No ringing phone to disturb them, or an occasional meeting. Entrepreneur Casper Bakker, co-founder of tech company Picqer, does everything he can to create a peaceful workplace. This is why the company is also reducing the standard working week from 40 hours to 36 hours, for the same salary. With this announcement, he gets the necessary attention on LinkedIn. “We do it really differently than other companies.”
A quiet company. This is how Casper describes the business he wants to start with his partner Stephan Groen. “We believe we can do the best job when the work environment is calm. We are a growing technology company. Normally everything should be fast and hard, that’s the norm. But we don’t want to sell the company, we want to work here for a long time and create a pleasant working environment. That people don’t leave because they only last a few years.
,,And you cannot say: we are one quiet companyBut I need it in half an hour. Or: you have six meetings a week. That’s why things work differently in Casper and Stephan’s company than in most companies. You cannot reach us by phone. We have a phone number, but it’s not enabled by default. If someone, a customer for example, wants to call, we schedule a time. Casper also activated the phone number specifically for this interview. “Otherwise, people call all day. So everyone can rest.
You cannot reach us by phone. We have a phone number, but it’s not enabled by default.
Just like the number of phone calls, Casper and Stephan also limit the number of dates. “We meet, but only if it’s really necessary.” Moreover, the meetings within Picqer are different. “We keep meetings as small as possible. ‘Oh Piet can still join us, and Henk is also a handyman, will he join us too?’ You will never hear that in our company. Then you do relatively little. Also, you see half of them checking their mail during the meeting, because they’re thinking, ‘Why am I here anyway?’ »
36 hour work week
Early 2022 is here though’fault‘, as Casper calls himself, added to the 36-hour work week. “We’ve always said, if you’re not feeling productive by 3 p.m., stop, instead of pushing yourself until 5 p.m. It’s no surprise, you’re only productive four to five hours a day. Yet we have seen that people make little use of it. You could clearly feel that the majority was under unconscious pressure: “I have to arrive at 40 o’clock. By reducing the number of hours per week to 36, we have removed this expectation.
This also means that the sixteen employees do not have a fixed half-day off, but can choose these hours themselves. “They can choose themselves when they work. We have people who start at 7am, people who start at 11am and people who take longer breaks in the afternoon and exercise. They are also allowed to work on Saturday evenings, if that suits them better. They don’t have to throw that back at Casper either. ,,Why would you want to check someone’s hours? It’s really crazy isn’t it? This is someone who does their job well. Want to check this.
The only times Casper checks are holidays. And not if there are too many, but rather if there are not too few. “As an alternative to the 36-hour working week, we have also considered a greater number of vacation days, so that employees can take more time completely. But then it’s still a sprint, with more frequent breaks. We are going for the marathon.
Casper says he’s not worried about his employees abusing the situation. He realizes that this way of working is not for everyone. ,,For new employees, it often takes some getting used to, as it is not the norm. But sometimes it turns out that it just doesn’t work out for a new colleague. This is the case for about one in eight new people. But until proven otherwise, we trust them. And on the other hand, it’s also very nice to see that people come to us specifically for our corporate culture.
This enthusiasm is also clearly reflected in the comments under the LinkedIn position by Caspar. Many react positively surprised by the company’s innovation policy. Although a critical question is also asked here and there. For example, how Casper will ensure that its employees are truly free during those four hours. According to Casper, the answer takes us back to the starting point of their policy: ,,We are very strict about not disturbing each other with private communications. And that’s exactly what you could distract on a day off.
In addition to enthusiasm, the entrepreneur also sees gratitude in his own employees. “We get a lot of appreciation for the fact that they didn’t ask for anything, but we’re still implementing this new normal.” Casper can’t say yet if they will change to 32 hours in the future. “We never look that far ahead. But it could definitely go lower. Or, for example, more vacation days. There are many options, but we do it in small steps. In any case, this phone will remain off.
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