20%: Google’s Innovative Approach to Staff Productivity
Can you imagine your boss granting you permission to do whatever you want every single Friday? There’s only one catch: you do have to stay in the office. Can you imagine what you’d be working on at your desk if you had that kind of freedom?
This is exactly the goal behind Google’s “Innovation Time Off”. Google, headquartered in California and well known for their informal work environment, decided to take a seemingly-contradictory approach to boosting employee productivity: give engineers nothing to do for eight hours (or 20% equivalent of their time) on a weekly basis.
The results? Google’s Marissa Mayer, VP of Search Products and User Experience, has stated that half of all new product launches (Gmail, Google News, AdSense, etc.) have originated from Innovation Time Off. This unique employee motivational tool, accompanied by a perk-filled corporate work environment, has led Google to the very top of Fortune magazine’s list of best companies to work for multiple times.
In his book “Living Life the 80/20 Way”, Richard Koch breaks down the century-old 80/20 rule (otherwise known as the “Pareto principle”) into these modern day business examples:
80% of your profits come from 20% of your customers
80% of your sales are made by 20% of your sales staff
80% of your profits come from 20% of the time you spend
The results certainly are in the numbers: with over a billion daily search queries on Google, there’s no doubt we’ve all benefitted from world’s brightest engineers being given 20% of their time at work to improve processes and efficiencies.
Paul Prudente is the vice president and COO of Moco, Inc., which provides tenant and employment screening services under the MyScreeningReport.com and Moco Inc, The Information Source brands. They have provided property owners and employers with high quality residential and pre-employment screening services since 1989.