What if you could have everything you needed in life... at work?
Comfortable couches, fitness centers, dry cleaning, concierge service, cafes and restaurants, sleep rooms, daycare, ping pong, beer fridge...sounds nice, right? With all of those perks and amenities, why would you ever need to LEAVE the office?
There are many companies, big and small, that are building their corporate culture in just this way.
Zappos, Google, Apple, and Facebook are examples of companies boasting a university-style campus.
These organizations are creating compounds where work IS home. At Zappos, employees are encouraged to spend time with each other even after working hours, in order to foster relationships. "We don't really telecommute at Zappos. We want employees to be interacting with each other, building those personal relationships and relationships outside of work as well." says Tony Hsieh, CEO.
Now, no one could argue that these businesses haven't done well. Obviously they are hugely successful.
However, we see a danger in building cult compounds for your employees.
1. It's incredibly expensive. Many businesses waste money on perks like these, rather than providing the kinds of creative benefits that employees truly value.
2. It takes away choice and autonomy. People want to choose their own child care, gym, and restaurants. People want to make choices about where and when they get work done, avoid the commute, be available for their families and communities.
Instead of trusting people with control over their lives, organizations create compounds (or mini-compounds) where work includes social activities, social services, and home-like amenities. They also do a great job at reminding you of these “perks” - which also goes a long way to manufacturing your gratitude. We posit building performance-based work cultures, not cult compounds.
This showcased and accepted approach to organizational culture does not allow for freedom, but is the antithesis of 100% autonomy and 100% accountability.