What do a Panda, a Robot and a Bell Have in Common?

Devon-McDonald by

Last week, I spent a couple days with Instructure’s sales team in Salt Lake City, Utah, as they welcomed their newest Account Development Manager, Rachel.  Having already been in their office earlier this quarter, I wasn’t completely shocked to be greeted by the office’s two loud-mouth receptionists — a giant paper mache panda bear and styrofoam robot.
Instructure is cranking — they had a record-breaking quarter, and Q3 looks just as promising. They are working hard… and they are also laughing all the while. In a stressful startup/ expansion stage environment, having personality and fun is 100% necessary. I’ve been in some offices before, and the space seemed like a morgue.  Teams were separated; employees came in each day, put their heads down in their cubicals, and left when the the clock hit 5 o’clock.

Not at Instructure.

An example of the office’s personality: Almost anytime a person walks through the office’s entrance (employee or non-employee), he/she is addressed by Panda and the Robot. While both are incredibly witty, Panda tends to be the chattier of the duo. The team of developers who sit by the entrance have a speaker system set up at the front desk, and they use a program that speaks what they type, and blasts through the sound system.  Given the open setup of the office, almost everyone gets to listen in on Panda’s stand-up routine and join in on the laughter.

So the bell… this isn’t unique as the Panda and Robot, but still an uplifting aspect of Instructure’s culture. Anytime a deal closes and goes up on the board – the bell sounds.  The ring gets everyone in the office excited — whether the employee is a recruiter, in finance, or a developer — it is a true testament to their hard work, regardless of what team they sit on. I heard it ring a few times during my two-day trip, and let me tell you I FELT FIRED UP having helped their sales team with the launch of their Lead Qualification team this quarter.

What makes your environment unique and enjoyable? If it takes you more than five seconds to think of an answer, you need to start getting more creative!