Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Office life is so passé.
Putting a bunch of people being in an artificial environment and making them pretend to get along isn’t necessarily the ideal way to run a business.
So Christian Mischler tells his staff to get lost.
He doesn’t particularly want to see them. He’d prefer it if they work at the beach. Or, frankly, anywhere.
You’ll be thinking there must be a catch. Well, he does insist they remain productive and meet their goals. And that’s pretty much it.
As he told News.com in Australia: “If someone's super-efficient on a Friday night between 12am and 4am, they should be allowed to work then. If someone's super-productive, they might take just three days to reach their performance targets, and then have the next few days off to recover for the following week. It's a very flexible, fluid work culture.”
This all feels painfully intelligent.
The business that Mischler co-founded is called HotelQuickly. Unlike Hotel California, you can check out (pretty much) any time you like and you can leave.
HotelQuickly is a last-minute hotel booking app that must be very useful for Mischler himself, as he spends around 250 days a year staying in various hotels. Just look at his Instagram page.
He claims, in fact, to have no fixed abode.
Could this be related to the fact that he used to be a captain in the Swiss Military Intelligence? Who can say?
It’s not as if his staff members avoid people entirely.
He said: “We try to have as natural communication as possible and as many physical meetings as possible. There's constant interaction. If someone's going from Vietnam to Indonesia, we encourage them to meet people there and have coffee.”
In general, though, if staff agree to stay connected, they can take so-called workcations. This means that they can wander about wherever they want and not even charge it against their annual vacation time.
It all sounds insanely sane.
Of course, logic requires a couple of dull rules. IT and customer service have to have at least someone available 24 hours a day.
And as for those pesky engineers, desperately needed to make sure the app doesn’t disappear into Internet ether — well, they take a one-week workcation every three months. Otherwise, they’re rather stuck with each other.
Mischler believes that the very nature of work-life balance has shifted. He said: “We're no longer at work or at home or on holidays. There's always a mix. There are some days where you're not productive. You can't force people to be.”
But if you need to force them to be productive, how much easier is it when you’re asking them to be productive while they’re sitting under a palm tree having their glutes massaged?
You’ve never tried it? I highly recommend it.
Naturally, Mischler’s attitude might not work for every business. But as more and more actions and transactions happen virtually, the need for a whole group’s physical presence (and mutual distaste because of all the hours spent together) becomes diminished.
It might even make people behave in a slightly less political way. If you like where you are, you might be less tempted to machinate against others. (Remember that glute massage?)
Telling people they can travel constantly allows work life to feel more balanced. It suggests an understanding that the world has changed and the organization wants to change with it by making employees enjoy if not the act of working then at least the work environment.
HotelQuickly is hiring.