About Anarchy in the Office

It’s 8 am on Tuesday. I walk into the office to find only one person there. I take my seat at my favourite spot by the window and check my emails. 10 minutes pass and a few more people arrive. It’s time for our weekly English lesson, which I have decided to teach after a group of colleagues got together and asked me. By the end of the lesson more people have trickled into the office, and we all go for a coffee together. The last colleagues don’t arrive until 10 o’clock. Some don’t arrive at all. It’s a typical day. “What’s going on?” you may ask!

Office Rules

You are probably familiar with office rules. Most offices have them:  things you are allowed to do and things you are not, specific times allocated for things and managers checking that you actually obey these rules. At mondora.com, however, we have no rules. Our office is governed solely by trust, respect and common sense. We need no rules. Our CEO Francesco believes he has employed adults in his company: adults are responsible beings, and therefore do not need office rules. School days are over.

Our office is governed solely by trust, respect and common sense. We need no rules.

Our flexible and relaxed office life seems normal to us, but when we travel to customers and experience other realities we are often amazed at the differences we see. Those of us who have previously worked for more traditional companies know what to expect and value the mondora way. Those who have only ever worked in mondora are often shocked at what they see.

Rules to be unfollowed

The strangest rules for us may seem normal to traditional company employees. Here’s a list of what we find unnecessary at mondora.com:

  • having to clock-in and out at specific times
  • having set times to get up from your desk – for example to go to the toilet (yes, we’ve seen this!)
  • having fixed desk places
  • not being allowed to use your mobile phone
  • not being allowed to use social networks, private email, etc – in some cases, not being allowed to access the internet at all
  • having fixed working hours, the same for everyone
  • having to ask for permission in a written statement, and days in advance, to have a few hours off work/leave early
  • having to wait for permission and approval before sending an email to a customer, ordering something for the office, etc

No Rules, then what?

So how do we deal with all this at mondora.com? Is it full scale chaos in our office? Not at all! Here’s how we do it:

Self-organised work day – Rather than clocking in and out, we come and go as we wish: we have tasks to complete for customers each day, and as long as we complete them, it doesn’t matter what time we’re in the office or how long we’re there for. Both our customers and our colleagues would notice if the work wasn’t done, whether we’re there or not.

flexible_hours
Employees come and go as they please – no need to control work hours @mondora. Photo: fortune.com

Freedom of movement – We can leave the desk as we please. We can even leave the office and go for a walk if we need to clear our minds or take a break. We are trusted to return and complete what we are working on like any responsible adult would. We don’t need to be chained to our desks to be working.

Free seating – One day we are working with a colleague, the next day we are working with someone else. It makes sense to just sit next to the person you are working with that day. So each morning, you choose where to sit and who to sit with. We all develop a few “favourite” spots to sit at, and everyone knows which they are, but they are not fixed and anyone can sit there.

Woman-at-Sunset
You are free to take a break, go for a walk, sit where you like, or work from a mountain top.                                                                                                               Photo: tinybuddha.com

 

Make that phone call – Sometimes we need to make or receive a private phone call at work. We are trusted to make the call and then return to the task we are performing. Our 2 minute “break” just let us solve an issue and free some space in our brain to better focus on work – rather than think about the call that needs to be made all morning until lunch time.

Break time is Yours – Everyone encourages employees to take regular short breaks in order to perform better. But if you are not allowed to leave your desk, check your facebook page or reply to a private email at work, what exactly should you be doing in this short break? Again, an employee who spends the day on facebook won’t have produced anything by the end of the day, and his/her team will know and point it out. It’s all about trust and responsibility, nothing more.

Flexibility is best – Fixed work hours are another unthinkable practice at mondora.com. One day you might need to arrive late because you had to take your daughter to the dentist. Another you might wish to leave early as you have friends coming round for dinner. Yet another, you might have a task to complete for a customer and work until late. As long as the work gets done on time, it doesn’t matter when you do it.

happy people in a restaurant!
Dinner party tonight? Just leave early so you have plenty of time to get ready!                Photo: punchbowl.com

Make your own decisions – As adults, we are trusted to (and required to!) make wise decisions by ourselves and not rely on a manager or CEO to decide everything for us. If we need some time off work, we get organised and take it. If we need to communicate to a customer, or order a new whiteboard, we do it. We take responsibility for our actions and when we get it wrong we sort it out and learn from the experience.

Trust vs. Control

It’s all about trust vs control. Most companies are structured on control, in the belief that the employee is forever trying to hide away from work, avoid tasks and waste time. In these companies the employee has no value, will not feel valued and will inevitably not perform his/her best.

As adults, we are trusted to make wise decisions by ourselves and not rely on a manager or CEO to decide everything for us

In companies that are structured around trust, the employee feels valued. He/she is a valued, trusted and responsible individual who is highly motivated to work efficiently and well. Employees who have direct responsibility over their work and direct contact with customers are much more likely to try their very best every single day, compared to employees who rely on a manager to do all the communication and explaining for them.

What’s your office like? Do you have any rules you believe are unnecessary? Does the idea of a rule-free office scare you or are you curious about it?

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