I often hear the 'Google is bigger, so they can afford it' argument... Bigger means they have MORE PEOPLE. That means it costs more.
I can understand a startup saying they can't do it, but an established company with profits? They could, if they wanted to. (Not that it would necessarily make sense, mind you. It depends on the industry.)
And the teamwork thing is nonsense, too. Googlers can work on other peoples' 20% projects in their 20% time. So it encourages teamwork as well. (And I'd likely be one of those, as I have few good ideas, but enjoy helping others flesh theirs out.)
Some people choose to make time for their side projects, and some don't. The real benefit to 20% time is fostering the environment where employees are encouraged to help other areas of the company or to step outside of their day to day responsibilities.
This also promotes teamwork across teams, which is really important when you have so many different products that need to feel cohesive.
Assuming that's a myth, why do people leave Google? It seems like a dream place to work.
Personally, I left to pursue doctorate studies.
The working hours are not crazy for all, but it's all bout getting things done, and people feel responsible of their tasks, so there is also a significant part of WFH.
NPR isn't an established company with profits. It's a non-profit funded (in part) by a government always itching for an excuse to withhold all its funding.
"NPR is overfunded. They let their developers do whatever the hell they want for 20% of their time!"
I'm the CTO. Feel free to ask me anything about the culture we have.
One even rigged up an iPad to their in-house keg that somehow analyzes pours and is working on the "perfect" pour for each beer.
"Lumbard said the managers had toyed with the idea of adopting Google’s 20 percent time, but they concluded it wouldn’t work for NPR. Google has thousands of employees and extraordinarily deep pockets, which mean it can afford to let employees take a day every week for side projects. Plus, Lumbard says, 20-percent time puts the emphasis on individuality, whereas NPR’s approach values teamwork."
1. Let your employees decide/vote on the weekend, so as few miss it due to vacation and whatnot as possible.
2. Make it Thursday night - Sunday afternoon, and give them Monday off to recuperate/run errands/catch up on life. 8 days off/year instead of 52 should be much more doable for a smaller operation like NPR.
3. Schedule it far in advance, encourage people/teams to brainstorm ideas and have a rough project plan or three ready to go Thursday night.
4. Provide all the junk food, health food, and caffeine they can eat, free. Let them choose the menu when they're voting on the dates. Set up an internal website for all of this.
5. Make sure they've got all the hardware and software they could anticipate needing all on-site and ready go at the start. Minimize setup time.
6. Have something for planned for families as well, involve them if possible. Imagine, instead of going to watch a baseball game on the weekend with your mom and/or dad, going to a hackathon with them. Have a mini-hackathon on the side for the kids.
7. Have demo night Sunday at the end, fun/funny awards as well. For example, I dig Foursquare's 'Bender' badge for someone who goes out 4+ nights in a row. A hackathon equivalent would be whoever worked on site the longest and slept the least.
I don't think one work day every quarter is going to do much for them, but if they set it up like a hackathon sprint party over a very long weekend, they might get some interesting results.
>Make it Thursday night - Sunday afternoon,
>8 days off/year instead of 52 should be much more doable for a smaller operation like NPR.
Yeah, if I want to spend extra time at work I can focus on whatever the hell I'd like to, too.
You seem to be missing the point of a "20% time" or "serendipity day" if you think it can be duplicated by giving extra work to people in a salary exempt position.
One provides periods of autonomy without asking any more from workers, it only gives. The other asks for a huge time commitment. It shifts a big portion of benefit from employee to employer.
That goal is pretty loose and many people have spent their time working on their own cool ideas as well as internal tools that our sales team can use to make their lives easier.
I've found having a "free day" to look forward to makes it easier to focus on my regular tasks the first 4 days of the week.We also have the rule that the project needs to be shown off so you're accountable for the time. Nobody uses it just to goof off.
I know at least one new product is likely to come from this already and we've only been doing it for a few months. I'm really excited to see what comes out of it in the future.
Soo... it has fuck-all to do with Google's 20%?