It Doesn't Have to be Crazy at Work

Ready to swap the chaos for some peace and quiet? Then grab a seat and check out "It Doesn't Have to be Crazy at Work". Let's uncover how to create a more relaxed work environment where you can breathe. Trust me, it's time to bring some zen back into your work life.
August 2023

The Essence of a "Calm Company"

One of the standout concepts in It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work is the idea of a "calm company." Fried and Hansson argue that workplaces don't have to be chaotic and stress-inducing to be successful. Instead, they advocate for a calmer, more balanced approach to work that prioritizes focus, simplicity, and well-being.

But the thing is, there’s not more work to be done all of a sudden. The problem is that there’s hardly any uninterrupted, dedicated time to do it. People are working more but getting less done. It doesn’t add up—until you account for the majority of time being wasted on things that don’t matter.

They make a compelling case for the benefits of cultivating a calm company culture. Organizations can create an environment where employees feel empowered to do their best work without burning out by minimizing distractions, embracing realistic deadlines, and promoting work-life balance.

Calm is protecting people’s time and attention. Calm is about 40 hours of work a week. Calm is reasonable expectations. Calm is ample time off. Calm is smaller. Calm is a visible horizon. Calm is meetings as a last resort. Calm is asynchronous first, real-time second. Calm is more independence, less interdependence. Calm is sustainable practices for the long term. Calm is profitability.

A calm company isn't just a pipe dream—it's a tangible goal any organization can strive towards. By rethinking traditional notions of productivity and success, companies can foster a healthier, more sustainable work environment for everyone involved.

The Company as the Product: Redefining Success

Another key takeaway from It Doesn't Have to be Crazy at Work is that the company is the product. Fried and Hansson argue that too often, companies prioritize growth and expansion at the expense of everything else, including their core values and the well-being of their employees.

It begins with this idea: Your company is a product.

Instead, they propose a radical reimagining of success, where companies focus on building a sustainable business that prioritizes quality over quantity. By staying true to their vision, embracing their unique strengths, and delivering exceptional value to customers, companies can achieve long-term success without sacrificing their sanity.

But when you think of the company as a product, you ask different questions: Do people who work here know how to use the company? Is it simple? Complex? Is it obvious how it works? What’s fast about it? What’s slow about it? Are there bugs? What’s broken that we can fix quickly and what’s going to take a long time?

This idea challenges the prevailing narrative of constant growth and hustle at all costs. It encourages companies to take a step back and consider what truly matters—not just in terms of profits and market share, but in terms of their impact on their employees, customers, and society as a whole.

The other books: Rework and Remote

While those books seem to have laid the groundwork, It Doesn't Have to be Crazy at Work feels like a more refined, polished version of their ideas. It's clear that their company, Basecamp / 37 Signals, has evolved, as has their approach to writing. This book is much more on-point and concise, making it easier than ever to absorb their valuable insights and put them into action.

In Conclusion

It Doesn't Have to be Crazy at Work is a breath of fresh air in a world that often feels overrun by hustle culture and burnout. Fried and Hansson offer practical advice and thought-provoking insights that challenge readers to rethink their approach to work and success.

Whether you're a business leader looking to transform your company culture or an individual seeking a healthier work-life balance, this book has something valuable to offer. So grab a copy, kick back, and get ready to embrace a calmer, more fulfilling way of working. You won't regret it!