Saturday Work is the Best

Nugget:

Saturday work is a powerful tool but also dangerous.

Unpacked thoughts:

Saturday is my favorite work day of the week. I often say on Fridays “I am looking forward to tomorrow because that means no meetings.” On Saturdays, my work friends always greet each other “Welcome to the losers’ club”. 

These are thoughts that came from a workaholic. But they also apply as a cubicleMonk. 

This is what I love about Saturday work:

Dangers of Saturday work:

Saturday work guidelines:

As a manager, Saturday work is even more of a double edged sword. I have to be even more careful regarding my employees health and well being. Saturday work as a team can move mountains but it can also burn people out. I have never and will never demand or even strongly ask people to work on the weekends. But engineers are smart and they can feel the pressure which can lead to feeling obligated to come in on the weekend.

As a manager, I love to see the relaxed positive environment that leads to untethered creativity and freedom that comes from rolling up our sleeves on Saturday morning. During the peak of one project, Saturday work turned into almost a party-like atmosphere. We had a blast working together to find creative solutions to problems our product manager was bringing us. But this is not sustainable or even desirable. So my challenge as a manager is how can I bring this “Saturday Work Environment” to the office Monday-Friday. 

Story:

Yesterday, I had my first drive to work on a Saturday as a cubicleMonk. It was an amazing drive and later in the day than usual commutes. In the winter months of Seattle, one goes to work in the dark and comes home in the dark. My commute takes me along two lakes with views of mountain ranges. I get to drive through my favorite park and see my favorite landmark Mt Rainier. I hadn’t seen these views for months. OK, I didn’t see Mt Rainier because of clouds but at least there was a chance. I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful drive. 

As I drove, I felt fear that I was driving back to the workaholic days. This simple drive could lead to the demise of the cubicleMonk. But I reminded myself that I had already done the dishes, caught up on finances, did yoga and breathing, saved us $40 a month on cable bill. I had a date planned for the evening.

I was nervous as I drove into the parking lot but when I walked into my cube, I felt great. I felt free and relaxed. Almost no one was there and it was so quiet. In just a couple of minutes, I was able to clear up my inbox and some quick todos. Then I jumped into expense reports. A long period of no interruptions allowed me the time to find the receipts and get all of the data entered. Often when doing expense reports during working days, interruptions lead to having to repeatedly re-login and pick up at the random place I left off. 

The hours flew by and I got a ton of work done including some great planning discussions. All of my expense reports are done and I don’t have to worry about them on Monday.

I left before all of my energy was gone. There was still enough light outside that I was able to park along the lake. I walked the trail and watched the sun start to set. I had not been in the sun for a week and it felt great. 

I got home a couple hours later than I wanted. But because of exercise and sunlight, I had good energy and this allowed me to go on a wonderful date. This is a huge contrast to my Saturday work as a workaholic when I would come home and park myself on the couch as my family served me with junk food and beer. 

Saturday work is still amazing even as a cubicleMonk. With my new guidelines, I’m excited to get back into the office on the weekends. But not every weekend. 

Thoughts, questions, ideas? Please reach out to me: cubiclemonks@gmail.com