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February 03, 2011


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Ryan Stephens

It's such a simple concept that works, and yet so few companies have embraced similar strategies. I'm a marketing coordinator at a hospital that employees 19,000+ employees and I have more flexibility now than when I worked at a digital agency with 8 people. Guess what? People work significantly harder here.

Granted, it starts with hiring the "right" people, but if you do that and then empower them history shows they'll respect the companies time significantly more than the organizations that say 9-6, no breaks, et al.

Good post David!

David Meerman Scott

Thanks Ryan. Isn't it interesting that trust makes for good workers? Many people think the opposite works - control.


It seems like such a simple concept: hire good people that you can trust, then trust that they'll deliver. While there are more companies creating flexible schedules, I'm not sure how comfortable they really are, since good talent is demanding it.

Seven years ago, when my first baby was born, I negotiated a plan that allowed me to work at home two days a week. I'm convinced peace negotiations would've been easier and included less paperwork.

Have we come a long way, baby?

Paul Flanigan


Have you heard of ROWE (Results Only Work Environment). It was created by two women at Best Buy while I worked there. Best Buy adopted the initiative for the corporate side. It basically acts the same way: We're all adults. Getting work done is more important that HOW it gets done.

Overall Best Buy claimed that work production went up because we were empowered to manage our own time. I have a ton of personal opinions about it, but the general approach was spot on with your sentiments here: We're all adults.

David Meerman Scott

Gina - Yes indeed, baby.

Paul - I had not heard of ROWE before. I'll check it out. Thanks.

Jobhunting in MA

Excellent snow policy! A very practical and mature way to treat the entire staff. Sadly not all companies are willing to consider flex schedules. I proposed coming in 30-60 min early to leave 20 early and avoid a daily day care fine. Micromanager canned that plan and all future discussions pertaining to schedule negotiations.

Bret Simmons

Love it, David. The process can work best if you start by hiring trustworthy employees. Don't take that for granted - it is a reasonable expectation that a business can ask a potential employee to demonstrate a proven track record of being trustworthy. And if I were an employee and wanted to work for an employer like Hubspot, I'd be building that track record so that if the opportunity ever arose I would be prepared to prove that my claims were not just BS.

Dr. Janet Civitelli

David, I'm a workplace psychologist and I agree with you 100%. It baffles me why companies implement infantilizing policies and then wonder why even their best employees lose motivation, initiative, innovation, etc. When you have a culture of mistrust and policies aimed at the lowest common denominator, you get LCD productivity and results. Great post!

David Meerman Scott

Hi Janet - thanks for jumping in. So cool to have these ideas validated by someone with your credentials!

Randy Clark

I believe there is a fine line between treating teammates like adults and leading people. I have observed too many potentially good teammates ruined because they were not given the direction they needed. The answer from their leader is usually something like, "I treated him/her like an adult, and I expect them to just get the job done." No, too often this was because the person in charge didn't want to take the time to give direction, share a vision, or train. I believe managing is about leading people not about invoices, and if it is about leading people, and we leave it up to them, why would we need managers? I recently overheard a conversation between a manager and an employee about an employee who had posted, on facebook, about a bad day at work. The employee was given a corrective action and her pay was cut. I asked what the companies SN policy was? What training was offered? When was SN use discussed? It was never discussed, or trained. And the manager’s answer was, “I treated her like an adult, she should know what to do.” I asked and learned this was a responsible long-term employee who had a bad day. How is this fair, or good leadership? You are right about one thing - they might as well fire her ass because cutting someone’s pay in this circumstance will not promote anything positive. My point is don’t confuse treating someone as an adult with leadership and direction.

David Meerman Scott

Good point on leadership, Randy. I agree. Thanks for jumping in.

aluminium kozijnen

Its correct.. I agree this one.. I think work from home is best because that environment..

Keith at KendallPress

I used to work at an organization that fretted over closures and would strand employees for the sake of a mantra of '__ is never closing' Using Common Sense and technology is so much more productive and invigorating. We have a common sense weather guide here that carries over into and is applied to work needing to be done. A happy and productive crew does more and brings more smiles to clients faces.

With snowstorms every Weds so far this year, there is still time for others to get your message and apply it. My blog the other day got created from the comfort of a bus 'snarled' in gridlock- but I never noticed it. That blog post is here if you'e interested. We're starting to sound a bit like you, David. Better yet, we're adopting much of your good guidance. Thank you. http://bit.ly/eO8umk

Eric Linden

I could not agree more. Treat people like children. They will act like children. Awesome post. It is a new world! The unfortunate part of this is it seems like in this letigious society of ours... it is hard to FIRE someone!

Invention Marketing

Holidays are for the enjoyment if you are follows a rules during the time of enjoyment then it spoils the mood of holiday so i am not agree with this post.

Materials Handling

Rules make for an organized and structured work environment. Of course some rules are, as you put them, not that sensible. While rules are meant to be followed, it’s also good to have room for flexibility. As long as they get the job done, I believe it's perfectly fine to allow employees to control their work schedule every now and then.

vancouver website design

Thanks for sharing with this beautiful blog. In my opinion its good giving the employees the rights to take decisions at their own. This thing will make them comfortable and reliable with the work and if they demand the work being done from homes then there is nothing wrong.


i used to work in an jewellery company and they are very big in the market. they never trust their employees. to saying even "Hi or good morning" to their employees is hard for them but when its snowing the owner of the company goes every single room in the building and check who is on time and who is not there! if you are not there you are in trouble. the next they, they say "Everybody was here but you werent..." it isnt that much easy to say this for your employee... Its really disguasting... if you dont trust, dont work with them... im glad to change my job and my life :)

mbt online

All this time I was wasting,Hoping you would come around


I would agree that if you empower people and treat them like adults they will work harder for you. Just look at the googleplex and their philosophy on the employees environment. Also I think unfortunately if you have one employee that wants to be a kid about things then you have to end up with rules for all or get rid of that person.

Chaotic Motorsports

I think what Hubspot is doing works great for an internet based business but for a small local company I am not so sure that this model would work. When you have 9-5 hours and need the coverage its hard to let employees come and go as they see fit. Not saying their model is a bad one I just believe its harder to make that work in a brick and mortar operation.

Rack Express

Just randomly stumbled upon this post. The 'No Rules' policy just seems too idealistic to me. Granted, I have not researched this very much and I know many companies have success with it.

The vast majority of people I think only work the 9-6 shift (or 8-5, etc) because they have to. However, if you take this structure away, people will absolutely abuse it.

You say 'fire their ass', but employees are smarter than that. Employees will figure out a way to work as little as possible, while making it seem like they are doing so much more.

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