Thursday, May 24, 2007

"let your employees decide when and where to work"

Time magazine has a refeshingly hype-free short article about 37signals. Half of the company works remotely.
First, kill all your meetings; they waste employees' time. "Interruption is the biggest enemy of productivity," he says. "We stay away from each other as much as we can to get more stuff done." Use asynchronous communication and software instead to exchange information, ideas and solutions. Next, dump half your projects to focus on the core of your business. Too much time and effort are wasted on second-tier objectives. Third, let your employees decide when and where to work so they can be both efficient and happy. As long as their fingers are near a keyboard, they could as easily be in Caldwell, Idaho, as in Chicago.
At Socialtext where I work, most of the company works remotely. Socialtext sells wikis, and internally, the entire company lives, breathes, and evolves on wikis. The part about asynchronous (PUBLIC) communication is right on. Not only is it effective communication, it is also a living knowledge base and repository for company culture.

I have had a lot of jobs. It's ironic that the company culture at Socialtext is so rich when the people in the company see each other so rarely.

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