Inside Salesforce’s tropics-inspired Toronto office, with spa-like shower rooms, a tiki bar and treadmills with built-in phones

By Jean Grant| Photography by Kayla Rocca

What: San Francisco–based cloud computing company Salesforce’s Toronto office Where: An office building at Bay and Queen’s Quay How big: Over 700 employees spread out over five floors

Salesforce founder Marc Benioff came up with the idea for the company during a Hawaiian sabbatical. After renting a beach hut and becoming involved with the local community, he started his cloud-based customer relationship management company in 1999 based on the idea of “Ohana,” which means that all kinds of families (including corporate ones) are bound together and responsible for one another. Now, its Toronto offices are in the process of finishing a redesign that plays tribute to the brand’s bohemian roots, with carpets that resemble the ocean, natural wood surfaces and tropical ferns everywhere. Building a company around Ohana also means that employees get a ton of perks, like a substantial yearly education allowance (this year it was $6,900), paid volunteer days off, free yoga classes and healthy snacks galore.

For all of Salesforce’s global offices, location is key to retaining employees: in Toronto, the central building has incredible waterfront views out of these south-facing windows and is connected to many different kinds of public transit:


On the company’s internal communication platform, Chatter, staff regularly debate the types of snacks provided in the office. There’s recently been a push for healthy stuff like dried seaweed, roasted chickpeas and vegetable chips:


The fridge contains an abundance of soy, almond and cashew milks. Once a month, there’s a catered lunch for the entire office:


In addition to unlimited coffee and Diet Cokes, looseleaf tea was another staff request:


The new design is contemporary yet woodsy, with lots of calming tones and nature-inspired accents:


To make the best use of its space, the company mixes up the size of meeting rooms, so one person doesn’t hog a space meant for six. All lights are automatic, for sustainability:


There are yoga classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and employees also get $100 a month to put towards fitness classes or a gym membership. The new office also has three spacious, spa-like shower rooms, for employees to use after biking to work (or post-lunchtime jog):


They come with amenities:


These phone-equipped treadmills let staff close deals while getting some exercise:


In addition to desktop monitors, employees can also choose between an Apple or PC laptop. Every desk can be easily converted to a standing desk, and the chairs are by Herman Miller. Once a month, employees can get an “ergonomic assessment” to best fit their chair to their body:


Photos around the office are meant to resemble family shots. Salesforce’s charitable policy is to donate one per cent of its time, one percent of its founding equity and one percent of its product every year. Volunteering in the office can get pretty competitive. If you complete your seven (paid) days, you get a $1,000 grant to the charity of your choice:


Education also gets competitive: most employees we chatted to were completing an MBA or taking extra courses on the side (otherwise they’d basically be throwing away $6,900 a year). There’s also a lot of in-house training that takes place in meeting rooms like this (the green carpet is meant to feel like you’re taking a walk in a park), and the company’s San Francisco headquarters regularly livestreams mindfulness seminars and stress management sessions:


A tiki bar comes in handy for cocktail parties and mix-and-mingle events:


There’s also a games room on the third floor, with basketball, a foosball table and lots of video games. This floor is home to a bunch of engineers and it’s regularly in use:



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