Brie Bolopue / July 22, 2014

Wire Stone Kids Lab

When Wire Stone was formed 14 years ago by several groups of young entrepreneurs across the country, many of our employees hadn’t even begun to think of having kids. As we’ve grown and matured over the years, lots of our employees and their families have grown with us.

Our company culture emphasizes work-life balance and we continually attract self-starters who are looking for workplace where business and personal life more comfortably intersect.

I love Wire Stone for this reason. I’m not dogmatic about the difference between work hours and family hours, because I feel free to accomplish the tasks before me on my time. My job is something I love, and Wire Stone allows me to be who I am every hour of the day, whether it means volunteering in my son’s class or attending meetings in another Wire Stone office. While this doesn’t sound like balance to a lot of people, it’s exactly what I need as a single parent.

My home office, located in Boise, Idaho, is home to 45 employees. Over half of us are parents to school aged children who occasionally spend afternoons or school holidays in the office. One day this spring, I found myself overwhelmed, juggling afternoon meetings and my cabin-feverish first grader. I wondered aloud to our COO, “Why don’t we turn that empty office into a creative space for kids?” No sooner were the words spoken than office-wide brainstorming started about gadgets, toys, and learning materials to help kids learn about the pillars behind our business: language and graphic arts, math, science, and technology. The idea was wildly popular, because so many of us struggle with balance.

Many of us also remember occasionally tagging along with our own parents, keeping quiet and twiddling our thumbs in a deathly quiet office, as our generation saw the increasing shift toward two-income households. We don’t want kids to be an afterthought at Wire Stone. We want them to know they have a place to hunker down when they come here and to look forward to walking through the doors. We are working to make the room as bright, engaging, and inspiring as possible. We want them to own this place, to carve out their own special nook, and to want to come back.

Stay tuned for creativity busting out of our Kids Lab doors. In August, we’re piloting a free day camp program for school-aged kids focused around development, illustration, and animation of a cartoon character. Kids of our employees will spend three half-days in the office, learning about the basics of character development and illustration. They’ll have a bit of homework and will be able to interact with their parents and get a hands-on idea of what Mom or Dad does every day!