101 Best and Brightest Companies in Chicago

August 2, 2010 But when it comes to balancing your personal life and your career, two local companies are going above and beyond. They're in the running to be named one of the best companies in Chicago when it comes to work-life balance.

With a view from the terrace, you can enjoy fresh fruit every day free, free Starbucks coffee and then make your way up to the penthouse lounge. Nope, it's not just for special clients, but for every employee at Assurance Agency. It's an insurance brokerage based in Schaumburg and a leading contender to be named one of Chicago's elite companies when it comes to employees' work-life balance.

"We put our emphasis on our employees. They're first in everything we do. We know in turn that will translate into satisfied clients of Assurance," said Lisa Pinion.

It's not just talk. Employees get their birthdays off, furthering their education is paid for by the company, balloons recognize special achievements along with a $100 bill. There's a workout facility, free of course. And yes, they play Nintendo Wii to blow off steam.

"We have a dry cleaning service [and] Dinner by Design delivered right to the office," said Pinion.

On a much smaller scale, the Chicago branch of BGT in Wicker Park prides itself in having a creative and very laidback environment. The interactive marketing agency is based in Miami. They just started their Chicago branch not too long ago, continuing their founder's philosophy.

"One of our founders, managing partners, says he spent time building this BGT ethos, work is important, life is important and both deserve your time and energy," said Dave Choate, BGT.

At BGT, you can bring your dog to work. Relax in the meditation room. Enjoy the very cafe-like kitchen where employees make ice cream on Thursdays and get free lunch on Fridays. It's a small operation with just 15 employees right now, but they hope to grow with their parent company, which employs hundreds around the country.

"We've never had a layoff in 15 years. We've been around, constantly been growing even through recession, and it's about really respecting our employees, getting the most out of them, giving them the most, so they stay happy with us," said Choate.

The award they're up for is called 101 Best and Brightest companies to work for in Chicago. And they're in the elite category of work-life balance.

Click here for the full list of 101.
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