Back in 2008 we shared some of our workplace experiments including the four day work week (still in effect May – Oct), funding people’s passions (we’re still doing this, too), and discretionary spending accounts (everyone still gets a company Amex they can use for anything work related).
This June we’re trying something new.
This June will be a full month of free time to think, explore, mock up, prototype, whatever. People can go solo or put together a team – it’s entirely up to them. This is a month to unwind and create without the external pressures of other ongoing projects or expectations. We’re effectively taking a month off from non-essential scheduled/assigned work to see what we can do with no schedule/assignments whatsoever.
Some companies are famous for their 20% time where employees get 1/5th of their time to work on their own projects. In spirit I like this idea, but usually it’s executed by carving out a day here or a day there – or every Friday, for example – to work on your own projects.
But all time isn’t equal. I’d take 5 days in a row over 5 days spread out over 5 weeks. So our theory is that we’ll see better results when people have a long stretch of uninterrupted time. A month includes time to think, not just time to squeeze in some personal work around the edges.
The culmination of this month of free work time is Pitchday – the first Thursday in July. That’s when everyone will get a chance to pitch their idea, mockup, prototype, or proof of concept to the whole company. The better the pitch, the more likely the project will happen.
Some people have already paired up and recruited others to work on an idea together. Some are going solo. And some are taking the time to work on a combination of smaller things they’ve been meaning to work on for a while.
I’m really excited to see what people come up with (and share what I’ve come up with, too – David and I are working on something together). Hopefully our customers will see the results of some of these pitches over the coming months.
We’ll report back if we have anything interesting to share.