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The Record: Fibernetics focuses on fun to restore workplace passion

By  Terry Pender

John Stix and Jody Schnarr walk through the offices of the telecommunications company they founded 10 years ago, handing out cold glasses of Guinness after leading a rumba line during a barbecue lunch.

Every Friday, there is a celebration in the Fibernetics head office in Cambridge. A few times each week, Stix picks up baked goods on his way to the office and hands out the treats.

FiberneticsAbout four months ago, the growing provider of telephone and internet services embraced new core values that stress happiness, empathy, wellness, closer connections among employees, innovation, and the support and nurturing of its employees’ passions.

“A job gets you in the car in the morning, but passion gets you bouncing out of bed,” says Stix, president of the 250-employee firm.

Fibernetics has more than 300,000 customers across the country and annual sales of more than $40 million. It has offices in Cambridge, Toronto, Calgary, London, Ont., and the Dominican Republic.

The company is growing rapidly and looking for more space near its current office in Cambridge. The 25,000-square-foot building on Boxwood Drive is full.

The firm’s move to adopt new values that focus on happiness and well-being was prompted by Stix. About a year ago, he noticed his enthusiasm for work was flagging. The passionate co-founder had lost his passion. He looked around the office and thought a lot of other people felt the same way.

“It just wasn’t what it should be. It just felt like people weren’t excited about the future in here anymore,” he says. “They were just coming to work as opposed to feeling a passion.”