Can you address work-life balance without sacrificing productivity?
By Maggie Spicer (Founder & Chief Creative, Whisk SF)

One of the best reasons to live and work in San Francisco is the incredible set of unique bakeries, farmer’s markets, yoga studios, wine bars and other brick-and-mortars in each neighborhood. But if you don’t have the time or opportunity to enjoy them you might as well not be living in the city! Facebook, Twitter and Google have led the charge in building work-life balance into their culture, but why not bring that model to small-to-medium-sized offices and bring the best of what the City has to offer directly into the workplace?

Launched this summer, Whisk is a San Francisco firm changing the way companies approach employee perks and foster wellbeing. We see a natural bridge between two local trends: a sea change in new company culture, with leadership taking a truly holistic view of employees’ well-being; and the blossoming talent of local businesses bringing new passion to traditional skills, who show us incredible ways to taste, move, learn and thrive in the world around us.

The concept for Whisk was spurred by my own experience working in a variety of office environments and local businesses. Each one can inform and enrich the other, yet I realized there aren’t direct channels for bringing these pioneering local businesses’ products and services into the workplace, even in a city as progressive and tech savvy as San Francisco. As employees increasingly dedicate more time in the office, it’s a shame they’re not able to enjoy many of the goods and services that can make working so diligently worthwhile.

With so many hours of the day spent sitting in front of a computer screen, teams can greatly benefit from an employer who truly values employee work-life balance; it’s essential to provide benefits that speak directly to this need in order to attract and retain top employees in today’s job market. Whisk not only serves as a way to build a strong office culture, but also to build stronger connections with the local community, giving early exposure to new products and services.

After just two months in business, Whisk has a rapidly growing roster of clients, leading companies across the technology, finance, advertising, gaming, design and media industries. With office managers and HR directors under pressure with limited time and resources for igniting creative ideas, Whisk has been able to provide them a broad portfolio of innovative and traditional services from trusted local partners. This allows companies to rely on us as a valuable resource not only for impressing their staff, but their clients alike.

I’d like to see our services truly take root in San Francisco, and nourish the local community as we build this new model for workplace wellbeing. Within the next year, I envision us taking the next step to expand outside of the San Francisco market, but for now our heart is definitely in San Francisco. The most interesting request we’ve received to date has been to produce Gangnam-style dance classes for a client, which will certainly help them mix up their office routine.

Women 2.0 readers: How do you mix up your office routine for work/life balance? Let us know in the comments.

About the guest blogger: Maggie Spicer is Founder and Chief Creative of Whisk. As one who connects dots and doesn’t view geographical boundaries as limitations, her curiosity has led her to travel the globe, learning about cultures and behavior, and creating a framework for how to view systems with originality and pragmatism. Maggie is passionate about creating value and bridging relationships between people and ideas, often over a meal or something delicious. Follow her on Twitter at @whisksf.