Friday, May 19, 2006

Google's "20 percent time" in action

Companies might be able to learn a thing or two from Google. It has become common knowledge that Google allows their engineers to have "20 percent time" and that this is a fantastic practice to get more from your employees. What is 20% time? According to Google it's time in which its engineers are "free to pursue projects they're passionate about." Essentially it's 20% of each day that they can pursue on there own ideas.

So why is giving a 5th of every day, almost 2 hours of an 8 hour work day, to your employees a good idea? Well because no one knows your products, services, and customers like your front line players. All day long frustrated employees sit at their desks thinking about how things could be done better so why not give them the freedom to see if they can do it better. Google is harvesting this frustration and turning their employee's imagination and resourcefulness into straight cash! Why aren't other companies? Getting the creative juices flowing and thinking outside the box can help give a business a new competitive edge. It worked for Google.

Internet companies need to be agile and able to adapt to an ever changing online world. And by allowing workers to take a breather, look at projects, look for what's wrong, and perhaps throw out an idea a business gains the "spark" that allows adaptability.

I think it's great that Google has allowed their employees the time to work on projects that aren't necessarily in the "job descriptions"; it is this freedom that has produced:

  • Google News
  • Google Suggest
  • AdSense for Content
  • Orkut

So thank Google 20% for the above services and shortcuts found in services like Google Reader, (i.e."shift" and "N"). If only more companies were this innovative.

Can any one tell it is Friday?

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