Dropping Extra Baggage with Le Tote
Most people would think the best part of working at Chewse is constantly being surrounded by such amazing food. Hell yeah, that’s definitely a perk. But what’s even more fulfilling to us is forming meaningful relationships and friendships with our clients, and, beyond that, learning what makes them tick.
Recently we’ve been spending some extra time with our buddies over at Le Tote. If you haven’t heard of them, check ‘em out – they’re an awesome clothing subscription service. It lets people to try, rent, and buy clothes shipped on a regular basis. Anybody would be impressed with the rapid success they’ve had, and even more so the vibrant culture created within the company. So we picked the brain of our friend Cody over there to undress how they’ve built such a positive place to work in. Here are a few nuggets from our conversations with him.
It takes investment
Sometimes you need to stop counting the beans and start eating them. Well, maybe that’s a bad analogy, we’ll pretend the beans are Kopi Luwak. In any event, the point is sometimes it’s not clear how something can positively affect the bottom line. But parties, events, and excursions shouldn’t be looked at like you’re throwing away money in order to seem like a cool place to work.
They should be genuinely exciting and thought-provoking. They should be that fresh glass of lemonade on a 98-degree day, refreshing you and providing that little extra pep in your step. When done right, these events bring the team closer together, creating a happy group of employees which will increase productivity overall. That’s a lot of words to get to this point: Don’t skimp on things because they seem a little pricey – a happy and motivated team, will more than pay that back in no time.
Make a democracy not a dictatorship
Can’t think of what to do? That’s easy – ask the crew. It’ll give you a better feel for what your co-workers are interested in. It empowers them, knowing their voices and opinions actually matter; that they’re more than cog #57 in the machine. The benefits are pretty self-explanatory when you think about it. When you feel engaged and empowered in any activity your more likely to give it your all. But it takes that first step of thought to make it happen.
It’s also a way for people to potentially show off passions or side projects you may have never known about. Speaking of that…
Different Makes a difference
Diversity is a driving force behind everything Le Tote does. After all, at their essense, they’re a fashion company. If you live in an echo chamber in that world you’ll miss out on future trends or cool new looks coming from unexpected places. The same logic applies to all workplaces, and it goes beyond ethnicity or sex – a diversity of opinions and backgrounds is just as valuable, as it can lead you to discover new and better ways of doing things.
Le Tote ensures they make this a fun and celebratory aspect of their culture, rather than being sanctimonious or heavy-handed. It’s accomplished by the last two big points – investing in fun and interactive events for people to share their backgrounds at, and letting the employees decide what those events are going to be. Humans have an insatiable thirst for knowledge, why not quench it in the office? Every company wants their workforce firing on all cylinders, and learning new things gives both sides of the brain a nice workout.
Repetition is the death of any relationship
It’s easy to get in a rut. Maybe it happened to you and an ex. Going to the same places, seeing the same faces, eating the same meals every day slowly dimmed the flame that was sparked when you first met. It’s the same thing with a job because nobody wants to live in Groundhogs Day.
We need new challenges and opportunities in order to stay inspired. That’s why Le Tote believes in a commitment to fun events – but even then, they need to have a variety or they lose their luster. Going to happy hour every day is actually kind of depressing. Think of it like wedding season. If you go to a couple in the summer, you’ll remember them as fun, special, big events. But if you go to 30 in a row (hi little sister) they all just blend together. Don’t be afraid to repeat successful events, but also make sure they’re all special.
Don’t punish efficiency
You might be thinking, man, these people at Le Tote are all about throwing those sweet parties and excursions. We can attest that yes, yes they are. But to be as successful as they have, it also means getting down and dirty with the hard work that makes a company blossom. One way they’re able to achieve this they feel is too often overlooked is rewarding, not punishing, efficiency.
Sure, in some cases timesheets are a necessary evil to track billable hours to clients, or for certain customer-facing roles. Le Tote has found that the better way for them to make sure things are done right, and on time, is to instead measure productivity. Bill Gates famously said “hire a lazy person to do a difficult job, because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” Now, we probably wouldn’t go so far as advocating laziness, but the truth in the statement is that people should be rewarded for beating deadlines rather than focusing on filling hours. Which is why they’re big advocates for the following:
Consider alternate ways of working
Technology, and what many people do now, has made the way people work shift over the years. To stay competitive take into consideration how each individual works best. Some need the solace of home sometimes to really get in the groove, others might need some offsite meetings to really get their brains cranking. Nobody’s the same, so it doesn’t make sense to expect everybody to do their best work in the same manner.
Be Real. Real good.
Nobody likes playing unnecessary games. The office politics, having to guess at what’s going on in other departments, or even worse, with the people above them. So cut the crap, be real, upfront, and honest. Even if it’s not great news, people appreciate being respected with the truth and will return the favor with respecting everybody else right back. Truly feeling like you’re part of something, no matter what rank you are, motivates people to work harder, because they see they’re a valued member of the team.
Try some of these on and see what fits.
Maybe all of these would work for your company. Maybe some. Perhaps even none (though we’re a little skeptical about that). The important thing to take away from what Le Tote does is they’re consistently seeking for new ways to do things. Just because something’s working doesn’t mean there may not be an even better way to do it. So go ahead, play around and find your company’s culture, because caring enough to try is the most important thing you can do.