Culture eats strategy for breakfast – Peter Drucker
If you are one of those persons who likes to be ahead of the curve and is interested in knowing the trends and best practices of the market, this compilation of the book "It Does not Have to Be Crazy to Work" by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson may interest you.
The authors of the book are the founders of Basecamp, a technology company with a revenue of more than $10M per month, and 54 employees working from different parts of the world. In the book, they share their vision and culture, and what makes them a totally different company from usual market practices.
Basecamp is a unique company that inspires and invites you to rethink "What is it for? What are the results you are looking for, and if as a society we are doing it in the best way.
The following are some excerpts of the book.
It's Crazy at Work
We’re in one of the most competitive industries in the world. In addition to tech giants, the software industry is dominated by startups backed by hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital. We’ve taken zero. Where does our money come from? Customers. Call us old-fashioned.
We put in about 40 hours a week most of the year and just 32 in the summer. We send people on month-long sabbaticals every three years. We not only pay for people’s vacation time, we pay for the actual vacation, too.
No, not 9 p.m. Wednesday night. It can wait until 9 a.m. Thursday morning. No, not Sunday. Monday.
Are there occasionally stressful moments? Sure—such is life. Is every day peachy? Of course not —we’d be lying if we said it was. But we do our best to make sure those are the exceptions. On balance we’re calm —by choice, by practice. We’re intentional about it. We’ve made different decisions from the rest.
Work Doesn’t Happen at Work
Ask people where they go when they really need to get something done. One answer you’ll rarely hear: the office.
That’s right. When you really need to get work done you rarely go into the office. Or, if you must, it’s early in the morning, late at night, or on the weekends. All the times when no one else is around. At that point it’s not even “the office”—it’s just a quiet space where you won’t be bothered.
I’ll Get Back to You Whenever
The expectation of an immediate response is the ember that ignites so many fires at work.
First someone emails you. Then if they don’t hear from you in a few minutes, they text you. No answer? Next they call you. Then they ask someone else where you are. And that someone else goes through the same steps to get your attention.
All of a sudden you’re pulled away from what you’re working on. And why? Is it a crisis? Okay, fine then! They’re excused. But if it’s not—and it almost never is—then there’s no excuse.
In almost every situation, the expectation of an immediate response is an unreasonable expectation. Yet with more and more real-time communication tools creeping into daily work—especially instant-messaging tools and group chat—the expectation of an immediate response has become the new normal. (…)
Emergencies? Okay. You need me to resend that thing I sent you last week? That can wait. You need an answer to a question you can find yourself? That can wait. (…)
Almost everything can wait. And almost everything should.
At Basecamp, we’ve tried to create a culture of eventual response rather than immediate response. One where everyone doesn’t lose their shit if the answer to a non urgent question arrives three hours later. One where we not only accept but strongly encourage people not to check email, or chat, or instant message for long stretches of uninterrupted time.
Give it a try. Say something, then get back to work. Don’t expect anything. You’ll get a response when the other person is free and ready to respond.
And if someone doesn’t get back to you quickly, it’s not because they’re ignoring you—it’s probably because they’re working. Don’t you have some other work to do while you wait?
FOMO. The fear of missing out. It’s the affliction that drives obsessive checking of Twitter feeds, Facebook updates, Instagram stories, WhatsApp groups, and news apps. It’s not uncommon for people to pick up their phones dozens of times a day when some push notification makes it buzz, because WHAT IF IT WAS SOMETHING SUPER IMPORTANT! (It just about never is.) (…)
People should be missing out! Most people should miss out on most things most of the time. That’s what we try to encourage at Basecamp. JOMO! The joy of missing out.
It’s JOMO that lets you turn off the firehose of information and chatter and interruptions to actually get the right shit done. It’s JOMO that lets you catch up on what happened today as a single summary email tomorrow morning rather than with a drip-drip-drip feed throughout the day. JOMO, baby, JOMO.
Because there’s absolutely no reason everyone needs to attempt to know everything that’s going on at our company. And especially not in real time! If it’s important, you’ll find out. (…)
At many companies these days, people treat every detail at work like there’s going to be a pop quiz. They have to know every fact, every figure, every name, every event. This is a waste of brain power and an even more egregious waste of attention. Focus on your work at hand. That’s all we ask. That’s all we require. If there’s anything you must know, we promise you’ll hear about it. If you’re curious, cool—follow whatever you want—but we want people to feel the oblivious joy of focus rather than the frantic, manic fear of missing something that didn’t matter anyway.
We’re Not Family
Companies love to declare “We’re all family here.” No, you’re not. Neither are we at Basecamp. We’re coworkers. That doesn’t mean we don’t care about one another. That doesn’t mean we won’t go out of our way for one another. We do care and we do help. But a family we are not. And neither is your business. (…)
The best companies aren’t families. They’re supporters of families. Allies of families. They’re there to provide healthy, fulfilling work environments so that when workers shut their laptops at a reasonable hour, they’re the best husbands, wives, parents, siblings, and children they can be.
Have you heard about those companies whose benefits include game-console rooms, cereal snack bars, top-chef lunches and dinners, nap rooms, laundry service, and free beer on Fridays? It seems so generous, but there’s also a catch: You can’t leave the office.
These fancy benefits blur the lines between work and play to the point where it’s mostly just work. When you look at it like that, it isn’t really generous—it’s insidious. (…)
There’s an uncanny correlation between the companies with these kinds of benefits and the companies that can’t stop talking about the need to push work to the max. Dinners, lunches, game rooms, late nights—these mainly exist at companies that work 60-plus hours a week, not 40. Sounds more like bribes than benefits, doesn’t it?
At Basecamp, we’re having none of that. (…) There’s no mission to maximize the hours we make employees stay at the office. We aren’t looking to get the most out of everyone, we’re only looking for what’s reasonable. That requires balance.
That’s why we look at benefits as a way to help people get away from work and lead healthier, more interesting lives. Benefits that actually benefit them, not the company. Although the company clearly benefits, too, from having healthier, more interesting, well-rested workers.
Here’s a list of relevant “outside the office” benefits we offer all employees, regardless of position, regardless of salary:
· Fully paid vacations every year for everyone who’s been with the company for more than a year. Not just the time off, but we’ll actually pay for the whole trip—airfare, hotel accommodations—up to $5,000 per person or family.
· Three-day weekends all summer. May through September we only work 32-hour weeks. This allows everyone to take Friday off, or Monday off, so they can have a full three-day weekend, every weekend, all summer long.
· 30-day-paid sabbaticals every three years. People can spend it at home doing nothing, deep-diving into a new skill, or hiking the Himalayas. Whatever floats their boat.
· $1,000 per year continuing-education stipend. This isn’t about learning a skill people can use at work—it’s about everything outside of work. Want to learn how to play the banjo? It’s on us. Want to learn how to cook? It’s on us. None of these things have anything to do with work at Basecamp—they all have to do with encouraging people to do things they’ve always wanted to do but needed a bit of encouragement and help to actually make happen.
· $2,000 per year charity match. Donate to a charity of your choice up to $2,000, and we’ll match it up to $2,000.
· A local monthly CSA (community-supported agriculture) share. This means fresh fruits and vegetables at home for people and their families.
· One monthly massage at an actual spa, not the office.
· $100 monthly fitness allowance. We’ll basically pay for people’s health club membership, yoga classes, running shoes, race registrations, or whatever else they do to stay healthy on a regular basis.
Not a single benefit aimed at trapping people at the office. Not a single benefit that would make someone prefer to be at work rather than at home. Not a single benefit that puts work ahead of life. Instead, plenty of reasons to close the laptop at a reasonable time so that there’s time to learn, cook, work out, and live life with family and friends.
We Have a Choice
It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work is a very suggestive book. The authors share their vision and culture as a company, but mainly they invite you to think and question your standards of work.
We have a choice. We define our standards. Our standards and our priorities define us as persons.
It does not matter what position you have. We can all make better decisions.