How much do I love 37Signals? Look at the workplace experiments they’re conducting:
- Shorter Work Weeks (!): “Last summer we experimented with 4-day work weeks. People should enjoy the weather in the summer. We found that just about the same amount of work gets done in four days vs. five days. Three-day weekends mean people come back extra refreshed on Monday. Three-day weekends mean people come back happier on Monday. Three-day weekends mean people actually work harder and more efficiently during the four-day work week.
- Funding Employee Extracurriculars: “ If someone wants to take cooking lessons, we’ll help pay for those. If someone wants to take a woodworking class, we’ll help pay for that. Part of the deal is that if 37signals helps you pay, you have to share what you’ve learned with everyone. Not just everyone at 37signals, but everyone who reads our blog. So expect to see some blog posts about these experiences.”
- Work-Related Spending Accounts: “If you want a book or some software or you want to go to a conference, it’s on us. We just ask people to be reasonable with their spending. If there’s a problem, we’ll let the person know. We’d rather trust people to make reasonable spending decisions than assume people will abuse the privilege by default.”
I’m impressed. If I have the opportunity, I’d love to follow this model. Happy employees, I assume, means more productivity (i.e. people are invested because the company is investing in their employees’ happiness).The great thing is that this amazing company has asked readers for suggestions and promised to report back about these work-related experiments.