Each person is unique. We want to celebrate that. We let you live life the way you want to live it. It’s your life after all—not ours. Purple Technology pays for the value you bring and the rest is up to you. But is this for everyone? I try to show how I think about freedom and responsibility in the workplace as a leader of our WebTech team.

Who is an employee?

To some businesses, an employee is a resource, a machine that costs something, and that produces value. Ideally, the value is larger than the cost. And to some employees, the company is also a resource. A way to get money by selling their time and skills.

In this simplistic view, both the company and the employee look for ways to get as much value as possible for as little cost as possible. Hardly a symbiotic relationship. This might be acceptable for short-term relationships, but we all spend a huge part of our lives working.

What do you want from life?

I know. This is a complex question. But I assume most of us want to “enjoy” our lives. I’m sure you do. But what is life? Is it everything we do outside work? I don’t think so. I strongly believe that work is an integral part of life. A life that is your own as a whole. You are not selling your life to the company: you are selling value. You should be able to live in a way that makes you happy. The company you work for should not only respect that, it should support that. At Purple Technology, that’s what we do.

We are a business

When you are not buying a part of life from your employees, what exactly are you paying for?

Purple Technology is a business. And for a business to be able to function and sustain itself it needs to create a profit. That’s why it was created. As a business owner, you pay your employees to create that value. I think there are two key areas you need to care about with each member of your company:

  1. Is the person doing good work?
    This is individual performance. You pay for the value being created.
  2. Does the person contribute to the environment in a positive way?
    No work gets done in isolation. The profit is created when multiple people collaborate and through their shared effort, they create value.

This is what you need to look for. Every position is different and the two points will be demonstrated differently. But it must be obvious that both are true in some way.For every position in a company, something specific is defined by those two points.

At Purple Technology, you are free to live the life you want. Do you prefer working in a quiet environment at home? Do you want to avoid the commute and maximize the time you spend with your family? Or do you like being together with others, brainstorming by the whiteboard, and chatting by the coffee machine? Do you work best in the morning or in the afternoon? It’s your life. Make it your own, and change it as your life unfolds. If you are responsible and make sure you bring the value we pay for while contributing to our shared environment, you are free to work the way you want.

Each position is different though. For some, the value you bring is not that dependent on when and how you work. But still, if we never see you and you don’t show you care about the company it might not work. Or if you are hard to reach in times where close collaboration is needed, the value you bring is greatly diminished.

The value of some positions is defined by boundaries. For example, if you work in customer support, you need to follow a predefined schedule where you are available to help our users. It’s a part of the job. But those requirements are always defined.

It’s not for everyone

You deserve the freedom to work in an environment that enriches your life. But with freedom comes responsibility.

You need to feel the internal motivation to do great work and be a reliable contributor. If you don’t have that, there is no one to “force you.” And after a while, you stop contributing. Others won’t be able to rely on you. And the cooperation will stop working. We’ve had cases like that. Maybe you are motivated to do something other than what you signed-up for. Or maybe you don’t have the habits needed to self-organize your work and you leave others on the line as a result. In those cases, you can’t thrive in our environment because you need more structure to guide you.

Or maybe you don’t want to care about your workplace. You just want to get it done and get home to your “real” life. That’s OK too. We just see it differently.

Is it worth it?

Maybe we could get better short-term results if we took over your life—if we had rules on what exactly needs to be done, when and how, a perfect machine. But we are working with people. The machine would start to squeak. And soon it would stop performing well. We don’t think it’s a machine. We think it’s a community.

Creating a place where good people can work, make a good living, and enjoy the time they spend working is a part of the value we wish to bring to the world. Yes, we do make products and sell those. But this philosophy is one of our products. We are proud of it and I wish everyone could have the opportunity to work in a place that lets their employees work the way they want to live.

And guess what? When you let people be themselves, they care not only about getting a paycheck, they care about the company and the environment, they work in. They care about their colleagues. And they are more creative. All that enables building even better products, happier customers, and ultimately it is more profitable.