Most likely, your company doesn’t fully utilize its employees’ work time. There are always periods when personnel is less overloaded and, frankly, doing nothing. It’s an obvious and non-cutting edge thesis. The question is, how and in what manner do companies manage this slack time by design? And most importantly, how does it look at KISS digital?
I actually borrowed the term from our neighbor, Pawel Brodzinski. Pawel (CEO at Lunar Logic) set this term as a part of their corporate culture. As for me, I was never aware of how important free time in a company was. Of course, we were used to some periods of time when the workload was not overwhelming. But we had never taken full advantage of it. Quite often, this time was wasted on some unproductive actions.
After I realized that, I tried to figure out how to address the issue. The ultimate goal was to somehow contribute to our development during slack time. As a result, a list of preferred activities and a rule of “free resources” were established.
The rule of “free resources” says that there are always a few people who are not involved in any ongoing project. According to Pawel, it should involve about 10% of all employees, but in KISS we settled for 1 or 2 people per every team. Yes, that’s all – the rule just says that in every team we should have a person not working on any commercial project. Instead of this, he or she should be involved in one of the preferred activities.
So, what are those preferred activities in KISS? I always persuade our team members to learn new things. Be it programming languages, tools, methods or anything else that can broaden their (and our as a team) horizons. While you have your hands free – learn, develop, expand your knowledge, build your strengths. Simple as that.
Of course, there are many other possibilities. During your slack time, you can:
Create in-house tools that help KISS to grow (automation processes are welcome!),
Do some research, not necessarily related to your major job description,
Prepare presentations, workshops, and lectures if you want to share your knowledge with others,
Teach your colleagues something new,
Test ongoing projects (you can always do a code review or write unit tests. This is an excellent way for upgrading the quality of our software),
The organization is more flexible because there are always free human resources. You can assign an employee to any urgent project, or even start a new project earlier than expected.
You can develop internal processes and tools that have always been put off because of more significant needs.
Slack time seems like a good investment - and that's it became part of our organizational culture at KISS digital.