Innovation

Skullcandy's new HQ includes a skate ramp and a prototype modeling shop

The cutting-edge headphone manufacturer has a newly designed headquarters that houses 120 employees in Park City, Utah.

skullcandy-skate-ramp.jpg

Skullcandy employees wait to take a turn on the company's indoor skate ramp.

Image: Skullcandy

Park City, Utah is the home of Skullcandy's new headquarters, the base from which it generates more than $300 million in revenue annually, with 25% from international sales.

The company was founded in 2003, and in 2011, it filed an IPO and went public. In 2016, it was purchased by Mill Road Capital for $197 million and became privately held again. But the biggest recent change has been moving into a brand new headquarters in Park City earlier this year. Skullcandy has 250 global employees and designs and manufactures headphones, earphones, audio backpacks, and MP3 players.

"We had a large stake in designing the new headquarters in terms of the look and feel both inside and out," explained CIO Mark Hopkins. The 45,000-square-foot building houses about 120 employees. It is in a development called Park City Tech Center, which is working to attract new technology companies to form a high-tech community.

PHOTOS: A look inside Skullcandy's cool new headquarters (TechRepublic)

One of the reasons why Skullcandy was in the position to move into larger headquarters was because of its growth. And that growth is due in part to its work with SAP. Skullcandy implemented SAP Business by Design to replace its manual spreadsheet-based system with a cloud-based fully automated process that streamlined everything from financial transactions to processing orders.

Getting around the new HQ

The first floor of Skullcandy's new building includes public space with a cafeteria, bike locker, showers, and a game area, as well as a retail store and a warehouse. The second floor is dedicated to employees, with an open floor plan featuring standing desks and collaboration spaces with larger meeting rooms as well as smaller areas where employees can do one-on-one video conferences or take phone calls.

Office space is booked through Teem, which places an iPad on the wall outside of each conference room so that people can see if a room is booked and, if not, opt to book it immediately. A Teem iPad is also being used at the front desk for visitor check-in and signing a non-disclosure agreement.

TVs are visible throughout the building. But they're not for entertainment.

"We have a lot of TVs around the office projecting both brand-related relevant YouTube clips that we're doing from a digital perspective, but we project company metrics. We closely track what's happening with social media," Hopkins said.

Each employee has a laptop so that they can be mobile throughout the building. Wi-Fi coverage extends to the outside patio areas so that employees can work inside or out. "It basically creates a seamless experience for users throughout the building and also when you go from site to site the Wi-Fi network is the same. If I go to Zurich, it's a seamless experience for me to walk into that office and get on the Wi-Fi. Authentication is the same," Hopkins said.

The engineering team received an upgrade with the move, with more space for prototyping, 3D printing, and a fully functioning modeling shop including a soundproof chamber for testing equipment.

Skate ramps and mountain biking

A big draw for employees is the on-site skate ramp. There's an iPad next to the skate ramp so that employees and their guests can sign a waiver before using the ramp. Hopkins said the skate ramp has gotten tons of use.

Biking to work is popular among Skullcandy employees because the office is located near mountain bike trails. "You can be on the dirt in about four minutes. Park City has a network of 450 miles of single-track mountain bike trails you can get to from there. People bring their bikes and leave them here during the week, and ride during work or after work," Hopkins said.

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Image: Skullcandy

Employees can use their general badge to enter most areas, but some places, such as the bike storage room, is "smart enough to know if you have a bike in there," he said.

Skullcandy uses Cisco TelePresence as its main backbone for video conferencing between international sites. "That integrates really well with partners on different platforms for video conferencing, like with our new owners. They have a polycom system, and we connect with them to have our monthly meetings through video conferencing," Hopkins explained. "Of late, we've been connecting with Logitech to talk through the Astro Gaming transition. They're using a different technology, and we're able to connect in with them and collaborate with them. It's pretty nice, pretty seamless. When we're on a video conference with these guys, we can do shared documents."

Overall, Hopkins said, the move has been extremely positive for employees, and it's really boosted creativity. The building is glass on all four walls, and it has a unique vibe. "It's been an injection of something new and something different and that helps us."

Three takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Skullcandy moved to its new 45,000-square-foot headquarters in Park City, Utah earlier this year.
  2. The new HQ includes a skate ramp and a prototype modeling shop.
  3. The company has $300 million in annual revenue, with 25% of sales coming from international markets.

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About Teena Maddox

Teena Maddox is a Senior Writer at TechRepublic, covering hardware devices, IoT, smart cities and wearables. She ties together the style and substance of tech. Teena has spent 20-plus years writing business and features for publications including Peo...

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