I’ve used quite a bit of Ben Werdmuller‘s software over the years. He co-founded Elgg, which I used for some of my postgraduate work, and Known, which a few of us experimented with for blogging a few years ago.
Ben’s always been an entrepreneur and is currently working on blockchain technologies after working for an early stage VC company. He’s a thoughtful human being and writes about technology and the humans who create it, and in this post bemoans the macho work culture endemic in tech:
It’s not normal. Eight years into working in America, I’m still getting used to the macho culture around vacations. I had previously lived in a country where 28 days per year is the minimum that employers can legally provide; taking time off is just considered a part of life. The US is one of the only countries in the world that doesn’t guarantee any vacation at all (the others are Tonga, Palau, Nauru, Micronesia, Kiribati, and the Marshall Islands). It’s telling that American workers often respond to this simple fact with disbelief. How does anything get done?! Well, it turns out that a lot gets done when people aren’t burned out or chained to their desks.
Ben comes up with some ‘rules’:
- Take a real lunch hour
- Take short breaks and get a change of scenery
- Go home
- Rotate being on call — and automate as much as possible
- Always know when your next vacation is
- Employers: provide Time Off In Lieu (or pay for overtime)
- Track and impose norms with structure
- Take responsibility for each other’s well being
All solid ideas, but only nine rules? I feel like there’s a tenth one missing:
10. Connect with a wider purpose
After all, if you don’t know the point of what you’re working for, then you’ll be lacking motivation no matter how many (or few) hours you work.
Source: Ben Werdmuller
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