Return to work? Work from home? Hybrid work?
One Midwest company is boldly declaring: D) None of the above.
Lukewarm LLC grabbed headlines this week with the announcement of an innovative new policy. Starting Monday–if they’d like to–all employees will have the option to work.
This announcement comes after Lukewarm’s two largest competitors — Blasé Inc. and ItsAllGoodBabaBabay — announced similar, albeit less extreme, departures from the rigid five-day workweek.
Blasé rolled out a Fridays off schedule where employees will still earn their full-time salary. ItsAllGoodBabaBabay quickly one-upped this move with a 3-day workweek where employees will earn 60 percent of their salary plus a free Tesla, Peloton Tread, and a paid subscription to Paramount+.
Lukewarm CEO, Ray Morse, said these bold moves forced him to think outside the box.
“We knew we had to act quickly to keep up,” Morse said. “So, we fired up a Zoom call, started Throwing Spaghetti At The Wall.”
“Throwing Spaghetti At The Wall” is a new app within Mark Zuckerburg’s Metaverse. In this app, people can shout an idea and then throw virtual spaghetti at a virtual wall. For $18 a month, you can upgrade to fettucini.
The first round of ideas included a 2-day work week and a concept where a random employee would “spin the wheel” and land somewhere between 1 to 5 days for the following week.
But Ray Morse wasn’t satisfied.
“It’s this constant one-upping,” Morse explained. “You go with two days, next thing you know, those dirtbags over at Tepid Industries announce a one-day week. Where does it end?”
The only logical end was picking a number that could not be beaten.
“I told my team, let’s get really bold here,” Morse said. “Let’s change ‘work from home’ to ‘home.’ Not only will you not have to come into the office, you don’t even have to open your laptop!”
This immediately raised an eyebrow with Chief Financial Officer, Lyle Bility.
“At first, we struggled with the concept, because if you make it a zero-day work week, what if the employees work zero days?” Lyle Bility said. “But Ray showed us something interesting. When we moved from a 15-day PTO policy to an unlimited policy, this actually reduced vacation. Employees went from averaging 15-days a year, down to 2.5.”
The secret? Morse said it starts with “g” and rhymes with “quilt.”
“When you run a business five days a week, plus Sunday nights, and emails at three in the morning, you’re running things entirely on willpower and dogged determination,” Morse said. “Those wells run dry. That’s what burnout’s all about. But once you tap into guilt, that’s an unlimited resource.”
(fast forward six months later)
Zero-Day Work Week “Works” like a Charm
The result of the zero-day work week has been nothing short of astounding.
For the first month, everyone was still putting in five day weeks, confused by this new mandated freedom. At the start of Week 5, leadership delivered a well-placed guilt trip by announcing, “Remember, our new policy is truly zero-days. So, if you feel comfortable, and think the company won’t immediately spiral into bankruptcy, by all means, take some time off!”
One employee tried to embrace the new policy. He bought a one-way ticket to New Zealand, didn’t pack his laptop at all.
“Two weeks later, money in the bank account,” said Operations Manager, Ash Amed. “Same thing two weeks after that. I started to feel this terrible twist in my stomach. So, I disconnected my bank account. But then a physical check showed up. In New Zealand! I didn’t even tell them where I was going. After another five weeks of that, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was at my desk the following Monday morning at 7 am. I’ve been working overtime ever since to make up for those vacation weeks.”
When touring the dark office (the lights are off to discourage people from coming in), Morse pointed to an inspirational cat poster and shared one of the latest updates to the policy.
“‘If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life,'” Morse recited. “So true. And that’s why we’re giving employees the option to donate some of their salaries back to the company.”
However, this zero-day, “sure-it’d-be-nice-but-you-don’t-have-to” salary give-back policy is not without opposition. A growing number of employees have tried to recreate a sense of order. This group has made a list of demands including an 8 am start time, 5 pm stop, and a 1-hour lunch.
“We wanted to better define what exactly does ‘not working’ mean,” said Head of Internal Risk & Skepticism, Shannon Soundsfishy. “How do we know if we’re not working or not not-working, you know?”
Ray Morse was puzzled by this reaction and took some time off — from his mandated time off — to “binge-listen.” For those unfamiliar, “binge listening” is when you book a vacation home on VRBO and listen to nothing but podcasts for 72 hours.
“The podcast I was listening to said it’s actually more freeing to have a set of rules, even a strict set of rules, versus unfiltered freedom. For example, what’s the best song at a wedding? It’s that ‘slide to the left, slide to the right, two hops this time’ song. Why? Because you know exactly what you’re supposed to do. I mean, how do you dance if you don’t know the steps?”
The Lukewarm leadership team has since accepted the employees’ demands and everyone has returned to the physical office for a 5-day, 8-to-5 schedule with 15-days of PTO.
“I finally get to take some time off!” Ash Amed said, before raising an eyebrow. “Wait a second…”
Surprisingly, job applications have gone up. New hires applaud the rules as a “breath of fresh air” in an increasingly chaotic “sounds too good to be true” recruiting landscape.
“Those other places with the 4-day week, or the free Peloton, or the ‘work hard, play hard,’ it’s like, alright, what’s the catch here?” said New Hire, Reed Dafineprint. “Lukewarm is transparent. They’ve got a structure. And that’s pretty freeing. Like you know that one song at a wedding…”
Morse said things are looking up in the new year. Business profitability and employee morale have never both been this high at the same time. At least not since the first week of the new coffee machine/air fryer.
To celebrate, leadership attempted to roll out a “Work From Home Friday” reward, but this was quickly rejected. Leadership is now cautiously implementing “Casual Friday,” but plans have stalled after a heated, “Do leggings count as pants?” debate broke out over Slack.
Ray Morse said it’s been a wild ride, but he’s proud of where the company is headed going into 2022.
“Our team has returned to work, and work has returned to our team,” Morse said, looking off in the distance. “Actually, that was pretty good. Let’s get that up on a poster.”
Thanks for stopping by the blog! If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy “The Extroverts are Coming: Return to Work in a Medieval Castle.”
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Have a great rest of the week!
Filed under: Career Advice