By Trish Bittman
If fun is a factor in your next career move, you’re probably scanning the classifieds for work at a bar or restaurant, or considering your options as a birthday clown. You probably aren’t thinking, “What I really want to do is sell sales tax software.” But that’s just what they do at Avalara, one of Bainbridge Island’s fastest growing businesses. And although the subject is serious (no one’s ever laughed their way through an IRS audit), the company culture is anything but.
That ethos greets you the minute you walk into the place. Everyone is friendly and smiling, the mood is light, and several televisions mounted on the wall display images of beautiful beach scenes, as well as colorful photos of office parties, luaus and celebrations. All that’s missing is a bottle of Corona.
Still, it’s not all play and no work. You can tell that everyone’s working hard, but they’re having a good time too. The close-knit, easy camaraderie is palpable. Just about every one of Avalara’s 160 employees will tell you they feel like they’re part of a family. It’s definitely a sweet setup if you’re a local, but some folks commute from as far away as North Bend just to work here.
Living close to the office does have its benefits, however, especially when the office includes a Tiki Bar. When 5 p.m. rolls around, employees are welcome to help themselves to a margarita or tap into a draft beer. Or they can kick back in the activity room, a revved-up employee lounge outfitted with a 60-inch flat screen television, an assortment of video games, a foosball table, a massage chair and a couch. Avalara also has a gym where employees can take cycling and yoga classes for free. And because the gym includes a shower, they don’t have to sweat all over their spreadsheets after a lunchtime workout. Avalara even has its own bright orange signature golf cart. What better way to advertise and entice locals to work for the company than to be seen tooling around Winslow in a custom golf cart? They currently use it to fetch people from the ferry as well as to take clients to lunch in Winslow.
Beyond the beers and the bench press, the perks extend to the jobs themselves. Avalara offers job-sharing and part-time positions, and all employees have the flexibility to leave work to attend a school performance. Employees can even bring their kids to the office—did we mention the video games and foosball table?—if need be.
Even though they’re located on our little island, interest in Avalara may go viral. Not long ago employees decided to add their own video production to the growing number of “Call Me Maybe” song parodies.
Oh, and if you’re wondering, the answer is: Yes, they’re hiring.
For more information, visit avalara.com.