Anyone who has looked for a job has likely seen key words and phrases like “must perform under pressure,” “fast-paced,” and “high energy” in a lot of job descriptions. Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson offer many reasons for employers to change that criteria in “It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work.” This book provides evidence that hectic schedules do not promote greater productivity. The authors offer their experiences as entrepreneurs and employers as proof that relaxed, satisfied workers are the most productive. If you or your employees are suffering from burnout and high turnover, you may want to read this book.
Fried and Hansson call for everyone to stop glorifying the “hustle” instead of happiness. They point out that unhappy workers tend to be less receptive to inspiration. Meanwhile, they encourage hiring for tested skills rather than a great resume. The authors explain that business owners can avoid seeking venture capital if they follow in their footsteps. Part of that advice is for managers to stop setting arbitrary goals and comparing their companies’ success with others’ all the time. Despite how “calm” the authors describe their workplace as, their preferred work culture is far from a lazy one. Many employers look at stress in the workplace as a given. Instead, these authors value a quiet, focused workplace.
Readers learn how helpful it is to work on forming good collective habits in the workplace. Probably in agreement with most workers, this duo thinks that the fake “family” work aesthetic is cheesy and overdone. Employers learn why gimmicks like bringing a masseuse or a brunch bar to the office are not helpful. All the supposed team-building activities are nothing but distractions in these authors’ eyes. Their philosophy is that leisure and self-care should take place outside of work. Meanwhile, they insist that work should only happen during the 40-hour workweek.