Flexible Workspaces, Innovation, and Creating Engaged, Impactful Cultures
As a founder and the CEO of Vari, Jason McCann’s mission is to help companies create environments that elevate people. A lifelong entrepreneur, Jason has more than 30 years of experience building and running successful companies. He learned the importance of putting the customer first early-on while working in his mother’s hair salon as a child.
Jason co-founded VariDesk in 2013, and the brand quickly became synonymous with sit-stand desks. Under his leadership, the company grew at an incredible pace and expanded its product and service offerings significantly, calling for it’s new, more inclusive name – Vari.
Today, the company has grown into a workspace innovation company that provides everything high-growth businesses need to unlock the potential of their workforce – from a full suite of office furniture to the workspaces themselves, offering space-as-a-service with VariSpace. A multi-tenant campus ideation lab designed to elevate the way businesses approach office, VariSpace offers first-class amenities, fully furnished offices, and flexible lease terms to enterprise-level clients.
Researchers, Companies, and Inflatables mentioned in the episode:
05:00 Jason has a long history of entrepreneurship prior to his work at Vari; Yaga’s; Gemmy
08:40 The origin story of Vari
10:26 The original design for Vari won a bunch of innovation awards
13:00 As an entrepreneur you have to constantly innovate
13:37 Jason and his team managed to get a meeting at Verizon – they walked in with the prototype and marketing materials which consisted only of an article from the Wall Street Journal in which Dr. Levine was quoted as saying, “Sitting is the new smoking”
14:40 Then they took it to The Container Store offices, and found that they already had standing desks – but they weren’t adjustable
16:14 They debuted the product at the NeoCon in Chicago and they won first and second place for innovation
19:45 This first adjustable desk was the #1 selling item in SkyMall
20:30 They soon realized they had a shot to build a lasting, great company taking elements from other great companies – great customer service (Zappos), great culture (Southwest Airlines), disrupting the market (Tesla)
21:20 Listening to customers led to further innovation and their anti-fatigue mat ended up being the #1 selling mat on Amazon, and then they tackled monitor arms, electric standing desks, and so on
23:15 By 2016 they were the fastest growing company in Dallas, and in 2017 they won Entrepreneurs of the Year
25:55 At its core, Vari is about elevating people to feel healthier, happier, and more productive in their workspace
29:00 Jason runs through some case studies starting with their first VariSpace location
33:00 Covid changed the game for at home workspaces; Dr. Benden
38:25 You should be able to leave a day of work with your body feeling good
39:25 Creating a pro-employee flexible workspace leads to better employee engagement and healthier cultures; Simon Sinek
42:35 Vari intentionally placed centralized trash and recycling containers (rather than at individual desks) to encourage movement and interaction for employees throughout the day
47:20 As humans we need social interaction so leaders must find ways to encourage and enable this in the workplace
48:50 VariDesk rebranded to Vari in 2020
51:29 Vari partnered with the Starrett’s non-profit, StandUp Kids, to convert a local school to standing desks
54:04 Jason discusses the future of work culture and the impact of Covid
57:33 Jason’s socials
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