Introducing: The Mobile Office
Freedom at work: many want it, not many have it. That's wrong. Lack of freedom not only makes people sick, it also drains productivity, and obstructs a healthy gender balance. To break with this sad tradition, it's time for the Corporate Rebels to take a stand. It's time for a symbolic - and joyful - act.
Walk the talk
As you probably know by now, we try to practice what we preach. As we learn from global workplace pioneers, we customize and test good ideas with our own team. And that's not always easy.
Sometimes we fail; sometimes we succeed. We're very satisfied with how we set goals, assess performance, use the advice process, and self-set salaries. At the same time, we're working hard to improve psychological safety, and getting better at feedback—both giving and receiving.
We'll never be a perfect workplace - that's one thing we're sure of! But we do aspire to become ever better and setting an example for others out there.
And I can tell you: if making work more fun is your company's purpose, walking the talk is a fun thing to do!
Freedom lies in being bold
From the very start, we embraced high levels of freedom in the workplace. Now, everyone in our team can work whenever, wherever, and how many hours they want. We don't track hours or vacation days. We believe in focusing on results, not hours spent behind a desk.
Still, most of us prefer to spend most of our time in the office. To collaborate, to share, and to spend quality time with each other. A pretty good thing, I'd say. It’s not the anarchy many fear when fixed working hours are abolished.
Let my people go kitesurfing
While on a kitesurf trip to Spain in October, my girlfriend and I drove past heaps of camper vans. The mobile homes of these kitesurf fanatics symbolized their free-spirited lifestyle. "Let my people go surfing", the biography of Patagonia's founder, Yvon Chouinard, naturally popped up in our conversation.
I thought of the amazing time Joost and I had back in 2016 while surfing with Patagonia staff during our visit to their headquarters (more on that in our book). The freedom we witnessed at Patagonia has been a source of inspiration ever since.
Back home after the trip we decided to put two and two together. It was time to turn one of those crazy ideas we have into reality.
An office away from the office
A week after my return we bought an old camper van. Then we redecorated the interior and gave it a proper paint job.
The result? The Corporate Rebels mobile office was born!
There's room for 8 (if you squeeze in) and has sleeping space for 6. We can now push freedom in the workplace to an even higher level!
Strong winds? Take the office to the beach and combine kitesurfing with blogging. Summertime? Relocate to a lovely outdoors spot and bring the BBQ. Festival season? Leave your laptop at home, drive towards the music, and get a party started!
Follow our Instagram account to see what we're up to with our mobile office.
You see...walking the talk doesn't have to be that hard ;).
Now over to you.
What could you do to push freedom in your workplace? Any bold ideas for you and your colleagues? Any good examples of what you're already doing to symbolize and promote freedom?
Or do you have a great idea for deploying the Corporate Rebels mobile office? We'd love to hear in the comments below.
Download a free sample chapter of our book. Subscribe to the newsletter.
In their new book, "Humanocracy", Zanini & Hamel describe how thousands of scientists organized themselves in the Atlas project. This project was to build one of the most important parts of the world's largest-ever machine, CERN's Large Hadron Collider. They organized themselves in a bottom-up structure that relied on peer-to-peer coordination rather than traditional command-and-control. This reminded me of how the former VISA organization was structured. Let me explain how such membership cooperatives work.
In his excellent book Brave New Work, Aaron Dignan asks whether your organisation behaves like traffic lights or roundabouts. These are two very different approaches to busy road intersections. Traffic lights have strict rules, which require no thought or judgement. You go when its green and stop when its red. Roundabouts, on the other hand, are based on agreed principles.
Work is solving other people’s problems. Most progressive companies on our Bucket List think they do that best when structured as networks of teams, rather than hierarchical pyramids. Teams in radically decentralized networks are often self-managed and highly autonomous. And these teams are often very small. They rarely consist of more than 15 people. But why are self-managed teams in these networks typically so small? There are very good reasons.