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A Timeless Netflix Culture Deck, Workcations & Why It's Catching On
The pandemic opened the floodgates to working vacations and it's unlikely we're ever going back.
Happy Weekend Zedites!
We’ve got a quick question to ask you.
‘Everything Business’ has been a weekly deep dive into businesses, workplace culture and recent events from across the globe. We presented them to you in the form of stories, because that’s how we made sense of them. God knows we’re bombarded with jargon, a lack of context and undecipherable vocabulary day in, day out and are still expected to be well-versed with trendy concepts and what comes to light around the world. That’s not how we, at Zed Letter Day, wanted you to take information in. We feared you’d OD.
However, the internet is a crowded space and today’s reader is more than adept at getting their information from any kind of source they believe to be credible and enjoyable. And we wouldn’t want to pile on—the heap is overflowing anyway.
With all that currently transpires on the planet, what should we talk about? Former New Zealand PM—Jacinda Ardern stepping down, having “no more left in the tank” or Peru’s President Dina Boluarte doing the exact opposite? Humankind heading towards a likely recession in 2023 or Usain Bolt missing $12.7 million from his investment account? Tech companies laying off a combined 60,000 employees (Google just announced 12,000 more) or countries helping Ukraine fight Russia?
World news never ceases to amaze us and the feeling will always continue. We’re a species that invites drama—we can’t live without it. Every now and then though, we could all do with a break from the shenanigans of society.
We fancy delving into a subject that’s going to skyrocket in popularity soon. If it’s not on your mind, it should be—that’s if you want to attract new blood.
Falling under the umbrella of work-from-home, workcation is a concept that’s going to take the world by storm in the next 2-3 years. And it’s safe to say that in its implementation, the west takes lead over the east. Gen Z’s have spent their formative years in the pandemic—the faster you grasp this fact, the better you’ll be placed in the market to attract new talent. And it’s not just Gen Z’s, millennials and a couple of Gen X’s have realized the importance of an apt work culture that provides them with flexibility and freedom.
We’re in 20 countries and 13 US states. But we aren’t there yet. Helen Hadsell taught us a few things, let’s see where that takes us.
“It is getting more difficult to find people working in creative departments and the IT sector to come to the office by the day. They all are either looking for jobs that are remote or they are looking at freelance opportunities. Yes, hybrid models are something they still opt for, but a complete corporate structure of clocking in 8 to 9 hours of work? You have to be lucky to find someone good.”
— Sandeep Pegu, a Talent Acquisition Manager
The mindset is changing and so is the culture. We’re now aware that the amount of work done isn’t directly proportional to time spent at the workplace. Actually, we knew that all along, we just needed the hypothesis to be tested out to shut the naysayers up and voila, COVID-19 did exactly that.
Let’s step back for a second and look at the bigger picture though. If we’re talking about culture, we cannot possibly neglect the document that changed the game when it came to the inner workings of an organization—the Netflix document.
It was Sheryl Sandberg, former COO of Facebook (now on the board of directors) who crowned Netflix’s cultural manifesto as the most important document to come out of Silicon Valley. The document was drafted in 2009 and you’d think that it would be rendered ineffective come 2023, but what makes Netflix’s culture deck so good, is that it is timeless, even after the pandemic—well 70-80% of it at least.
This slide is more important now than ever before, for two reasons:
Because that’s exactly what companies should look for in their employees.
Because it doesn’t require a physical workspace to be enforced.
Remote companies are thriving, even without the incessant monitoring of their employees; primarily because values like communication, honesty, passion and selflessness, detailed by Netflix 14 years ago, are coming into play today. If you’re allowing your employees to work from home, you’re going to have to trust them completely and if you’re going to trust them completely, you better be hiring people who embody these nine values. Maybe if tech companies did that before, we could’ve avoided mass layoffs today.
Your employees may be on bed all day, they may take frequent breaks and not work in allotted times, they may sleep in the afternoon, walk their dog in the middle of a meeting or be in their pajamas throughout but as long as quality work is getting done and they have the company’s best interest at heart, there’s not much you can argue with.
Everyone was homebound for 2 years during the pandemic. And there definitely were some pros when you were working from home:
A better work-life balance - You start realizing the importance of those closest to you.
Setting up your own environment - 62% of WFH employees, in a research study, stated that improved workspaces and ergonomic furniture helped increase their own efficiencies.
Freedom and flexibility - You can now control almost every aspect of your life and when you’ve got that much control over everything, being inducted into a rigid corporate structure doesn’t sit well anymore.
Saving time - Instead of dressing up, showering, stopping by your favorite cafe and spending money on coffee there, commuting and finally reaching your workplace, you can bust open your laptop with pajamas and a shirt and still be productive.
So on and so forth, you get the gist. But there was one major con with WFH—people went crazy. The human race hadn’t spent as much time home as they did during the pandemic and for a species that loves traveling, that’s detrimental after a point.
When countries finally started opening up and we all started planning our voyages again, we realized something. If we can work from home, we can work from anywhere!
Like the name suggests, a workcation is a “working vacation.” Workcations combine the travel of traditional vacations with remote work. Basically, you’re on the clock, but instead of working from your couch at home or in the office, you might be on the beach or in the mountains.
And it’s catching people’s attention.
According to a recent survey of 2,000 remote and remote-flexible workers, 80% would consider working remotely from a vacation destination as a way to extend the length of their trip.
That held especially true for respondents ages 26 to 41 (83%), who made up 70% of the polling panel.
Overall, half of those surveyed said they’re just as likely to work on vacation (48%) as they are to work from their local coffee shop (47%).
When asked to choose between a longer trip that involved some remote work and a shorter trip that required no work, twice as many respondents opted for the former (46% vs. 26%).
(Credits: NY Post)
A Story For You
Assam is a scenic northeastern state in India that’s known for its flora, fauna and tea. The evenings are calm and the mornings are bustling with hawkers and chirping birds. Metropolitan cities like Mumbai could never make the cut for me—it was always going to be my hometown in Assam, Golaghat, that took precedence. I missed home.
Having worked for two years in commotion, trying to win a race against fellow city dwellers, I noticed my mental and physical health deteriorating. Grinding for 9-10 hours every day for a remuneration that would never suffice in the financial capital of India, was pointless.
Couple these with no time for personal well-being, bare minimum recreation, apart from the frequent visits to the local bar and I found myself in a rut that made me think twice about the life I was living. Nothing felt good enough.
I started looking for remote opportunities that provided me with freedom and flexibility. Let’s be honest, we can only stay productive for only 4 hours a day, that’s all it takes to put in our best work. The rest of our time is spent by the water coolers, at lunch, secretly scrolling on social media and sometimes, staring at the clock, trying to speed it up with our imagination.
And I found what I was looking for.
My employers don’t have a fear of ‘getting cheated because I’m left unsupervised.’ They hired me for a purpose and trusted me to do the right thing. That responsibility, that anonymity, that very trust makes me want to do better for the company. We don’t have a structure set in stone, we make our own schedule and stick to it because we took the effort of making it. Our word is everything. Our integrity, is everything.
A worker who is good and proactive in office will be the same in any situation. WFH or not. You just have a better shot at keeping them satisfied and maybe even increase their productivity and efficiency in the latter.
Working while listening to hawkers and the whistles of the birds really is a vibe. My frequent trips to Golaghat, which wouldn’t have been possible before, really made work feel like play and I don’t think I’m ever going to back to working in a traditional office ever again.
Anuraaj & Aamer