Freedom: Time to Work On Anything You Want

Smiling business people working together at a meeting

A phenomenon sweeping across corporate America is a program which allows people to work on their own projects while at work and still get paid to do so. It stems from Google’s 20% time program. The 20% refers to the number of work hours in which Google employees can work on personal projects. This concept dates all the way back to 1948, where Art Fry, a scientist at 3M, allowed employees to use a portion of their paid time to hatch their own ideas. Google’s 20% time allows employees to spend approximately 8 hours a week to work on new personal projects. Essentially, it allows employees to spend one day a week to work on their own designs. This concept has been adopted by other companies. For example, inCubator allows their engineers to spend 30-90 days a year away from their regular work to develop ideas of their own.

Advantages to Employees

The obvious advantage of the 20% program for employees is it allows them to spend time at work on their personal projects while still being paid. They can pursue their own interests without having to do it at home on their own time. It makes work much more enjoyable and interesting if employees can work on their own projects. Thus, having a job at a company that uses this concept can make you excited to go to work, ultimately allowing you to work harder while enjoying what you do. It makes the work week seem shorter. For example, Google’s 20% program basically allows one day a week for creative individual work; therefore, the work week is essentially only 4 days long. It also allows employees to work with people who have similar skills and interests, and possibly allow them to work on a project together. This can help people create projects that wouldn’t be possible on their own, either due to the size of the project, or a lack of spare time. For example, maybe one employee has a family and has very little spare time; the 20% program gives them the time at work to accomplish something they otherwise couldn’t. It also allows them to pad their resumes with their own personal projects, demonstrating creativity and determination.

Advantages to Employers

At first glance, the 20% program may seem like a bad thing for employers. Without looking into it fully, it may seem like a program designed to encourage lack of productivity and laziness. This concept does provide many benefits for employers, however. It allows their employees to think creatively and improves office morale, making employees want to come to work in the morning. Happy employees make for a stronger work environment. Companies also get a percentage on anything created during the 20% time that makes a profit. Basically, employers allow their employees to work on personal projects, and if any become successes, they can stamp their brand on it and make a profit from it. It also makes the company more enticing for potential employees to want to be a part of. By using a 20% program, it will cause more people to apply to work at the company, and hopefully, more skilled people. Companies such as Google can hire these people, keeping them away from rival companies while at the same time using them to help improve their company. Incorporating a 20% concept allows your employees to slack off productively. If employers manage the 20% program properly, it can be a real asset to both the employees and the company.

Pros & Cons

When looking at possible job opportunities it is always a good idea to write down a pros and cons list. This can help you to determine what aspects of the job you might like and what aspects you may want to change.

Some important job aspects to consider include possible travel, team outings, casual attire, flexible hours, working from home and more.

Workplace Culture

A workplace culture can have a big impact on your everyday life. If you enjoy work you will be more likely to perform better and stay interested in the tasks at hand.

Some of the ways that companies today are helping to foster a positive work environment is to allow employees access to free food and drink, showers, gym memberships, nap areas and gaming rooms.