Whistler, British Columbia: The Best Place For A Startup

As a technology startup on the west coast of Canada, most people would expect that we’re based in Vancouver. Which isn’t a bad guess really considering that Vancouver has incubated some amazing startups, including Hootsuite and 7Geese. But, as awesome as Vancouver is, we decided to buck the trend and move 90 minutes north to a resort town called Whistler – and here’s 3 reasons why:

1. Adventure Engineering

We’re looking for Adventure Engineers who are as comfortable in the bike park as they are leading an orchestra of disruption with RoR, JS or another weapon of choice from your vast array of code bases.
Never seen Whistler Bike Park? Watch this video.


– Ad-ven-ture En-gin-neer-ing                                                                                            Noun: An unusual and exciting experience or activity built around a flexible work schedule

Adventure Engineering is just as much a lifestyle choice as it is a set of personality traits a person must have to be successful in a startup. Adventure Engineers have a thirst for learning, for experiencing new things and they actively seek discomfort over predictable situations – these are the very foundations that PayrollHero was built on. After living in Whistler for many years I realized that the town’s transient, travelling, adrenaline junkie (and extremely well educated) community was naturally breeding the Adventure Engineers I needed. I just had to convince them to stop travelling (for a short-time), not to go back to their existing jobs and to stay in Whistler with PayrollHero.

To attract and retain the best software engineers we started offering full time and flexi-time working hours, with great success. We then added our Adventure Engineers in Residence (EIR) program with the purpose of:

1.Cultivating our thirst for learning by bringing different methods to the table and new ways of thinking from across the globe

2. Enabling engineers from different cultural backgrounds and experiences to join us at PayrollHero, without the pressure of making a permanent move to Canada

Our first Adventure EIR, who is currently making a very big impression, is Dane Natoli from Australia – you can read more about his story, here.

Sound like something you’re interested in? Get in touch, and if we think you’re the right fit we can help you move to Whistler. We have excellent relationships with local immigration lawyers who are experts in working holiday visas, permanent residency and citizenship.

2. Jam with Incredibly Smart, Entrepreneurial People from all over the World

Most people who travel to Whistler have one thing in common – they’re all pretty damn smart! And I’m not talking about university smart, I’m talking about entrepreneurial smart. They have masters and doctorates; want to run or currently do run their own business; and are usually here on some kind of sabbatical or a career break. Whistler is a fruitful intersection of international disciplines and skills that is ripe for the picking.

We feed off this at PayrollHero. France, Australia, Poland, India, England and Canada are just some of the countries representing the team in our Whistler office; and each person brings their own unique brand of knowledge, experience and wisdom from their respective corner of the globe. In an environment that promotes high levels of developer collaboration and has constant focus on improvement it’s easy for creativity and innovation to spread through our products like wildfire.

3. Happy People make Happy Employees

Whistler Blackcomb in full summer bloom

Whistler in the full bloom. Taken from the top of Flank Trail on Sproatt Mountain

Vancouver is constantly listed as one of the top 10 most ‘liveable’ cities in the world, and one of the reasons is its proximity to the mountains and to world class ski resorts such as Whistler. So we skipped Vancouver and came right to the source.

Video on Whistler summer

Biking, golf, lake swimming, hiking, skiing  frisbee golf, bear watching and more, whistler has it all. Watch this video and experience a small fraction of summer in Whistler

With endless activities and flexi-time at work, we encourage everyone at PayrollHero to exercise their brains outdoors, as well as at the office. Here’s just a few examples of what we have to play with:

Einstein on a bike

Even Einstein rode bikes to help fuel his creative thinking!

I like to think we’re running PayrollHero in the spirit of the book, Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard. To get a better idea of how easy going life is at our office, read my other blog post: Do You Work to Live or Live to Work?

Having said that, don’t be fooled into thinking that every day is a holiday, here. We play hard and we work hard. If this sounds like the kind of environment your talents could thrive in, get in touch!

Whistler’s Vast, Untapped, Potential is…You

In this blog post we’re going to meet Vicky, who flocked to Whistler looking for a better work-life-balance and is now working with us here at PayrollHero. We’re going to share with you some of her tips and advice on moving to Canada and the truth about finding a career in a resort town – and hopefully inspire you to get in touch and make the move too.

* In a future post, coming soon, we’ll be chatting with local immigration lawyers to provide you with practical guide to the process of moving to British Columbia.

Meet Victoria, Curator of Digital Communities and Happiness

Name: Victoria Farrand

Age: 27

Home: Huddersfield, England

Previous Industry Job: Digital Content Manager and Creative Strategy at Brass Agency, UK

Reason for moving to Canada: I came for a career-break and never left, Whistler just pulled me in and I knew this was where I had to put my roots

How do people choose Whistler?

Ask most long-term locals how they ended up living in Whistler, and you’ll probably get the same answer over and over: “I came for a holiday and never left”. And like the thousands before her, Vicky didn’t plan on living in Whistler permanently either, it just happened.

“My partner, Tom, and I were setting off for a round-the-world trip… three years later, we never left Whistler and now we almost have permanent residency.” – Vicky

For every person who does stay, there are unfortunately many who don’t. Many who think that making a permanent life in a resort town is just too tough. So at PayrollHero we asked ‘what can we do to help more people realise their dream of living in Whistler?’

PayrollHero has a local immigration expert on our side

We have a great relationship with a local immigration lawyer here in Whistler. If we decide that you are the right blend of adventurous, dedicated and talented, and we offer you a position with us, they will guide you through the visa process for foreign workers.

We can help you live permanently in Canada

As well as finding talent from overseas, we also especially like to employ locals; and in a resort town ‘local’ can be someone who has been here 6 months or 6 years. We’re looking for the locals who are starting to think that they might have to move to Vancouver to get the job and they pay they want. Well don’t move, we want you! And if you’re not from Canada, Rudy will help you stay.

“We originally came to Canada on a working holiday visa, but a year later we decided we wanted to be permanent residents. Having lawyer took away all the stresses of this big life-decision. They helped us get Provincial Nomination with the BC Government, walked us through the implied status process and helped us get new working visas until or residency came through. This was very important to us because we were at the limit of how many visas we could get being from the UK. Now we’ve had our medicals and we’re just waiting for confirmation.” – Vicky

Move to Whistler for a career break…at first

As Vicky mentioned, you can come to Canada on working holiday visa. We recommend looking into it for your respective Country of origin, as each has different age restrictions and limits on the number of visas you can have.

Once you have been approved for a working holiday visa you can move to Whistler, British Columbia or anywhere else in Canada (but why would you want to go anywhere else).

“I moved from the UK to get away from the lifestyle associated with working for a big a marketing and advertising agency, I needed to escape the constant feeling that I was working working for the weekend and re-evaluate what It actually was that I loved about my job. As a result I’ve had many jobs in Whistler, I’ve been a snowboard instructor, a ski technician, a bootfitter and a zip-line guide to name a few, but doing these jobs has brought me full circle to realise that this is what I want to do, I just want to do it for the right company” – Vicky

Not everyone who comes to Whistler on a working holiday visa wants to only stay 6 months. A lot of people use it as a career break, a good way to escape the daily grind, and others use it as a way to bridge the gap while they apply for residency. But however you end up in Whistler one thing is sure, it’s hard to leave.

If you’ve ever been to ‘Super, Natural British Columbia you’ll understand why this west coast province continually attracts like-minded, creative people. Like like bees to honey, creatives flock from all over the world to find the right work-play balance. Each one bringing with them their culture, knowledge and skills; and here at PayrollHero we are very happy to welcome Whistler’s vast, mostly-untapped, potential – you.

Whistler sounding good to you? Drop us and email right here at support[at]payrollhero.com.


Move to Whistler For A Career In Software Engineering With PayrollHero

If you were to ask most people in town why they moved to Whistler, British Columbia they would reel off answers like skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking and summer nights by the lake; the rest would say they were on a gap-year and most on a career break, but very few (if any) would say they moved for the perfect job.

Whistler Blackcomb in full summer bloom

With such a transient community Whistler has a bit of bad reputation for employment, but it’s PayrollHero’s goal to change that…one well-paid happy, adventurous employee at a time.

Just in case you still have doubts, later on we’ll introduce you to our most recent success story – Florent Lamoureux, all the way from historic Bordeaux, France.

Keep on reading this post for why more and more career-focused people are moving to Whistler and how, together, we could make it happen for you.

Work to live and live to play

CEB uncovered that one of the top 5 reasons an employee would quit his/her job in 2012 would be to pursue a better ‘work-life balance’. So if you’re already feeling underwhelmed with your current work-life situation, the only way is up when you move to somewhere as recreation-focussed as Whistler, British Columbia.

Swap your stressful highway commute for a walk or a bike ride through acres of lush green coastal temperate rainforest; and on the way home you could even stop for a game of beach volleyball or an evening BBQ at one of four lake-side beaches.

Lost Lake Beach Whistler

* Does this look like the life you’d like?  You should get in touch and tell us a little about yourself. Maybe we could work together.

But isn’t moving stressful?

Psychiatrists Holmes and Rahe listed changing working conditions and moving house in their top 43 most stressful life events for adults. We know moving is never going to be easy, but there are a few things PayrollHero can do to help ease the ‘typical’ stresses of relocation.

 #1 Stress: Finding a house

PayrollHero has staff housing for our new-into-town employees. On arrival Florent and his girlfriend moved into their own apartment right in Whistler village to help them get orientated as quickly as possible.

Florent enjoying is new PayrollHero Staff housing

#2 Stress: That awkward gap between pay checks

In our PayrollHero staff housing, Florent received his first month rent free, second month at 70% off and third month at 50% off! We also have an office meals program to help keep everyone happy and healthy. Our commitment to happy employees doesn’t just stop there, our aim to also to have the highest average wage in Whistler. All added up, that should give you a few months of financial ease to help you settle in.

#3 Stress: Settling in and making friends

Making friends is easy in Whistler because everyone is here for the same reason – to have fun in the outdoors while striking a sustainable work-life balance in the mountains. Our employees enjoy regular activities paid for by PayrollHero, annual staff retreats and access to some of the world’s best biking and hiking trails right outside of our office.

My Move to Whistler: Florent Lamoureux

Florent Lamoureux PayrollHero Engineer

Name: Florent Lamoureux,

Social: @Flrent, Florent on LinkedIn, GitHub

Age: 22

Home: Bordeaux, France

Education: Masters Degree in Computer Sciences

School: SUPINFO International University

Reason for moving to Canada: To spend more time in the great outdoors and perfect his English.

What Florent thinks about his move to Whistler and PayrollHero:

“The slogan of Payroll Hero is ‘optimizing work with happiness’ and that’s something I felt with the company and Mike, right away. They made my move (with my girlfriend) very easy – they even came to pick us up from the airport. Since then I have enjoyed a great work environment, free food at the office and company activities in the summer. From the point of view of my work, I can use my JavaScript, web and mobile knowledge, while learning new skills like Ruby, and attending educational conferences with my co- workers, too.”

Do you feel the pull of the mountains, too? Are you our next PayrollHero Adventure Engineer? We’re always open to meeting new happy creatives from all over the world.

What to do now? Drop us and email right here at support[at]payrollhero.com. Be sure to include all the best bits about yourself and why you think you’d be a good fit at PayrollHero.