A typical office environment

The traditional office is broken… and I’m going to fix it

Before you go ahead and say “another self-entitled millennial”, I work full time, run another full time business on the side with another 2 businesses building in the background. I know what hard work is and I know that my work ethic is beyond reproach. Now, let’s get into this shall we…

The traditional office is broken. It’s broken because staff are afraid to ask for time off or flexible working hours, even after coming in early and putting in unpaid overtime for years. It’s broken because when you need to leave early every once and a while you need to go through a barrage of politics and if you’re lucky enough to be approved you still get the ‘look’ when you actually leave early. It’s broken because the stigma around working anywhere but the office is considered unproductive.

Now I’ve experienced this throughout my career with some companies better than others, but the business culture as a whole needs to change.

Last night I found a book that looked interesting and re-signed up for my Audible subscription (oh my god I didn’t realise how much I missed it). While driving to and from work today I listened to my new book and I can’t recommend it highly enough! The book is called Remote and was written by the creators of 37 Signals (you might have heard of their app, BaseCamp). I’m not all the way through it but boy is it full of insights that I’ll be incorporating into the businesses that I’m a part of because I fundamentally believe that these changes to every day ‘work’ changes the mindset of business from industrial-like micro management to innovative and disruptive business.

https://37signals.com/remote

While this isn’t an extensive or final list, this is what I want to implement in my own businesses

  • Work wherever you want: I don’t care where you work, as long as the work you need to do gets done
  • Work whenever you want: Sure, there will be times that you’ll need to be available for a customer call or a deadline but the majority of the time you work on your own hours
  • Unlimited annual leave: Need a week off? Take it. Need 3 months off? Take it. Work with us and get your work done and we’ll take care of you
  • Work related expenses covered: Any work related expenses such as travel, office supplies, meals are covered. No pre-approval needed and no limits
  • Hardware & software coverage: Any hardware or software you require to do your job is 100% on us. No questions asked and no red tape.
  • No fear sick days: Not feeling well? Don’t work. Don’t go to the doctors and prove to me that you’re sick, just get better

You might read the above and go “Luke, you’re an idiot and you’re going to lose” or “You’ll never get any real work done because you’re staff will slack off if you can’t see them”.

My response? I will never hire someone that I don’t trust, and if I do hire someone that takes advantage, their gone. It’s as simple as that. All of the above have a common sense factor that I would hope anyone has. If they don’t? They don’t get hired. On the other hand I’m not naive and understand that implementing these allowances will have some teething issues but I can’t in allow the traditional office to continue on any longer.

By implementing the above, I remove the requirement to spend hours commuting each day. I remove the requirement for night owls to get up at 5am to get to work by 9am. I remove the fear of not going on that family holiday. I remove the fear of grabbing lunch with a client. I remove the problem of not having the right tools for the job. I remove the fear of someone needing a day off for their physical or mental health.

Why in this day and age isn’t this normal?

Post #27, Luke.