The best (and most underrated) perks 5 Austin tech companies offer

by Kelly O'Halloran
July 18, 2018

At these Austin companies, perks like pups in the hallways and flexible work schedules top the charts as employee favorites. But for many employees, the best perks spring up entirely organically, like team lunch outings and workouts with your work pals.

We connected with five Austin tech teams to learn about their favorite and most underrated perks. Take a look.


appsumo team
photo provided by appsumo

Working for AppSumo gives you a bird’s-eye view of the entire SaaS industry while partnering with hundreds of cutting-edge tech companies for beta testing and workshopping. Chandler Thompson, AppSumo’s head of engineering, said this is the coolest aspect of working for the biz. That, and working alongside some of your best friends.

Every day, our team goes out for lunch together.”


What’s your favorite perk that AppSumo offers?

Hands down, my favorite perk is the bi-annual company trips. Twice a year, we’re able to travel and explore new, incredible places as a team. Last winter, we went to Hawaii and stayed right on the beach. We took a helicopter ride, rode ATVs, went on a waterfall hike — need I go on? Not only are trips an incredible way to unwind and have fun with the team, or as we call it, the fam, but we’re also able to introduce a change of scenery to our meetings. Some of our most productive company planning and thought exercises came during our retreats.


What’s your most underrated (but awesome) perk?

Every day, our team goes out for lunch together. Not only are we able to explore the Austin culinary scene and try new places (shoutout to the Brewer’s Table), but we’re able to have conversations that can really drive the business forward in a more relaxed setting. That’s not to say we don’t discuss the merits and shortcomings of Drake’s new album, because we do. Often. Being busy and working in a fast-paced environment can make it difficult to take dedicated time to have a meal and great conversation, but AppSumo fosters and encourages that.


nss labs perks

Susan Bollinger, VP of HR for NSS Labs, said her favorite perk that’s not technically a perk is in the work itself. The company launched in 2007 and has built a reputation as a trusted guide for cybersecurity recommendations. To accomplish this, Bollinger said their engineers literally break things to determine how effective various solutions are. Here are a few other great benefits.

It’s great to work for a company that has good collaboration tools that allow you to work from anywhere to get your job done.”


What’s your favorite perk NNS Labs offers?

It’s hard to narrow this down to just one. In looking at our ongoing employee engagement surveys, a few perks that come up frequently include flexible schedules, an open PTO policy and daily free lunches with individual choice selections.


What’s your most underrated (but awesome) perk?

Our high-tech collaboration tools received high marks from one employee who shared the following: “With challenging commutes and family commitments, it’s great to work for a company that has good collaboration tools that allow you to work from anywhere to get your job done.”


photo provided by headspring

Software firm Headspring has a dedicated volunteer group that focuses entirely on making the experience of working at the company awesome. Tim Malpass, an infrastructure engineer, said the Theme Team organizes board game lunches, video game nights, soccer golf on the weekends, and a steady flow of treats in the office to celebrate events like National Donut Day. Malpass said that it’s things like the Theme Team that really drive home the company’s core principle that people are valued.

We have dedicated weekly time on everyone’s schedules for learning activities and challenges.


What’s your favorite perk Headspring offers?

Headspring’s devotion to fostering a passion for learning and growth with its employees. This is seen through our mentorship program, ongoing opportunities to learn via classes or presentations, and our tuition reimbursement program. We also offer a huge library of books to help team members develop new skills. My manager has recommended a new book to me every quarter to help advance my knowledge and skills, and every book has been helpful. We even have dedicated weekly time on everyone’s schedules for learning activities and challenges that ask team members to come up with new ways to test and grow their skill sets.

What’s your most underrated (but awesome) perk?

Flexibility. We get weekly opportunities to work from home, plus we’re provided laptops and ample space for collaboration at the office. It’s easy to go sit with a colleague for a while, book a room for yourself to focus, or unwind while getting some work done in our recently renovated lounge area. I came here from a job that was very heavy on wired infrastructure — everyone was chained to their desks all day — so, I really appreciate the flexibility that I have working at Headspring.


tenfold office dog
photo provided by tenfold

What better way to cure a case of the Mondays than to have happy fur friends running by your desk? At Tenfold, a dog-friendly office is one of the company’s top unofficial perks, according to Fallon Haardt, the company’s people operations manager. Haardt said that having dogs on site and the ability to work remotely help maintain a positive work-life balance. Here are some of their official perks.

We realize that a true culture has to grow organically.


What’s your favorite perk?

Our healthcare benefits. Tenfold is a part of the Sequoia Tech program, which allows us to have large-company benefits as a startup company. We offer three incredible benefits packages from Anthem BCBS, two of which are fully covered for the employee by the company, which is pretty rare for a startup. The program has its own perks and well-being programs offering employees discounts on services as well as advice on health and nutrition. Best of all, they have a mobile app that contains your cards and allows you to access all of your benefits information on the go.

What’s the most underrated (but awesome) perk?

Our employees are very involved in creating our company culture, and we prioritize employee engagement with regular team luncheons and team building events. We also have unlimited PTO, which never hurts. Often, companies will dictate what the culture of the company is and not live up to those values. At Tenfold, our employees across the company participate in our culture committee team meetings and help to drive Tenfold’s culture as we grow. While we are still committed to our core values, we realize that a true culture has to grow organically by the people involved in the company, based upon what they feel is important, which leads to more communication and contribution from the teams.


activeprospect austin
photo provided by activeprospect

When contacted for this article, ActiveProspect ran a perk-focused survey for its employees to highlight which ones rock. For the benefits that aren’t official perks, two that stood out include ActiveProspect’s office location in Hyde Park, which neighbors historic houses, the Elisabet Ney Museum and notable restaurants, and the company’s casual work environment bolstered by healthy lunches, yoga-pant-friendly dress code, office dogs, unlimited vacation, a beer keg, wine, ice cream and more.

In the past, I worked for companies that would scrutinize and nitpick when you show up, leave or take lunch and take vacation.


What’s your favorite perk?

Flexible time off. In the past, I worked for companies that would scrutinize and nitpick when you show up, leave or take lunch and take vacation. It’s not like that at ActiveProspect. They respect that you have a life outside of work.

Working remotely. It allowed me to work from Maine for the month of August, which is notoriously hot in Texas.


What's the most underrated (but awesome) perk?

Our Live Music Capital holiday. While it may seem effete to provide any explicit PTO day with unlimited vacation time, this perk shows that the company cares about the arts.

Our Tuesday and Thursday workouts at Dane’s Body Shop. It really has created an awesome bond between us and kicks our butts (in a good way) at the same time.


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