Is sending a business mail on Sunday considered working? What if I meet up with colleagues in a coffee shop on a sunny Thursday morning and we briefly discuss the next project? When a job is fun, work and leisure time begin to merge. Our company is a startup, developing an end-to-end sensor data solution, with about 35 employees on board. Traditional working hours don’t play a role for us. Our people work everywhere when they feel like it, and create their own working environment this way. Nobody is thinking about the Working Hour Act.
I very well understand that a legal restriction of working hours makes sense for most people – for example in physically demanding professions. For that reason, it wouldn’t make sense to abolish the Working Hour Act.
But of course, we should take a closer look at where this regulation still fits and define individual rules for different industries. For us and a lot of other IT-enterprises, the current regulations are simply unrealistic – it doesn’t suit the way our industry around the globe works.
I don’t really care how many hours my team members work. The only thing that we care about is performance. We agree on goals and everyone can decide how to achieve them – whether finishing a task takes 20 hours or only ten doesn’t matter to me as a CEO.
Of course, organizing work this way demands a lot of responsibility. Because our employees work independently most of the time they already carry this responsibility. And they also have to care for themselves here. If somebody says: I am going home now, then he is done for the day. Everyone needs breaks – and the possibility to switch off phone and emails when leaving the office.
The work atmosphere in the US is much more flexible than it is here in Germany. In the States, lawyers are of course available on Sundays, for example. In Germany, we have to cope with the Working Hour Act – and we have taken it into account when we created our treaties.
Nevertheless, it is a fact that we have to ask people to take a day off. After all, chances are good that we work a whole lot more than in a traditional enterprise. On the other hand, we couldn’t exist without this behavior. Our financial possibilities are limited. We have to be fast and deliver top notch quality if we want to persist. Part of our team resides in the Silicon Valley. If we want to directly communicate with them, we have to either stay late or get up pretty early. With fixed working hours, we wouldn’t manage to do that.
Disclaimer: This article has been published first on Xing.com’s “Klartext”, has been translated by Philipp Mehl and is now published with the approval of Xing.