May 02, 2014

Row of cubicles

Images of cubicles come to mind when the term "office" is used. Credit: Adnan Saulat / Flickr Creative Commons

Guest:

  • Jason Fried, founder and CEO of Basecamp.

Jason Fried is about as far as you an get from a typical CEO.

He gives employees Fridays off during the summer. Most days, he doesn't care if they come into the office. And he thinks most too many peoples' lives are now overrun by meetings and managers (though, to be fair, Fried admits he is a manager).

Working outdoors

Non-traditional office arrangements are becoming more widely accepted. Credit: Markus Spiering / Flickr Creative Commons

So, what's behind these heretical views? Fried wants to create a culture that attracts and retains the best talent. Even if that means turning the traditional office on its head.

Indeed, when Basecamp started, Fried was in Chicago and his partner, David Heinemeier Hansson, was in Copenhagen. But the 7-hour time difference didn't slow them down. "So we had a few hours where we were both working. And then the majority of the day, when I was sleeping, he was working. And he was sleeping, I was working. Which allowed us to really get a lot done."

When Hansson ultimately moved to Chicago, the two thought their productivity would be turbo-charged. But the opposite happened. "When you're together all day, it's really easy to interrupt each other."

Out of that experience came a resolution. "We've always decided that we want to have the best people in the world working at Basecamp," Fried says. "It's unlikely that every best person in the world in their job happens to be within a 20-mile radius of our office. That's just now the way things work."

Tune into our full interview to hear why people in the Basecamp office try not to speak to each other - and why working from home often means you work harder.

offices, corporate culture, Basecamp, Jason Fried, Business, Culture

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