The 40-hour work week has long been the standard set for the “ideal” amount of time in the office. Hell, even Dolly Parton sings 9 to 5, which when you take into account an hour(ish) for lunch, the math doesn’t work out. On the other hand, who only works 40 hours at a salaried job anymore? Well, the co-founder of Basecamp, Jason Fried, thinks 40 hours is too much time for anyone to spend toiling under the fluorescent lights.
Fried and co-founder, David Heinemeier Hansson, built Basecamp, to be one of the most successful project management programs on the market. Together, they are joining the movement to create a work ethic that transcends the office and humanizes the values and priorities of a company.
Recently, Jeanne Sahadi of CNN Business sat down with Fried to discuss his highly-praised and latest book, “It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work“. Sahadi delves into the structure and environment that Fried is creating with his anti-workaholic style. He believes in the quality of work, not the quantity of time spent.
Fried details his thoughts in the interview with Sahadi.
Sahadi: What do you say to business owners who worry that adopting your approach would just mean they’d get beaten by the competition?
Fried: I’d say why would you think that? I’d say if you’re not getting enough sleep, enough rest, and enough perspective from other things in your life besides work, you’ll just be beating yourself.If the only way to beat the competition is to outwork them, well there are only 24 hours in the day anyway. If you can work them all, so can someone else.The competition doesn’t beat you, and you don’t beat them, by working more hours or forgoing more sleep. You do well by making smart decisions, being strategic about what you say yes and no to, and understanding your customer better than anyone else.
It’s an approach that is gaining more traction as the realization that a company is not the end-all-be-all. Fried and Heinemeier Hansson are part of the growing trend of hiring remote teams, offering flexible schedules, and building work environments that fuel the person, which in turn, drives the company.
It’s not more work that’ll get you ahead. It’s the right work on the right things the right way.