Sonder: Where culture drives innovation

By Caitlin Fairty, Hospitality Agent

Sonder is making a name for itself by changing the way people travel. By combining the comfort of an apartment with hotel amenities, we offer our guests a stay experience like no other. But it isn’t just our approach to hospitality that’s changing the game.

At Sonder, the environment we work in matters. Waking up and heading to the office each day shouldn’t be something you dread, but in so many places, it is. Sonder is working hard to change that. We believe that a positive work culture is vital in creating a successful company that attracts and keeps excellent employees. For me, that environment has made a profound difference and is one of the reasons why I love working at Sonder.


Work culture matters. Numerous studies have demonstrated the importance of having a positive work culture. But just how important is it? And does it really make a difference for a company’s bottom line? As it turns out…it has a huge impact.

Corporate culture affects everything from profitability to creativity and employee satisfaction. It’s been proven that weak culture drives a loss of productivity and increases employee turnover. One poll showed that only 13% of employees are actively engaged at work and a whopping 63% are doing “just enough” to keep their job. If you’ve ever managed a team, you know how vital it is to hang on to good employees. Establishing a thoughtful, attentive culture where people feel both valued and passionate about their work is essential to building teams that will excel over time.

What makes Sonder unique? From the way we operate to the services we provide, Sonder has proven to be a disruption to the hospitality industry in the best way possible. In the nine months I’ve been with the company, I’ve found it to be an environment that isn’t just fun, but supportive and offers different opportunities to grow. Our company is full of talented, passionate people who love what they do and it’s easy to see why. Here are just a few ways Sonder is creating an incredible work environment:

Development & Growth are Encouraged

A good team thrives with good leadership. And at Sonder, I’ve found the leadership to be invaluable. From one-on-one feedback to events like the annual company-wide forum, there are ample opportunities for development. In my own role, I’ve been given the freedom to go beyond my traditional responsibilities and explore different ideas. My managers work hard to create an environment that supports my curiosity to learn and grow.

The Office is a Laid-Back Vibe

If you love wearing jeans and a t-shirt to work, Sonder’s the place for you. If you love wearing suits or dresses, hey, Sonder’s still the place for you! Team members are always encouraged to bring their authentic selves; wearing what you want is just a small part of what makes our office a relaxed place to work. From funky wallpaper and designs to comfy couches and good music, our work space is about as casual as it gets. Not every Sonder office is the same (in fact, they’re all extremely varied), but in San Diego, our office is filled with good snacks, cute dogs, and a lot of off-key singing. It’s a place I genuinely enjoy coming to every day. And that’s huge.

There’s a Devoted Culture Budget

Team bonding is critical for building trust and forging relationships. That’s why Sonder sets aside a budget each month for team activities. And no, we’re not just doing trust falls and human knots… we’re playing laser tag, cooking meals, throwing axes, going paddling, building gingerbread houses, besting each other in arcade games, and so much more. As hard as we work, we always manage to find time each month for a fun outing together. If you haven’t run screaming from your coworkers as they shoot you in the back with a laser, have you ever really team-bonded?


We Know How to Strike a Good Work-Life Balance

While we work incredibly hard, we also know the importance of kicking back and relaxing when the work day’s over. There’s always things to be done, but a flexible work schedule means we can take breaks when needed, enjoy time off, or even work from home. And if you’re a salaried employee, unlimited vacation time means you can be passionate about your career and still have time for island-hopping in Thailand or road tripping across the country. Balancing a full plate of tasks at work with a busy personal life can be tough. But as Sonder grows, our staff is growing with it and more people means a better divided workload.


How do we maintain culture during rapid growth? A positive work environment isn’t just about having fun in the office. It takes a lot of effort to build a work culture that attracts good employees and keeps them invested in their roles. We work hard to hire team members committed to our mission of transforming hospitality.

I enjoy my job. But even more so, I’m proud to work for a company that invests in me as much as I do for them. We offer competitive salaries, unlimited vacation time, and daily lunches—so it’s no surprise that our employee satisfaction ranks pretty high. Even hourly employees receive stock options, medical coverage, and paid time off. Sonder sticks to its principles to create a place where people want to come to work while driving innovation. And that’s a pretty amazing thing.

-Caitlin Fairty, Hospitality Agent | San Diego

Interested in building the future of hospitality at Sonder? We’re hiring in Design, Operations, Customer Service, Engineering, Finance, Hospitality, Real Estate and more in a handful of different cities. Check them out here and drop us a line if you’d like to join us on this incredible journey.

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