Meghan Burt

Throughout the trip in Silicon Valley, we were able to experience a very different working culture than what I am used to. Seeing how the tech companies we visited treated their employees was definitely some major culture shock. The major differences I noticed was the food and office benefits, as well as how people dressed in the office and the diversity of the working population.
In the Midwest, professional work environments consist of business casual dress and usually no food provided for free in the office other than coffee and drinking fountains. This was not the case for the tech startups we visited in the valley. Almost every office had some sort of an office manager who was in charge of stocking a full kitchen of exotic snacks and drinks. From vegan snack plates and cookies to chips and kombucha on tap, these offices had no shortage of food for its employees. One company, MemSQL, even provided its employees with meals for lunch and dinner catered daily from local restaurants. Many offices also provided accommodations like showers, meditation rooms, lounges, and dog-friendly facilities.
Another culture difference for the working environment in the valley is the way people were dressed and the diversity of the offices. There were people wearing sandals, tennis shoes, T-shirts and hoodies to work. It was unusual to see a pair of dress pants in the office and jeans seemed to be the norm. The other difference I noticed is that there was much more diversity of the workforce than seen in the Midwest. This is so encouraging to see that the innovation capital of the world is treating its employees well, allowing a relaxed dress code and embracing a diverse workforce, because that is the kind of company I want to work for.

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