Behind the Scenes: How we unwind without leaving the office

on 02 | 12 | 2015

Work-life integration is very important to us, and a big part of that is making sure our team members have the opportunity to play hard while they’re working hard. Of course, it’s a lot easier to get in regular downtime if it’s encouraged around the office, and there are a variety of ways we try to accomplish that.

Music is definitely a key element to the culture at Rivi, and you’ll always find us listening to music out loud in the afternoons. “I love the energy of Riviera,” says Principal Thor Bucy. “While everyone at Riviera is diverse in their musical preferences, we all share a common thread: we enjoy music that fires us up and keeps the energy levels high.”

We even have a dedicated music room where people can blow off steam on the in-house guitars and drum set. “The life of a recruiter is pressure-packed, so it’s great to have space for the team to relax, bond and jam out any tensions. There’s no better way to find balance and harmony than in the music room,” says Managing Partner Michael Morell. Don’t know how to play? Rivi offers guitar lessons for those interested in picking up a new skill.

Given our San Francisco headquarters, it probably comes as no surprise that food is also hugely important here in the office. Many colleagues get together to partake in ELF (short for Extended Lunch Fridays), and we hold a regular Bake Off and Dip Off where everyone can participate as chefs and taste testers. “Shh! Baking is my superpower!” says Arusyak Kirpichyan, Technical Recruiter and recent Rivi Bake Off Winner. “I love sharing my baking with colleagues, and they don’t seem to mind.” (See below for Arusyak’s winning recipe.)

Perhaps one of the most fun activities at the office is the weekly Friday Thunderdome Challenge. We have a really big ridiculous trophy with random stuff on it that represents the various challenges, and the winner gets to keep trophy for a week and gets to make up the challenge. “The challenges are picked by the previous winner and can be completely random and off-the-wall,” says Talent Specialist Torie Mantzouranis. “One of the funniest challenges was balancing a cookie on your forehead and getting it into your mouth without hands. That will definitely get your mind off work for a few minutes!”

There are also a variety of games scattered around the office, including Wii, Corn Hole, Foosball and Ping Pong (we’re hoping to hold an annual tournament). And our rather ideal waterfront location encourages activities in the near vicinity, like lunchtime jogs, walks by the water and outings to Giants games.

Interested in taking part in the fun? Contact us to find out about opportunities to join our team.

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Nutella Baklava

Yields 24 squares

Recipe adapted by Epicureanmom


1  cup honey

3/4 cup water

1 cinnamon stick

1 cup Nutella spread

1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup roasted pistachios, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup blanched toasted almonds, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

cooking spray

24 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted


Combine honey, water and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan over low heat; stir until honey dissolves.  Increase heat to medium and cook (without stirring) for 7-10 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 230 degrees.  Take off heat, and cover to keep warm.  Discard cinnamon stick.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place Nutella in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave for 45 seconds to melt.  Combine all nuts, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl.  Toss to coat.

Lightly coat a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray.  1 phyllo sheet at a time, place lengthwise in bottom of prepared pan allowing ends to extend over the edge slightly; brush evenly with butter.  Repeat with 5 phyllo sheets and butter.  Spread 1/3 of nutella over the last phyllo sheet, in an even layer.  Sprinkle with 1/3 of nut mixture.  Repeat process twice ending with 6 phyllo sheets on top of the last layer of nuts.  Gently press into pan.

Make 3 lengthwise cuts and 5 crosswise cuts to form 24 portions, using a sharp knife.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, or until phyllo dough is golden brown.  Remove from oven and drizzle with honey.  Cool; store at room temperature in an airtight container.