"Theres no skee-ball machine in the lobby," says Lee Work, Ellacoyas solutions manager. "But the company values family time and offers flex time that allows time with your family, and thats a better perk than being able to shoot pool at 11 at night."
Co-founded in 1999 by former Cabletron Systems exec Kurt Dobbins, Ellacoyas intelligent switch allows service providers to deliver all kinds of advanced services to the desktop, and deliver charges for those services on a single bill.
Each of the 215 bright folks on the payroll at Ellacoya is a shareholder in the venture capital-financed company. The equity stake, combined with a relatively flat management structure, creates a family-like workplace where newcomers such as 26-year-old Work can rub shoulders with and learn from people who have already built careers in the telecom industry.
But the Ellacoya family isnt meant to substitute for the real thing. When the wheels of commerce start churning, the company is far more worried about the work getting done than where it is done, so it covers the cost of a home PC and a network connection. Employees are encouraged to schedule their work lives to make sure they are tending the home fires, too.
"There is a lot expected of us in the workplace, and we have very specific goals," Work says. "But people here do have families and they do have lives."
On those days when the work does get away from them, employees head to the company dining room for a free supper, cooked up by the man who, it has been argued, may be the best Ellacoya perk of all — Chef Richard Dube.
"He makes sure we eat our vegetables and get dessert," Work says with a laugh.