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Book synthesis

Singing the praises of peace at work

How do Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, directors of the software company Basecamp and authors of the book It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work, explain the success of their company? Their company is a place of calm.

Here’s what they’re suggesting: a management style that focuses on the virtues of calm and reasonable hours, unlike the stressful culture of hyper-involvement and presentee-ism that remains common in the US. “Calm companies” allow for sustainable performance, all while maximizing individual and collective intelligence. Furthermore, this at-work serenity encourages thorough concentration (deep work) on a regular basis, resolution of complex problems, and more constructive exchanges, all without excessive fatigue or stress.

So how does one concretely go about adopting a calm management style? Start by promoting reasonable hours, eight hours of real work per day, disconnecting from work in the evenings and on the weekends, and real vacations (two to three weeks), a rarity in the US. However, the authors also recommend a higher ratio of individual work to group interactions (meetings), favoring smaller groups and limited interruptions. And with reasonable deadlines, employees can avoid the tyranny of needing to stay connected at all times.

So basically, by reconciling a culture of calm with a culture of agility, this company is making a name for itself and proving that the two are not at all antagonistic.


To go further : It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson (Harper Business, 2018). 










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Jean-Christophe Beau
Published by Jean-Christophe Beau