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A wide-ranging blog on new businesses, events and other happennings in the Flathead Valley.
Life in the Flathead Valley - Kalispell, MTLife in the Flathead Valley - Kalispell, MT
Montana Companies Praised in Outside Mag’s List of ‘Best Places to Work’
Seven companies from Big Sky Country made this year's list, including three from Northwest Montana.
The ZaneRay Group sign in front of its business in Whitefish. Lido Vizzutti/Flathead Beacon
Everyone can rattle off a list of the worst jobs they’ve ever had.

It seems like a requisite of adulthood and something that culture has accepted as unavoidable: dreary, aching, monotonous employment. Netflix is full of examples; television series and films that illustrate the reduced spirit and transition into American zombie. “Office Space” comes right to mind.

Yet, finally the other side appears to be winning. Or at least gaining ground. An increasing number of employers across the nation are setting a new standard by actually (gasp) appreciating and rewarding their hard-working staff members.

Case in point, Outside Magazine’s annual “Best Places to Work” list, which was released online yesterday and will be on newsstands soon.

Since 2008, the magazine has celebrated “innovative” companies across the U.S. that do their best to create positive, healthy work environments. This includes offering perks, like free gym memberships and ski passes; encouraging employees to play an active role in their communities (one company created a fund for community service projects); and overall making the workplace less of a dungeon and more of a source for inspiration and motivation.

It’s likely not a coincidence that the businesses listed in Outside’s issue happen to be professionally successful, too.

The editors wrote in the list's introduction, "We found a staggering number of companies that understand the road to success depends on a work-life balance; a healthy, active staff; and a willingness to give back. The best news? Narrowing it down to 100 was the hardest part."

This year’s issue recognizes 100 companies, more than triple the amount featured in the inaugural edition. Montana had more businesses make the list this year than ever, with seven, including three from this corner of the state.
River Design Group, Whitefish
The ZaneRay Group, Whitefish
Adventure Life, Missoula
Outlaw Partners, Big Sky
Ecology Project International, Missoula
Seeley Lake Elementary, Seeley Lake
MercuryCSC, Bozeman

River Design Group and The ZaneRay Group have been regulars on Outside’s annual list and definitely deserve recognition yet again for going the extra mile for their staff.

Check out Outside’s breakdown of each company that earned the title of “Best Places to Work" and you’ll feel instantly jealous. But hopefully more than envy, this list will encourage more bosses and business owners to want their employees to enjoy showing up to work.

It’s about time we celebrate and take pride in being the best, not the opposite.
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