No Bosses, No Office, and a Four-day Work Week

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The title itself is intriguing.  How can a productive organization function on a four-day work week without bosses or an office?

When Cristian RennellaCo-founder of oMT, launched his tech start-up, he eliminated several tools and techniques that are usually associated with organized efficiency.

The most surprising changes were in the area of supervision and work allocation. Rennella couldn’t understand why people without technical knowledge had to tell programmers “what” to do and, furthermore, why they had to supervise “how” programmers did it.

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Here’s how Rennella explained the changes he implemented in the standard operating model when he launched oMT:

  • No Meetings – Every internal communication is done through written text. There are no calls, physical meetings, nor teleconferences. A developer needs an average of four consecutive hours of uninterrupted work to be able to carry out a good quality job with significant advances. Consequently, the ideal day would be for a programmer to work in the morning from 9am to 1pm and in the afternoon from 2pm to 6pm, in order to reach maximum productivity.
  • No Office – To start with, the time we waste by commuting to the office whether it is by public transportation or by driving our own cars is on average one hour to get there and one hour to get back home. That is to say, if we work nine hours a day, we are wasting an extra 22% of time just on commuting. We also have to add the cost of the rent and the cost of commuting to and from the office.

But the economic reason is not the most important one, nor the main reason for going back to working without an office; instead it was the physical and mental tiredness that commuting causes. That time could be used to achieve a much more important goal like spending time be with your family.

  • Shorter Work Week – In a technology project like ours, more doesn’t always mean better.  What we need is that engineers are satisfied with their jobs and motivated to do them well. We are not interested in the amount they produce; quality is what is essential.  According to our own experience, an excellent programmer can do in half the time and with better quality what an average programmer does.  What’s more, we are tired of listening to and reading about the balance between work and family. For us, this is the best answer to this historical problem: you can now be with your family 50% more of time.

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I think more organizations will move towards this model in the future. Especially if these elements of work life become key in the competition for top talent.

My organization is definitely making the shift.  There is more formality around technical requests and barriers to interacting directly with developers. It can be aggravating at times but I imagine that it enables our technology team to work uninterrupted for greater portions of the day.

Due to limited resources, our technology group is being forced to increase their efficiency and all departments are being forced to plan strategically. That’s good for everyone.

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Read the original article by Rennella here.

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Categories: Professional Development

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