Great places to work? Dilbert would choke on his coffee at the very idea. The late Studs Terkel would tell you, “Work is, by its very nature, about violence—to the spirit as well as the body. It’s above all (or beneath all) about daily humiliations. It is about a search, too, for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life, rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying.”
Yet a string of St. Louisans would disagree with ol’ Studs. Mark Schupp would tell you that work is where he’s forged lifelong friendships. (It doesn’t hurt that Schupp Co. took its employees to Napa Valley in 2004.) Tom Dutton, I.T. director at Clayco, would credit his company for helping him lose 100 pounds. And if dogs could talk, they’d tell you Nestlé Purina is no reason to lift your leg.
While there might not be a definitive list of best workplaces, there are best practices—certain elements of a workplace that make daily life not just bearable but, dare we say, enjoyable. With this in mind, we searched the region for cool perks, inspiring spaces and effective programs. What did we find? St. Louis knows how to work it.