Work From Wherever Wednesday

Posted on July 10, 2017 nerdymind

Recently, every time I log in to LinkedIn I see a variety of posts debating the positives and negatives of employees working remotely vs a traditional 9-5 office environment. Though either can often work well for different types of companies and workplaces, our hub of Nerds has discovered the perfect compromise between the two: “Work from Wherever Wednesday”.

“Work from Wherever Wednesday” was a concept brought to NerdyMind by our fearless leader, Mary Merritt, who had seen the benefits firsthand during her tenure at Otterbox. She knew that starting a successful service business meant creating a great employee-centered culture, and thus, “Work from Wherever Wednesday” was born at NerdyMind. The premise is pretty straightforward, after you have been employed at NerdyMind for 3 months you have earned the opportunity to work from wherever you would like on Wednesday each week. A majority of my colleagues choose to work from home, but occasionally one might work from a coffee shop, or lunch spot. And it’s not unheard of to find a Nerd working an afternoon from a local brewery - we are in Fort Collins. 😎

Productivity Comes Naturally

Wednesdays have become sacred at our office, and therefore we don’t (or rarely) schedule meetings on those days. Occasionally we might need to connect as a team or with a client, but for the most part it’s relatively quiet. This allows for complete and isolated “make time”. “Make time” is uninterrupted time for putting your head down and deeply concentrating on the tasks at hand. At a boutique agency like NerdyMind, we all have to strike a balance between “make time” and “manage time.” Having a complete day of reserved “make time” is what makes “Work from Wherever Wednesday” often the most productive day of the week. 

Though there are sometimes distractions at home or at a coffee shop like a pile of laundry, a needy doggo, or chatting latte sippers, it pales in comparison to distractions that can happen at the office. We are a highly collaborative team sitting in an open workspace which can lead to all sorts of little, different distractions. New ideas are constantly being thrown around and discussed, clients are coming in and out for meetings, the phone is ringing, teams are resolving issues, or the cold brewed coffee cart guy comes by. I’ll admit that often times I’m one of our more boisterous team members. But this is something I love about our office, the social and collaborative nature of the culture. I work with some pretty amazing, intelligent people and I genuinely learn something new every day. It’s exciting and invigorating! But it truly improves productivity throughout the week to reserve one quiet day where I can fully concentrate, and the only distraction is my dishes begging to be put away. 

Creating a Culture of Balance

There is something magical about Wednesday being the day I get to work from home - “Happy Hump Day!” like our favorite GEICO Camel always says. It truly helps break up the work week. On Monday and Tuesday I look forward to Wednesday, and from then on it’s almost Friday! It’s a huge morale booster around the office, I think all my colleagues will agree. Mary has made it her mission to create a thriving, people-driven culture at NerdyMind and this is just one of the ways she has done that.

“Work from Wherever Wednesday” also reflects our culture of balance - balancing both time working in the office and time working from home or a favorite local coffee shop. Having that balance has a lasting ripple effect on employee retention, quality work output, client satisfaction, and much more. Happier, balanced employees produce better quality work, it’s that simple!

The Key to a Successful Work from Wherever Wednesday Program

If you are curious about this type of arrangement in your work environment, here are some ways to make sure it goes well.

  1. Set clear expectations with your team (communication expectations, client response expectations, productivity expectations, etc.)
  2. Make sure employees have the right equipment (laptops or home computers, and decent Internet speeds)
  3. Try to avoid scheduling any type of meetings on Wednesdays, keep the day free and clear for “make time”
  4. Setup access to a shared cloud file network for document access and a chat system like Slack for easy communication from home
  5. Trust that you have hired good people that will make the most of “Work from Wherever Wednesday”, and establish that it is a privilege and not a guaranteed benefit - at NerdyMind only employees that have been with the company more than 3 months are eligible for “Work from Wherever Wednesday”
  6. Truly make it part of the culture by encouraging all eligible employees to participate

How do you keep a good balance between “make time” and “manage time”? Do you have a chance to break up your week by working in new locations, or changing up some other aspect of your routine?