Trivago, the travel comparison site, has a unique way of maintaining productivity – and it’s not because their algorithms can determine the best ways for employees to get to work, it’s because, in fact, employees aren’t forced to come into the office.
Rolf Schrömgens, co-founded the travel site with a vision of the type of company he wants to work for, a reason why the firm doesn’t force employees to come to work.
He says that by not counting hours, Trivago has become ‘incredibly productive’ – CNBC reports.
Instead of monitoring how long employees are working for, Trivago uses degree peer reviews to assess employees' performance, with an emphasis on total contribution to the company. More precise metrics allow for increased productivity, says Schrömgens, "and that's adding to the bottom line".
Part of this included cultivating a positive culture and hiring self-motivated individuals. "We wanted to have intrinsic motivation," he says. "We don't want to tell people what to do. We really want that people make responsible, independent decisions."
Giving employees the freedom to set their own schedules allows them to work more efficiently, says Schrömgens. This has a subsequent effect on productivity, efficiency and it keeps overhead low.
The principle of those who work 50% more will produce 50% more work is outdated in Schrömgens’ eyes. "This idea that time and output is closely related — I think that comes from a time when people were still working in the field," he says. "Why do we still put people into an office and lock them down for eight hours or more? Why do we still do that?”
He argues that this method doesn’t foster creativity: "90% of people here, and probably even more, have a creative job," he says. "Engineering is a super creative job."
The ‘no hours’ approach also enables employees to tailor their hours to their roles. Schrömgens explains: "Those working on more collaborative projects would usually come at a time when most people are in the office, and people who work more independently or people who prefer to work with little distractions would usually come at a time when the office is the most empty."
Other employees choose to take breaks throughout the day. Trivago offers activities such as sports programs, yoga sessions, bootcamp workouts and German classes.
"Although we live self-determined working hours, another goal of ours is to create an optimal learning environment to make employees actually want to come to the office to work," says Schrömgens. "If they are not interested in coming in, then we are not doing our job right."