Terrors of the Ballpit

Fools like to be different, so our unique workspaces here at FoolHQ shouldn’t be all that shocking. In addition to beanbags and height-adjustable desks, we also house a ball pit. Yes – an old-school ball pit that Fools actually use for meetings and work. In fact, it moves around the office because it’s pretty popular.

No matter how much we innovate office aesthetics, our goal of sustaining a productive culture stays put. We keep work fun, which sometimes means that pranking is involved. The most recent scene of the crime was the ballpit itself…

Push-Up to Wellness Wonders

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Do you ever wonder how many push-ups you could achieve at any given moment? Get down and give us 20! In all seriousness, take a few minutes to count the number you’re able to reach. Is it 5? 10? 142? Now – if you’re not too tired – think about how many push-ups your entire company could collaboratively log. We actually answered this question for ourselves during June’s Fool-wide Push-Up Wellness Challenge.

This competition definitely showed off more than muscle. At the start of June, Wellness Coordinator Sam Whiteside challenged Fools to sign up for push-up brackets of 500; 1,000; 3,000; 5,000; and 10,000. All Foolish health challenges are optional, with the goal being for each Fool to attain their personal goal in 30 days. Over 80 Fools signed up for June’s contest, pausing daily to push-up during meetings, stand-ups, and (naturally) Sam’s wellness classes.

To help Sam reach her own participation goal for this competition, People Team Fools cooked up a surprise plan. On June 30, we launched Push-Up to Pamper Sam, a one-day challenge that unlocked prizes for Sam at set tiers. The categories kicked off with a tiny solar plant and breakfast delivery, soon escalating to gift cards at Port City Brewery, Sugar House Day Spa & Salon, and Zweet Sport. The amounts gave room for Sam to bring along other Fools, too.

Throughout the day, Fools everywhere pushed – literally and figuratively – to unlock the tough tiers. Progress was monitored with a spreadsheet while Fools sent regular updates on a Slack channel. As the day rolled along, a total of 189 Fools participated – and the challenge didn’t stop once office lights dimmed. Fools were active online even after midnight, all encouraging one another to do more for the team.

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We finished with an impressive count of 31,043 push-ups in one day. Fools surpassed all seven tiers in the 7a-11:59p Push Up to Pamper Sam challenge, contributing to a final count of 170,198 Fool push-ups in June. Do your arms hurt yet?

June 30 didn’t turn out to be a typical Foolish Tuesday. On the final day of our June wellness challenge, Fools all over the world seriously rallied. Such support symbolized how well Fools can come together to make major things happen for the love of our company or, in this case, a fellow Fool. We’re adding this record to the books!

We Can’t Be “ON” 24/7 – WorkHuman 2015

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Erin Miller, an Executive Coach here at the Fool, was lucky enough to attend this year’s WorkHuman conference in Orlando, FL. And she even started a trending hashtag – #OperationRobLowe. But back to the point – for those unfamiliar, this event’s mission was to educate participants on workplace engagement; creating a culture of happiness; and finding a place for purpose and meaning at work. Speakers included Arianna Huffington, Rob Lowe (yes, that Rob Lowe), Shawn Achor, and Brigid Schulte (a friend of the Fool!).

Our People Team joined Erin once she returned to hear all about her experience. Takeaways from Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post; Robert Emmons, Professor of Psychology at UC Davis; and best-selling author Adam Grant were particularly intriguing. If you, too, are all about workplace innovation, we hope these reflections will be inspiring.

0920_huffingtonArianna Huffington, Co-Founder & Editor-In-Chief of The Huffington Post

As if it wasn’t common sense, modern science proves that humans require downtime. History defines success as money and power, yet health and wellness have been missing from the equation. Since there’s little separation between work and life, Arianna stressed that we don’t need to work more – just make work betterNo human being should be forced to be “ON” 24/7.

So how does The Huffington Post ensure that employees avoid burnout?

  • They have 2 nap rooms instead of more coffee machines.
  • An email policy is enforced. When employees finish work, they’re not expected to be on email – they’ll be texted if it’s urgent.
  • Management watches billable hours and, if an employee gets too high, there’s an “intervention.”

0813_favprof_630x420Adam Grant, Wharton’s Top-Rated Professor & Best-Selling Author

You could say that Adam Grant’s resume is impressive, to say the least. His book Give and Take earned immediate praise as Wall Street Journal’s Favorite Books of 2013; The Washington Post’s 2013 Books that Every Leader Should Read; and even Oprah’s list of riveting reads.

During the conference, Adam focused on 3 Fundamental Styles of Interaction and how they impact success. These styles play a role in both recruiting and management. Who do you want to hire? What type of boss would you rather work for? There are Takers, Givers, and Matchers, but Adam argued that what we really need is a culture of “help seekers.” We should encourage employees to ask questions because, despite the stigma, being curious is not a burden. In more difficult conversations, Grant recommends focusing on the behavior – not the person.
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Robert Emmons, Professor of Psychology at UC Davis and Founding Editor-In-Chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology
Gratitude plays a huge part in our lives. Emmons shared the impact of practicing gratitude in the workplace. A few of Emmons’ points on the importance of gratefulness included:
  • It increases emotional well-being.
  • Grateful people achieve more.
  • Grateful people get along better with others.
  • Grateful people pay it forward.
  • Grateful people are less depressed.

The future is co-created. In order for us to grow into innovative workplaces, the suggestions from those who spoke at WorkHuman are important to consider. Will you be a workplace that follows these trends?

Colorado Gets Foolish

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We get a lot of questions during First Friday Fool HQ tours about our – shall we say unique – office design. How do Fools work so well in an open layout? Where did you buy this furniture? Who gets a standing desk? Are bicycle desks comfortable? Our Office Operations Fools, also in-house experts on workplace design, never miss a beat. From Fool HQ renovations to scouting spaces in New York and Australia, this team truly understands the importance of workplace ambience.

Research shows that the right professional environment can ignite creativity and encourage focus. According to one study, wall colors are also a factor: “Test-takers surrounded by red walls were better at skills requiring accuracy and attention to detail, while workers in blue environments were more creative.”

After months of planning, we’re excited to share photos of our new office in Colorado. Appropriately dubbed Foolorado, this space houses just a few internal Fools for now. The goal was to create an office mimicking Fool HQ but with a new vibe tailored to Colorado.

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A team of 4 Fools made the trip to unpack, move, arrange, rearrange, and finally perfect the space’s look. Tech Fools also tagged along to set up the best remote connections and ensure that Internet access was on par.

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Are you renovating space or even moving to a new office location? Leader of the Ops team Melissa Malinowski has some advice: “Talk to employees who practice many different types of working styles. Ask people what they love about their current work environment and what could be better. Create a view-book and ask for input on colors and styles. Everyone works in the environment every day. You want people to feel safe, comfortable, healthy, and more effective or productive than they would be if they stayed home.”

It’s another plus that beautiful mountain views are what Fools will see at work – instead of a blank wall or dreaded cubicle. Foolorado On!

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Fool Wellness Makes The Washington Post

Employees at Motley Fool have many options to stay fit, in Alexandria, VA.

While financial health is the base of our business, Fools need strong minds too. As full-time Wellness Director Sam Whiteside revolutionizes Foolish health, her initiatives are quickly becoming ingrained in our culture. During Sam’s time as a Fool, she’s added additional workout classes (yoga, kettlebells, and cycling – oh my!); started a monthly newsletter; created company-wide challenges; and offered multiple private consults to Fools striving for better health. However, these examples barely cover the surface of Sam’s impact on our organization. Her goal is to reach 100% wellness participation across the company and, in just under 2 years, we’ve already hit 89%.

We’re thrilled that Sam was able to represent Foolish wellness in our recent Washington Post feature, which announced their picks for 2015’s Best Places to Work.

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In a world where work is nearly 24/7, wellness is even more important to employees’ happiness. And while it could be intimidating, don’t feel nervous about encouraging health initiatives at your organization. Sam advises, “The trick is to get to know your people first, get their trust. And then they’ll pretty much let you run them into the ground if you want to.”

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To see what other companies made The Washington Post’s list, click right here.

A Fool for the Win!

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The Motley Fool is proud to employ a diverse band of Fools including Todd Etter, our Chief Collaboration Fool. Over the past 15+ years, Todd has undoubtably made a mark on our company. From creating original team building exercises to planning elaborate company-wide puzzle hunts, Todd is known for his love of (challenging) games.

Todd was on the winning team for the 2015 Washington Post Hunt. A city-wide event that took place on one of DC’s hottest days yet, participants looked to solve puzzles from pages of the Post’s Sunday magazine to area parks, statutes, and stages. Todd’s team – named “Boneless Chicken Cabaret” – also took home the first place trophy in 2014 and 2008.

There seems to be no puzzle here – Todd is a winner at the Fool and beyond. Congrats!

Embracing the Future of Work

A few philosophies in FastCompany’s article  “These are the New Rules of Work” sound Foolishly familiar. Over the duration of our company’s history, we’ve evolved into a culture that’s now known for some pretty unique benefits. No vacation policy? Check. No dress code? Yep. Free healthy snacks? We promise! The Motley Fool seems to have embraced this future all along, which shines through these examples:

1. Work can happen wherever you are, anywhere in the world.

Open-office plans don’t jive with every work ethic, so we aim to help Fools work comfortably both in and out of the office. Slack has helped us to systemize accessible Fool-wide communication, plus our tech team has a dedicated channel to offer remote assistance. We also make a point to keep remote Fools informed through a weekly newsletter, monthly live-streamed huddles, and our company intranet.

Whether the blocker is traffic, travel, or family conflicts, incorporating flexible schedules into your company’s benefits can make a rewarding difference. Work location shouldn’t stand in the way of the passion you feel for a project.

2. You’re on call 24/7.

Do you check your email account on the weekend? If the answer is yes, you’re in the company of nearly half of employed adults. What’s more, a full 44% of US-based employees log-in on vacation. Though the typical 9-5 workday is slowly dying, it makes sense in our tech-enhanced world. Fools have the ability to work based on when they’ll produce the best results, and sometimes that’s not at 8AM.

3. You Work Because You’re Passionate about a Movement or a Cause – You Have to Love What You Do.

Fools share a mission “To Help the World Invest – Better.” We’ll be the first to tell you that working toward a shared cause is one key to higher engagement levels, better productivity levels, and boosted creativity among teams. The fact that Fools love our ultimate goal helps each of us strive to reach the next level.

Is your workplace out with the old and in with the new? See the full article here and weigh in on Twitter!

 

Supporting Snooze Breaks

Our monthly Workplace Foolosophy Tour usually spurs at least one question about Fool HQ’s “Reading Room.” This secluded space, complete with a couch and blankets, coincidentally doubles as an ideal napping spot. Foolish visitors are sometimes baffled that Fools can siesta during the workday, no questions asked.

Fool HQ keeps grounded with a strong sense of transparency; the backbone of many of our unique benefits. We don’t question how time is spent in the office because top-performing Fools and their different work ethics are trusted.

Resting on the job is said to boost engagement and increase alertness, ultimately building better collaboration results. There may be more benefits than you think – as long as you don’t hit the snooze button.

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Motley Wellness Gets Mentioned!

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Depending on a company’s approach, the definition of corporate wellness can stretch over a pretty broad spectrum. In addition to offering free 1:1 personal training, subsidized in-house massages, and a variety of fitness classes, Head Wellness Fool Sam Whiteside thinks outside of the box. We couldn’t agree more that our “health and fitness perks are off the charts” and feel excited to appear on Mashable’s list of companies with “amazingly unique wellness programs.”

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Ranking #4 on a list surrounded by companies like Google, Fitbit, and Zappos, The Motley Fool was recognized for our fun fitness challenges, monthly health newsletter, and frequent involvement in area marathons and races. Sam Whiteside also shared that the Fool’s wellness engagement is nearly 86%.

See Mashable’s full feature on Foolish Fitness here!

 

Foolish Innovation Wins

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Since Innovation is one of our Core Values, Fools looked forward to DCFemTech’s recent reveal of this year’s “Most Powerful Programmers.” Another reason to embrace the excitement? Because not one but TWO Fools were recognized by fellow females in the DC tech scene for impressive achievements in their field.

DCFemTech, a group that supports females in tech organizations, received a total of 79 nominations. Winners were chosen based on the impact they’ve had on their company; the complexity of their coding; and the impression they’ve had on their community. The final list of winners – 30 ladies in all – can be found here.

Congratulations to Fools Lisa Chung and Emily Williamson! Thanks for dedicating your talents to Foolish innovation, both at FoolHQ and in our local community.