I was recently given the pleasure of having a tour of the FaceBook Campus in Menlo Park, California.
There are many stories of how amazing Facebook is and it didn’t disappoint. The campus is very much focussed around people. Some examples:
- There is as much food as you will ever be able to eat and all food is free, breakfast, noon and night. There’s also a candy and ice cream shop that serves up free desert.
- They have a retro gaming room
- There is a bike stop that will repair your bike if you have cycled to work
- One of the buildings has a roof top park where you can go sunbathe or just have a walk.
- They have a beauty spar on campus that offers massage therapy and other spar treatments.
All of the services above are offered to employees for free; if you didn’t have anywhere to live as a Facebook employee I’m quite certain you could move onto campus and live for 2 or 3 months with no real difficulty.
What I found really interesting though is that the investment Facebook makes into its people doesn’t end here. The culture at Facebook is to work as and when you want to work. Employees don’t have set hours, they instead are tasked with work to do and are sent away to do it. Facebook doesn’t care when the work is done as long as it is.
Performance at Facebook is measured in terms of impact; as long as you as an employee are having impact on the organisation and are getting through the work that has been assigned to you everyone is happy.
The other really cool thing is that if something doesn’t work, or makes people miserable they change it. A great example: In the early days of Facebook code used to get pushed on a Tuesday evening so often engineers would work into the night. As a result people always felt sluggish and unmotivated on a Wednesday and didn’t want to focus on meetings. To address this all meetings were cancelled on Wednesdays and the day is now known as “No Meeting Wednesday”.
Speaking as a business owner the model portrayed above is a scary thought. The idea of saying to your staff work when, where and how you want to work but just get the job done is a great idea but conventional wisdom would say that it shouldn’t work. I mean, if people don’t have to work why would they choose to?
The fascinating thing is that not only does it work at Facebook, it clearly works brilliantly! Everyone I spoke to seems to have a common purpose, working towards the same goal; all part of the same team working towards the same end point. This is the culture that I really believe most companies can only dream of creating.
Having toured Facebook there are ideas I now have that I want to put into practice within our own working environment at Footsqueek; in some ways having seen it work at Facebook it feels like some of the ideas they have about there working practice is common sense.
One thing that really interests me (and also massively scares me) is the idea of letting staff work the hours required to do the job. Facebook would argue that there is no point being at work 40 hours a week if you can do the same work in 10 hours and also do it better because you are well rested and motivated having had a good massage.
If you are reading this the challenge I lay down to you is to look at working practices within your organisation and then ask your staff what would make like better. If they say working less do you have the guts to say “Ok, work when you want to work; just get the job done”? Even if you think that’s to extreme, I wonder want other changes would make your staff happier?