We work a sustainable pace. We work four days for clients on consulting and one day on "investment time." We typically spend Monday-Thursday on client work and Friday on investment.
When taking time off during client work, we discuss how it will impact the schedule with other team members.
Sending off-hours communication may create an unintended sense of urgency with the recipients of the message, so we try to avoid creating that urgency when possible.
Unless actually urgent, we may ignore off-hours messages that we receive and handle them once we're back at work.
We make our money on consulting projects. Those projects start with sales and go through a normal flow of designing, developing, shipping, monitoring, and iterating. We want to do such a good job for our clients that they will want to poach us, and be such a great place to work that we can be confident our teammates won't leave.
Investment time is time for investment in ourselves, our company, and our community. Primarily this means doing something that interests us like learning a new programming language, contributing to open source, discussing interesting things, attending community events, or reading an educational book. The goal is to encourage individuals to improve and share their knowledge with the rest of the team.
We organize our investment work on the "Investment Time" Trello board.
Ideas for Fridays and in between client projects:
- Contribute to open source software.
- Write a blog post. Manage it on the "Editorial Calendar" Trello board.
- Pick from or contribute back to dotfiles.
- Explore change to tools and process on the "Research" Trello board
- Work on conference and meetup talks and proposals.
Here are some ideas that are more directly revenue generating:
- Assist with sales.
- Meet someone new or make an existing relationship stronger.
- Contribute to one of our existing books or create a new one.
- Assist with an unreleased product.
- Form a team, run a product design sprint, and build on an idea of your own.
There is a difference between our normal Friday investment time, and extended downtime between client projects.
Extended periods of time between client projects should skew heavily towards revenue generating activities. This could be networking and sales, working on existing revenue generating products and services, or creating something new that will generate revenue.
Because this extended time period will go away when you resume client work, and because we can't sustain non-revenue generating activities for long, approach this extended time between client projects with a sense of urgency.
Validating ideas, shipping, and getting to revenue generation as quickly as possible should be a priority. We shouldn't go weeks without results to show, and we should impose the same constraints and process as we do on client projects.
While working with us on an ongoing basis, we may give our clients a desk in our office if we have the availability. Clients are welcome in our office during normal business hours, including Fridays. We set clear expectations about how we spend our time on Fridays, and clients can choose to either participate in the investment day alongside us, do their own thing, or work outside of the office on Fridays. Anyone in the office on Fridays is invited to lunch.