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Companies strike balance between office-bound, all-virtual

Published: Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 09:06

Alas, for Wildbit, what they were asking for, a free office makeover, was not to be. Event sponsor Turnstone, a Michigan-based office furniture company focused on the small business market, announced the five winners last month, and Wildbit was not among them. It did finish in the top 25 of 200 entrants, said Ken Neil, Turnstone's manager of advertising and brand communications.

The Nageles insist all the time involved in putting together their video entry was not wasted. It got them focused on what they love about being a small business with a sense of place, and why they think it has made them a better company.

But for the two short rows of desks topped with 27-inch Macs and Dells, Wildbit's office feels more like a home. There's a full kitchen, two bathrooms with showers, a washer and dryer, a couch and the Nagele's ever-present Yorkshire terrier, Boss. Wildbit had entered the Turnstone contest as much for advice on how to achieve the delicate balance of providing both quiet work stations and collaboration areas as they did for the free furniture, Chris Nagele said.

As word has spread about the new office, especially the lunches, to Wildbit employees abroad, "more people are interested in moving to the U.S.," Natalie Nagele said.

For now, Wildbit will continue to bring its employees together for a retreat twice a year, usually held at a rented villa in a foreign locale. July's destination: Turkey. Or possibly Mallorca.

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