What makes it great: “People pay top dollar to vacation or live with views like we have in our office, including a rooftop deck. Our executive director regularly walks by my office and encourages me to take a ski break! Since the lifts are only a few minutes from our ski-in, ski-out office, it’s kind of expected of us to get out there!”

25. BridgeView IT

Location: Denver, Colorado
Focus: Technology consulting
Number of employees: 19
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: 15 days PTO to start, unlimited after five years

Perks: Powder Days; year-round 2 P.M. Friday signoffs; on-site gym and professional massages; a luxury watch on your fifth anniversary; an annual all-expenses-paid team trip to places like Cabo San Lucas, Las Vegas, and Aspen

What makes it great: “We feel that the same adventurous spirit that motivates people to get outdoors and live fuller lives also drives innovation in the tech industry. At BridgeView, we’ve tapped into that feeling to create our company’s culture. We’re a tight-knit team with a discerning eye for technology and an eagerness to work and play hard, together.”

26. LifeOmic

(Photo: Courtesy LifeOmic)

Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Focus: Cloud-based health care software
Number of employees: 108
Average salary: $146,600
Vacation time: 16 days PTO to start

Perks: Annual pool parties and hackathons; free gym memberships and use of InBody machines; weekly catered lunches; flexible work schedules; a break room with beer, wine, and snacks; all-expenses-paid retreats in Salt Lake City (skiing in the winter, camping in the summer); paid parental leave; a company-wide wellness program with monthly and quarterly cash incentives; and 401(k) match

What makes it great: “Most people would ask, ‘Why have champagne and caviar at 10,500 feet in the Utah mountains?’ We ask, ‘Why wouldn’t we?’ And this year, we did. At LifeOmic we like to push the boundaries of what’s possible, including with our all-expenses-paid company retreats in Utah each year that include skiing, camping, painting classes, photography classes, rock climbing, live music, hiking, archery, and paddleboarding (and yes, champagne and caviar). The ability to unplug, relax, and truly be present with one another can’t be replicated on Slack or Zoom and allows us to perform at our best.” 

27. The Garrett Companies

Location: Greenwood, Indiana
Focus: Development, construction, and asset management
Number of employees: 129
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: 20 days PTO

Perks: Half-day summer Fridays, 24-hour on-site fitness center, 40 hours of paid volunteer time, annual canoe trip, weekly yoga, monthly massages, haircuts on-site, all-expenses-paid ski retreat to Telluride

What makes it great: “Culture equals people. Every business is just a handful of people working together to make things, right? Our people matter most, and every single person at The Garrett Companies plays a part in shaping our culture. We continually find ways to support the growth of this talented team. Part of this support comes by creating a working environment where ideas can grow and where thinkers and doers can be rewarded.”

28. Devetry

Location: Denver, Colorado
Focus: Designing and building software for companies
Number of employees: 45
Average salary: $112,600
Vacation time: Unlimited PTO

Perks: Wellness reimbursement, work-from-home stipend, flexible schedules, professional-development hours, company outings (Topgolf, go-karting, live music, or happy hours), and an annual trip to Amsterdam

What makes it great: “We have a simple philosophy: you have a meaningful life outside of work, and we’re here to support that. While we specialize in software development, the team’s talents and interests span far beyond. We’ve got painters, builders, rock climbers, musicians, board-game aficionados, green thumbs. We often get together outside of work to enjoy shared interests, whether that be hitting the climbing gym or an evening of board-game rivalry. It’s pretty cool to work somewhere where connection and collaboration expand outside of the day-to-day work.”

29. Avid4 Adventure

Location: Boulder, Colorado
Focus: Operating day camps, resident camps, and expeditions in eight states (plus five more in 2022)
Number of employees: 24
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: Unlimited PTO

Perks: Monthly outings to crags, trails, and creeks; free use of Avid4 gear (mountain bikes, canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards); free bike tune-ups; an annual, paid-for, multi-day adventure to Moab, Utah, each spring; reimbursed climbing-gym memberships; an annual three-day mountain retreat; a $500 annual wellness reimbursement; pro deals on gear; and an anniversary program that rewards full-time staff annually with branded merchandise, money for outdoor equipment, and one month of paid vacation after ten years on the job with a stipend for a flight to anywhere in the world

What makes it great: “When you jump on a bike, and you’re on two wheels, it brings you back to your eight-year-old self. Or if you’re climbing or paddling, it’s just this natural happiness. And when you add kids into the mix, it further enables you to bring in this sense of joy in your life.”

30. Buzz Franchise Brands

Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia
Focus: Multi-brand franchising of home services
Number of employees: 39
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: 10 days PTO

Perks: Discounted YMCA gym membership, in-office gym, half-day summer Fridays, weekly Friday happy hours, matched 401(k), and an annual convention trip to Cancun

What makes it great: “Buzz Franchise Brands has a designated Sanity Control Committee that plans monthly fun team bonding outings. Events range from baseball games to adventure-park ropes courses to dolphin-watching cruises and ax throwing! One of the biggest perks, though, are the summer Fridays. With the corporate office being located in Virginia Beach, many of us head straight to the beach to soak up some sunshine and enjoy the fresh salty air.”

31. GetUWired

Location: Dahlonega, Georgia
Focus: Advertising, marketing, public relations
Number of employees: 44
Average salary: $62,000
Vacation time: 10 days PTO to start, 15 days after two years

Perks: Flexible scheduling, leadership training, a dog-friendly office, voluntary fitness challenges, weekly team games, weekly guided meditations, office showers, 401(k) matching, and paid parental leave

What makes it great: “We have quarterly team-building events that are outside as much as possible. For example, this year we’ve had a day at the lake where we had a variety of activities, like boating, tubing, volleyball, Yard Yahtzee, poker, or just chilling on the beach. We had another team-building event at a local park, where we played capture the flag and had a massive scavenger hunt. For another event this past year, we gave the entire company the day off, provided that they go do something outside and take pictures documenting their fun. We had many people go hiking, boating, or go-kart racing.”

32. Toad&Co

Location: Santa Barbara, California
Focus: Eco-friendly apparel
Number of employees: 33
Average salary: $120,000
Vacation time: 20 days PTO to start

Perks: Every other Friday off, an office close to trails, brainstorms while hiking, office bikes and paddleboards, standing desks, lunchtime yoga classes, a beer fridge, an annual campout, and periodic paid sabbaticals

What makes it great: “We encourage our customers to shop with a purpose, and we share that same mission-driven spirit as employees: we’re involved in our community, hosting regular volunteer opportunities and events with other local businesses, we donate to 1% for the Planet, and all Toads get Election Day off to vote. We act more like a family than a group of colleagues—with plenty of dogs and kids as part of the fun-loving crew. At the office, it’s an atmosphere full of music, creativity, and camaraderie—and our annual Grilled Cheese Smackdown will go down in history as the most savory and delicious battle west of Mississippi.”

33. Ridgeline Insights

Location: Boise, Idaho
Focus: Outdoor gear for kids and selling and marketing outdoor brands on Amazon
Number of employees: 23
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: Unlimited PTO

Perks: Easy access to outdoor recreation, bike-room entrance, two e-bikes for staff use, summer Fridays off, and a company-wide ski/snowshoe day and tailgating

What makes it great: “Our downtown office location is walking distance to the Boise Greenbelt and numerous foothills trails that staff can easily access anytime during the workday. We also do a handful of team-building activities and host company outings. This includes boat day at Lucky Peak, skiing at Bogus Basin, an Amazing Race–style game throughout Boise, and hosting our annual awards ceremony (think cheers and jeers), allowing us to reflect on successes and poke fun at our failures. Our company works incredibly hard together and we also prioritize having good times together.”

34. Young & Laramore

Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Focus: Full-service advertising
Number of employees: 67
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: 10 days PTO to start

Perks: Company bikes for riding around downtown; offices in a historic schoolhouse; showers and lockers for workday runs and rides; subsidized YMCA memberships; a room for meditation, prayer, or quiet time; beer Thursdays; company events like pickleball, euchre nights, and citywide pedal-pub races; and a two-day retreat each spring in the hills of southern Indiana

What makes it great: “It’s pretty inspiring walking into a 100-year-old schoolhouse every morning. There’s just something about crossing the hardwood in our gym and staring at the two-story rocket in the middle of our building that just makes you feel hopeful. School No. 9 plays a big role in our culture. Every day you feel like a teacher and student—and staying curious helps keep us sharp. Our school even has a great set of locker rooms so you can get out at lunch for a run on the Monon Trail or a bike ride on the Cultural Trail and hit the showers before you get back to work.”

35. CampMinder

Location: Boulder, Colorado
Focus: Web platforms for summer-camp operators
Number of employees: 59
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: Unlimited PTO

Perks: Annual $300 wellness allowance toward things like gym memberships, massages, wearable fitness devices, or ski passes; flexible work-from-home options; a dog-friendly office; summer catered lunches; regular team activities like an annual “field day” relay race at a local park

What makes it great: “Our focus on results [instead of] face time means team members can work from anywhere they have a reliable internet connection. In the past year, we’ve had employees take multi-month ski trips or explore the country in their RV, all while contributing as productive members of the team.”

36. GoPro

(Photo: Courtesy GoPro)

Location: San Mateo and Carlsbad, California
Focus: Action cameras with mobile apps and video-editing software
Number of employees: 453
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: Unlimited PTO

Perks: Hybrid and remote work options; offices close to beaches and trails; on-site gym and wellness spaces; free on-site bike rentals and gear storage; on-site and remote fitness classes like yoga, morning mobility, and meditation; monthly reimbursement toward wellness expenses; a Modern Health program with coaching and therapy sessions; and the latest camera and accessories with each launch

What makes it great: “GoPro’s mission is to be a force for positivity, celebrating all things awesome in the world and inspiring people to live active lifestyles. Our work philosophy carries that same message—enabling and encouraging employees to live their desired lifestyle while being able to show up to work as the best versions of themselves, whether in a GoPro office, their remote workspace of choice, or a bit of both. There is an intentional focus at GoPro on building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization where folks really feel they belong, and more often than not, coworkers at GoPro establish friendships that go well beyond their time at work.”

37. Crestone Capital

Location: Boulder, Colorado
Focus: Wealth management for business owners and entrepreneurs
Number of employees: 53
Average salary: $167,600
Vacation time: Unlimited PTO

Perks: Half-day Fridays, fully stocked kitchen, patio, company cruiser bikes, health and wellness stipend, work from anywhere two days a week and up to four weeks per year, employee team-building and appreciation events, Yeti mugs awarded to employees each quarter, and community volunteer opportunities

What makes it great: “We prioritize our people and clients over everything we do and strongly reinforce our work-life integration and work-hard, play-hard mentality. When we hit our company goals, we celebrate the team’s hard work—whether that’s together under the misters on our one-of-a-kind office patio overlooking the iconic Boulder Flatirons or a special surprise event. The effect is a better work atmosphere for our team and helping clients pursue the goals that give their lives meaning.” 

38. SmartEtailing

Location: Boulder, Colorado
Focus: Websites, marketing, and integrations for independent bike shops
Number of employees: 59
Average salary: Unspefied
Vacation time: 14 days PTO to start

Perks: Half-day “Get Outside Fridays,” compressed workweek options, commuter-bike credits, a dog-friendly office, hybrid work options, paid volunteering, deals on bikes and gear, virtual morning coffee breaks, group bike rides, park get-togethers, and a new (currently under construction) office with a bike-tool room and bike storage

What makes it great: “SmartEtailing is a purpose-driven company that makes working here meaningful. We passionately believe that local bike shops are an important part of every community. There isn’t much hierarchy here; it’s just a good group of people getting $#%t done. We try to keep things fun with Get Outside Fridays and regular social events or contests. We recently subjected our president to the Hot Ones Challenge, where he ate progressively spicier hot wings while answering embarrassing questions.”

39. TeamSnap

(Photo: Courtesy TeamSnap)

Location: Boulder, Colorado
Focus: Integrated management of sports teams, clubs, and leagues
Number of employees: 102
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: Unlimited PTO

Perks: A monthly $50 wellness fund; monthly $270 transit and parking reimbursement; two months of paid parental leave, up to two months of disability, plus a month of easing back in with full pay; flexible hours and location; TeamSnap App discounts; $1,500 annual education and training allowance; $150 TeamSnap swag credit on starting, plus $100 credit every anniversary; and annual team summits at various destinations

What makes it great: “One of the things I love about TeamSnap is the focus on building an environment where all TeamSnappers feel included. We have employee resource groups (Women@, Blended for our BIPOC community, and Pride for our LGBTQIA+ community) where allies and identifying members of these communities can connect and grow through shared experiences. I feel like my team accepts me for who I am and that I don’t need to bring my best self to work because my best self is just my authentic self at the end of the day.”

40. Pax8

Location: Greenwood Village, Colorado
Focus: Cloud distribution
Number of employees: 750
Average salary: $100,000
Vacation time: Unlimited PTO

Perks: Weekly yoga and meditation classes, office lawn concerts, employee stock, an on-site gym, weekly walking groups, and monthly happy hours

What makes it great: “The leadership team at Pax8 encourages employees to be their authentic selves and appreciates everyone’s individuality. Something unique at Pax8 is that we are constantly sharing interesting facts about ourselves. It is actually a requirement for all new hires and each time someone presents. Each month at our company-wide all-hands meeting, each new employee introduces themselves and shares a fact. It is a fun and engaging way to learn about each other and is also a great icebreaker.”

41. Mann Mortgage

Location: Kalispell, Montana
Focus: Mortgage lending in local communities
Number of employees: 472
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: 12 days PTO to start

Perks: Bonus incentives, flexible work schedules, personalized ergonomic workspaces, company gatherings, happy hours, lifestyle reimbursement program, anniversary meal reimbursements, an on-site fitness center and classes, and a fully stocked break room with games and beer

What makes it great: “Twice a year we escape to fun destinations such as Hawaii, Scottsdale, Coeur d’Alene, or Whitefish to celebrate our wins. Everything is top-notch, from the hotel to the activities to the food and drinks. No drink tickets here!”

42. Turner

Location: Denver, Colorado, with offices in New York, Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles
Focus: Public relations, social media, and digital communications
Number of employees: 45
Average salary: $90,000
Vacation time: 20 days PTO to start, unlimited PTO after 10 years

Perks: Access to online fitness platforms represented by the company; gear and equipment discounts; company-led meditation, yoga, and other recess activities; early Fridays to kick off outdoor fun; paid volunteer days and company-organized outdoor volunteer time; dog-friendly offices; Election Day off; wine fridge and local-brew kegerator; patio brainstorms; and added PTO for office closures between Christmas and the New Years

What makes it great: “We represent amazing destinations, and most team members have the opportunity to travel and engage in interesting adventures as part of their regular workload. We tend to be a group of explorers, and being able to tack on a long weekend to your business trip to Bermuda or Toronto or the Cayman Islands (your flight is already covered, after all) is an unparalleled perk. During the pandemic, when travel was limited, our wellness clients pivoted quickly to digital-platform delivery, and that also became a team perk that our active team used to stay sane while cooped up.”

43. Bonusly

Location: Boulder, Colorado
Focus: Recognition and rewards software for enriching company culture
Number of employees: 76
Average salary: $114,000
Vacation time: Unlimited PTO

Perks: Annual $500 wellness stipend, annual $2,000 professional development budget, bonuses for Strava workouts, $40 weekly meal reimbursement, FSA, one-time $300 work-from-home office stipend, and 401(k) matching

What makes it great: “Our hiking channel in Slack is full of beautiful pictures and hiking tips and recommendations. It’s been an awesome way to stay connected while being remote and find new gems across the U.S. We have over 1,500 custom Slack emojis to choose from (team members, pets, activities, etc.). We like to have fun at work and this is one small way we do it.”

44. Spawn Ideas

Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Focus: Full-service advertising
Number of employees: 34
Average salary: $88,500
Vacation time: 13 days PTO to start

Perks: Work up to 30 days from anywhere once annually, a $200 “stay active” bonus for ski passes or race entry fees, gold-level gym memberships, two-day “pawternity leave” to bond with new pets or grieve when one passes away, ice fishing with families, employee stock ownership program, office kegerator, and half-day summer Fridays

What makes it great: “Perks don’t alone make for great culture or a best place to work. What makes Spawn an awesome company starts with our team and their ‘never settle’ commitment to being intellectually curious each and every day—and to be, as we like to say, comfortable with being uncomfortable with change, because it’s going to happen. It turns out that a year of work from home during the pandemic only deepened the well of respect our team has for one another and made clear how much we miss this work ‘family.’ We truly like and count on one another during good and challenging times.”

45. Skratch Labs

(Photo: Brian Rowe)

Location: Boulder, Colorado
Focus: Food and beverages
Number of employees: 33
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: Unlimited PTO

Perks: Flexible schedules, daily recess knockout games, hybrid office and remote work, stocked kitchen, bike-repair station, on-site deluxe massage chair, free Skratch products for employees and their friends, dog- and kid-friendly office, on-site fitness area, cooking classes with free home-delivered supplies, educational opportunities on company time with Skratch Academy, free access to a registered dietician and an exercise physiologist, industry deals on outdoor gear, and employee profit sharing

What makes it great: “The impact of something this simple—clear vision, clear values, and clear process—is extraordinarily impactful on our sense of purpose and peace of mind. We know where we are going and that gives every position in our company real meaning and importance. While perhaps trite to say, that purpose and meaning are way more important than go-karting, free food, or recess. It’s this foundation that makes a simple fact about working at Skratch ring true and that is clearly evident when our teams are out in the field or when people come to visit us—it’s the fact that we out-fun everyone!” 

46. Shine United

Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Focus: Advertising, public relations, and marketing
Number of employees: 46
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: Two weeks PTO to start

Perks: Half-day Summer Fridays, a full bar for “beer-30s,” 100 percent of health benefits covered for employees and their families, paid sabbaticals, a rock-climbing club, a work-from-home plan, and “Adventure Corps—a semiannual, paid-for opportunity for employees have outdoor adventures

What makes it great: “The Culture Committee and the Adventure Corps are two initiatives Shine started during the pandemic not only to keep everyone connected in the company while working at a distance but also to give employees a way to remain active and keep their spirits up. The Adventure Corps means you could go cliff diving in Door County, camping at a state park, or hit a bike trail, and Shine would cover the expenditure of $150, twice a year. The Culture Committee was formed to not only give one-on-one time for all new hires while working from home, but also to find ways to engage with others via Zoom trivia nights, curbside spring planting kit pickups, whole agency-wide competitions while also giving back to a community in need, and more.”

47. ThrivePass

Location: Denver, Colorado
Focus: A comprehensive platform for managing employee benefits
Number of employees: 54
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: Unlimited PTO

Perks: Annual stipends for learning and development, money each month in a health and wellness account, frequent happy hours and team events, company volunteer days, 401(k) match, health reimbursement account, a one-month sabbatical after five and ten years, remote work, and virtual events to decompress during the day

What makes it great: “​​We offer awesome office perks that our employees love—exciting team events (virtual and in-person), remote work, well-being stipends, sabbaticals, and more—but our real passion is around employee growth and empowerment. Here at ThrivePass, we support and empower our employees to be their best selves. Opinions and ideas are valued and encouraged at every level of our company. Driven by courage, authenticity, resourcefulness, and excellence, we pride ourselves on embodying these core values in every aspect of our business.”

48. Pairin

Location: Denver, Colorado
Focus: Skill development and career services technology
Number of employees: 17
Average salary: $131,900
Vacation time: Unlimited PTO

Perks: An annual team retreat in the mountains with families; Friday happy hours and monthly team gatherings; espresso machine, nitro coffee, and local craft beer; a dog-friendly office complete with dog food and poop bags; 100 percent coverage options for medical, dental, and vision insurance; a discount at a local climbing gym; and jam nights, when team members bring their musical talents to the office for guitar playing and singing

What makes it great: “One of our key company values is ‘value the whole person.’ That means we recognize that your work affects your whole life, including your family, friends, health, hobbies, etc. And those things affect your work. When they are all fulfilled and moving in the direction you want them to go, you are the best version of yourself, which in turn is best for the company and everyone in your life. That’s our number-one goal. As a company founded by coaches, the Pairin team really walks the walk of professional development. Each manager is trained as a coach and each employee is individually coached to grow professionally and personally.”

49. BrainStorm

Location: American Fork, Utah
Focus: Helping large organizations adopt and use software
Number of employees: 118
Average salary: Unspecified
Vacation time: 12 days PTO to start, plus three paid volunteer days

Perks: Access to four corporate ski passes; national-park pass reimbursement; hybrid work environment; monthly charity events; office snacks and beverages; Financial Peace University course reimbursement; standing desks, along with treadmill and cycling workstations; foosball, Ping-Pong, and spike ball; $50 monthly to buy a meal for uniformed service members; $100 to do good during the holidays; a ten-day sabbatical after ten years; and adventure-grant opportunities for things like climbing Kilimanjaro, mountain-biking Iceland, or fishing remote rivers in Chile

What makes it great: “While we have the fun perks like snacks and office games, our culture has deep roots. One of the most obvious manifestations of our culture is in the numerous giving-back events throughout the year. It’s easy to say that giving back is part of your culture, but we take six days every year for community service and outreach. These events tend to be among the most memorable and important for every member of the BrainStorm team.”

50. TrackVia

Location: Denver, Colorado
Focus: An app-building platform
Number of employees: 77
Average salary: $110,200
Vacation time: Unlimited PTO

Perks: A wellness room and on-site gym, paid sabbaticals, regular happy hours, and team outings like hikes and baseball games

What makes it great: “TrackVia isn’t the typical office. We spar intellectually over the office shuffleboard one moment and then grab a pizza together the next. We believe in rallying great people with diverse backgrounds and considerable skills to deliver the industry’s best products and experience for our customers. We work hard but also keep things fun, casual, and highly creative. We challenge ourselves, tackle problems in clever ways, and genuinely just like each other.”


Honorable Mentions

(Photo: Courtesy 829 Studios)

829 Studios

Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Focus: Marketing

Arts & Letters Creative Co.

Location: Richmond, Virginia
Focus: Advertising, public relations, marketing

Axcient

Location: Denver, Colorado
Focus: Business continuity and disaster recovery software

Backbone Media

Location: Carbondale, Colorado
Focus: Brand marketing and PR

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers

Location: Missoula, Montana
Focus: A nonprofit sportsmen’s organization

Best Version Media

Location: Brookfield, Wisconsin
Focus: Publishing neighborhood magazines across the United States

Charles Cunniffe Architects

Location: Aspen, Colorado
Focus: Architecture

(Photo: Courtesy Cotopaxi)

Cotopaxi

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Focus: Outdoor gear and apparel

Eagle County Paramedic Services

Location: Edwards, Colorado
Focus: Health care

Egg Strategy

Location: Denver, Colorado
Focus: Strategy and innovation consultants

EverCheck

Location: Jacksonville Beach, Florida
Focus: Health care license monitoring

Evoke at Cascades

Location: Bend, Oregon
Focus: Wilderness therapy

Evoke Entrada

Location: Santa Clara, Utah
Focus: Wilderness therapy

First Descents

Location: Denver, Colorado
Focus: Outdoor adventure programs for young adults affected by cancer

Fuse

Location: Burlington, Vermont
Focus: Teen and young-adult marketing

G5

Location: Bend, Oregon
Focus: Real estate marketing

Geographic Expeditions (GeoEx)

Location: San Francisco, California
Focus: Adventure travel

Global Rescue

Location: Lebanon, New Hampshire
Focus: Medical and security evacuation

Go Ape

Location: Plano, Texas
Focus: A zipline and adventure park

Hanson Dodge

Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Focus: Integrated marketing

Inntopia

Location: Stowe, Vermont
Focus: Marketing and e-commerce

(Photo: Courtesy Keen Footwear)

Keen Footwear

Location: Portland, Oregon
Focus: Active footwear

Moving Mountains

Location: Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Focus: Vacation rentals

New Belgium Brewing

Location: Fort Collins, Colorado
Focus: Brewing

Nuun Hydration

Location: Seattle, Washington
Focus: Electrolyte tablets

Oboz Footwear

Location: Bozeman, Montana
Focus: Manufacturing footwear

Outlaw Partners

Location: Big Sky, Montana
Focus: Marketing

Outrider

Location: Golden, Colorado
Focus: Autonomous warehouse and shipping-yard operations

Pearl Izumi

Location: Louisville, Colorado
Focus: Cycling gear and apparel

POC Sports

Location: Park City, Utah
Focus: Outdoor gear

Powder7

Location: Golden, Colorado
Focus: Retail ski equipment

Promotional Products Association International

Location: Irving, Texas
Focus: A nonprofit serving the promotional-products industry

Realeflow

Location: Parma Heights, Ohio
Focus: Real estate investing software and education

Small Giants

Location: Denver, Colorado
Focus: Full-service marketing for commercial real estate

SRG (Sterling-Rice Group)

Location: Boulder, Colorado
Focus: Brand consulting and creative services

(Photo: Courtesy Stio)

Stio

Location: Jackson, Wyoming
Focus: Outdoor apparel

Stream

Location: Boulder, Colorado
Focus: Chat messaging and activity feed infrastructure

TDA_Boulder

Location: Boulder, Colorado
Focus: Full-service advertising

Technicians For Sustainability

Location: Tucson, Arizona
Focus: Renewable energy and sustainable technology

The Brand Leader

Location: Greenville, South Carolina
Focus: Creative branding

The Payroll Department

Location: Durango, Colorado
Focus: Payroll services

Tony’s Coffee

Location: Bellingham, Washington
Focus: Coffee roasting

USA Triathlon

Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Focus: Sports nonprofit

Verde Brand Communications

Location: Boulder, Colorado
Focus: Media relations and digital marketing, with a specialty in outdoor active lifestyle

Wilderness Travel

Location: Oakland, California
Focus: Adventure travel and tour operations

WorkBright

Location: Boulder, Colorado
Focus: Digital onboarding for employees and contractors

WorkInProgress

Location: Boulder, Colorado
Focus: Advertising, public relations, marketing


Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with a more recent number for Retrium’s average salary.

Corrections: (11/09/2021) A previous version of this article incorrectly described Pairin’s focus. The story has been updated to clarify that the company no longer offers professional-development and hiring software. Outside regrets the error. Lead Illustration: Veronica Cerri