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San Mateo tech company helps local businesses and workers with perk

Peninsula tech company perk boosts worker morale and local businesses
Peninsula tech company perk boosts worker morale and local businesses 02:59

A tech company in San Mateo is making a focused effort to help the downtown area it calls home with a unique perk that gives both businesses and employees a boost.

When 3 p.m. rolls around and Verkada employees are looking for an afternoon pick me up, that means it's time for "3-3-3" for Aditya Anguria and his co-workers Melissa and Alice.

"You get to go out with people. It allows us to connect with people you work with every day," Anguria said.

"3-3-3" means if three Verkada employees or more go grab a bite or drink together after 3 p.m., the company will cover the cost, up to $30 per person.

Both arms of the initiative are important to Anguria. The purpose is to create connections among employees, but also to contribute to the community of San Mateo, where the company is headquartered.

"It's been a great way not just to explore a lot of the local restaurants and shops, but also it feels good when a company is investing in the local businesses in its community. It's not just helping its employees; it's all of the local businesses in the community in San Mateo." Anguria said.

On this day, they hit a local favorite: Tong Sui, a tea spot on B Street. The tab? $28. Manager Adam van Arkel says they do see good business after 3 p.m.

"Tons of people come down here on their break, talking about work," Van Arkel said.

Management at the shop says they've seen a difference since Verkada started the program a little over a year ago.

"You know, if 12 people are coming in to get a drink and a pudding, that's quite a big sale for us. It's quite helpful," Van Arkel said.

Verkada's CFO Kameron Rezai came up with the idea. The main purpose is to foster connections among co-workers, but it has had a two-fold impact.

"So really, it's been an opportunity for us to invest in our people and invest in the community," Rezai said.

How much has the company spent at local businesses since the start of the "3-3-3" program?

"At least half a million dollars across the San Mateo area," Rezai said.

Unlike many tech companies, Verkada does not do hybrid work.

"We have about 1,200 people in the San Mateo location at the office every day. We're here in downtown San Mateo. And we've seen the challenges that other downtown areas, including San Francisco, have experienced. With the tech companies not having people around, we're in the office. We're here five days a week. So how can we use that to support the community?" Anguria said

Anguria and his co-workers say they don't abuse the privilege. They only take advantage of the perk a few times a month.

"The purpose of this one was just to meet up with new people that I haven't spent a lot of time with. Getting to know them a little bit and taking a break from work before jumping into the rest of the meetings of the day," he said.

To him, it becomes an easier task, knowing that he's building a community both within the office space and with the surrounding neighborhood.

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