- 06/04/2015


5 Unconventional Ways We Bolster Productivity at SumAll

By now we’ve all heard about the perks that come with working at a startup.

From the free snacks and drinks to discounted gym memberships, most startups offer a slew of benefits that not only attract the top talent on the market, but make the workplace an exciting and productive environment to be in. Here are five ways we boost productivity and morale at SumAll.

1. Catered Lunch. No one can work with a growling stomach. Daily catered lunches are a staple here at SumAll. From salads to sushi to the occasional bout of food poisoning, we’ve had it all.

Eating together helps bring people from varying disciplines together and exchange ideas, which normally wouldn’t happen if you’re stuck at your desk writing code or blog posts all day. So while we may not be able to differentiate between Red Shift and Mongo, everyone can find common ground talking about the undercooked short ribs.

Catered lunch gives us something to look forward to, something to talk about, and an excuse to stay in the office rather than run frantically down William Street in pursuit of Chipotle.

2. Game Nights, Events, and Happy Hours. Although we believe every hour should be happy at work, it’s good to have social events in the office to look forward to.

The first week of every month, we host a game night that involves traditional boardgames like Settlers of Catan, interspersed with the occasional competitive beer pong tournament.

We also have monthly movie nights where we turn our meeting space into a makeshift theater, replete with movie theater candy and bean bag seating.

3. All meetings optional. Meetings can tank an otherwise productive workday. Projects need to get done and instead of spending your time hitting deadlines, you’re stuck in a meeting that could’ve easily been resolved over email. To help cut down on time wasting, we decided to introduce a policy in which almost all meetings are optional.

Although this policy has been quite controversial, it allows for prioritization. Having an endless stream of meetings in a day and not being able to work on individual projects and fulfill responsibilities is not productive.

Team-wide meetings are generally mandatory, but other project-related meetings are optional – deadlines, an engineering crisis, or an important client call are all prioritized over meetings.

4. Flexible Hours and Work from Home. It’s 2015. The traditional 9 to 5 is out of style. Accommodating people’s different schedules is a great way to boost productivity – some people work best when most everyone is still asleep, while others don’t really get going until well after midnight. Being able to make your own hours lets you work at your own pace, and it’s especially important for remote employees living in different timezones.

5. Full bar. Frozen drink machines are the new water coolers (at least according to Silicon Valley). Like most startups worth their salt, we keep a fully stocked bar at all times. How this increases productivity is up for debate, but who’s gonna complain about free drinks?