When Ventech Solutions Inc. moved to a new headquarters in the Polaris area four months ago, one of the priorities for founder and President Ravi Kunduru was carving out space for a game room.
“This is a small pet project I took personally,” he said.
It’s open to employees around the clock – and yes, for some final stretches of proposal writing they’re in there that long – with one catch: Only team or multiplayer games are allowed. That’s natural for the pool and foosball tables, but Kunduru wants no solo play on the Microsoft Xbox.
The way he sees it, a sense of fun is one part of workers’ sense of accountability to clients. The the software and IT integration company focuses on state and federal government work, sometimes with high security clearance.
Since the move, everyone in the 45-person office spends an average of 20 minutes a day playing – sometimes they hold meetings there. A dry-erase board is handy to jot down inspiration. (Ventech has 120 total employees spread among other offices and at client sites.)
Game rooms will be part of the package when Ventech opens three new offices in or near Maryland and Virginia for staff on a 10-year, $410 million federal contract with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It will be adding about 200 workers over the next year for the data management job.
Perks like this are part of the package for tech companies. I’ve seen full fitness centers, ping-pong, an indoor putting green and several well-stocked bars and craft brew kegs. Founders say they trust their workers to use their judgement and not overindulge.
(Ventech has no alcohol in the office, by the way. The kitchen has free snacks and drinks and full fruit bowls on the counters.)
But if an office has all the comforts of home and more, that’s because employees are spending so much time there.
Some projects require a lot of hours as deadlines approach, but only occasionally, Ventech CEO Herb Jones said. At other times the company offers flexibility and allows some work from home.
“Life-work balance is very important,” Kunduru said.