A Workplace Fantasy Come True

A blog by Jon Keller

Here is a link to the website of HubSpot, the Cambridge internet software marketing company selected by the Globe as one of our region’s best places to work.

Watch my report on HubSpot and the management theory behind it and tell me below: do you think this makes sense? Could it work in your industry? If not, why not?

More from Jon Keller
  • Ray Finkel

    I am willing to bet that people actually take less vacation because of this policy.

    Do they also save money because they don’t need to pay people out on vacation when they leave?

  • mikey

    There is a ton of money being made in the internet software industry, obviously.

    I wouldn’t fit in well at HubSpot. I suck at ping-pong.

    • Andy

      I’m not very good at ping pong either, I’m more of a foosball man myself.

      • BostonIrish

        I’m a billiards guy myself. But they don’t put those in “high class” places.

  • Stephen Stein

    Been there, done that. Most of the software houses I’ve worked at in the past 25 years have this kind of atmosphere, usually when they’re small. Ping-pong, work at home if you want to (and can), no one keeping strict check of hours. Never had that kind of vacation policy, but like Ray says, people often don’t take all the vacation they give you. (This especially applies if your workers are young. Older married folk tend to take the vacation. With age comes smart.)

    They are great places to work, but don’t think you can just get hired there and slack off. Because of the atmosphere, the jobs are in high demand, so if you’re hired there, you’re expected to produce. If you don’t there’s always someone else who will want to have the job! :-)

  • Johnny Cool

    Smile & Dial

  • StanleyRamon

    My work week for the past 35 years is way, way, way different. I wouldn’t last 2 days in an environment like that.
    BTW do those perks apply to guys that empty the trash and clean the toilets? Can they drink beer and play ping-pong too?

    • Benny

      Great comment. They probably don’t give the cleaning people the time of day.

      • Vani

        The cleaning people may or may not work for them though. Many places don’t have their own janitorial/cleaning employees but instead contract a cleaning service, so the workers actually work for the outside company not the company that they are cleaning for. I used to work in a large multi-floor building that housed many different companies. We didn’t have our own cleaning people, there was a service that was used to clean for the whole building.

  • Fatty_Arbuckle

    Its a matter of time before all the jobs move to India

  • Kathy Nolan Deschenes

    I agree with Steve. I’ve worked at places like this and have had friends who’ve done the same. This is nothing new. It was all done in the late 90s during the internet boom. All those companies like Amazon and others who never made it past Y2K, had those perks too. But you were expected to work until you dropped. It was mostly 20 somethings working at these places (I was an older 40 year old), but the company was their life. The reason the bosses gave all these great perks like Beer Friday (this is an old one), video games, and parties was/is because the employees were there all the time.

    The bosses gave a lot and still do, I’m sure, at places like HubSpot but you are expected to give up a lot also. Keep the beer, I’ll take my weekends instead.

  • Matt

    I had the good fortune to work at HubSpot and, like some some have assumed, it is a Work Hard/Play Hard type of company. It’s not unrealistic for an employer to expect the best, and then give the best (in terms of benefits). As a commuter, I never had to worry about showing up 10, 20, or 30 minutes late because of traffic. I knew that my bosses knew that I busted my ass while in the office, and would also continue to work from home at night, and always had my Blackberry with me. When I did take vacation, I knew I had earned it.

    While having a ping-pong table & beer cooler isn’t revolutionary, the top-down commitment to the company’s culture is a unique concept. Dharmesh & Brian (the founders) realize that they have some amazing talent working for them, and they want to keep them happy.

    • BostonIrish

      I work at one of those companies and the pay is excellent, the job is very self-motivating and cutting edge, and the camaraderie is the best. A great atmosphere. And I’m 50.

  • therealdeal

    this is such nonsense. the place is a sweatshop. how much did they pay for this spot?

  • Hit the phones!

    The thing is – no one forces anyone to work here. Going in, smart candidates will uncover that a lot of hours and work is expected of them to help build this business to a publicy traded company or the target of a lucrative acquisition. they can then make the decision if that lifestyle is right for them at that point in their lives. However, it can’t be overlooked when outsiders view just the perks that a company provides to keep their workers happy without mentioning the crazy hours they put in.

    The big elephant in the room is often missed – a company funded on VC $ gets to save bundles of cash by not having to pay out any accrued vacation time making for a much leaner balance sheet. This is the REAL reason a company like HubSpot implements a policy like this. Otherwise they’d give everyone market or above market salaraies to work there to keep them happy instead of underpaying and giving them soft perks.

  • Chris Haddad

    Man, I love working for HubSpot.

    As a few commenters have mentioned, yes, the “No Vacation Policy” policy does keep the balance sheet lean. The last two companies I worked at had me leaving with max accrued vacation time, and I knew going in to HubSpot that this wouldn’t be the case. So, I make sure to take a few days every other month, and a full week a few times each year. As Matt mentioned, it is a work hard/play hard environment, and as long as your putting up the results that are expected of you, you’re not going to hear “boo” about time off. We have frequent 1:1s between managers and their team members, and its not uncommon to see managers pushing their team members to take time off.

    Brian’s vision is pretty simple: change the way that the world does marketing. Getting hired at HubSpot is an intense process, mostly because we’re looking for people that want to turn this vision into a reality, have the capacity to deliver on their promise, and will thrive in our work hard/play hard environment.

    Not every company is going to be a good fit for a “No Vacation Policy” policy, but it works pretty well for us at HubSpot.

  • A former start-upper

    Dear Lord could we overuse the cliche – “work hard/play hard” anymore? How do you “play hard”. I think that phrase is most often used when companies overwork their employees, expecting a silly amount of hours because many of their employees are young. It typically demonstrates some over the top machismo related to work. “Haha we never go home early. Why would we? We love to work and never see our families and friends. Why? Because work has replaced our family and friends”. I have heard enough to know that no company is as flexible as the face they put on may demonstrate. This will never scale once you get paste the initial few years of staffing. When the economy recovers, etc, you will get less loyal employees who will abuse it.

    The media needs to stop making companies such as HS into gardens of eden where everything is perfect. Rather concentrate on why some of those ideas are not passing to other companies. Why do start-ups start this way and then lose that specialness? This happens all the time. We need to change the business culture, not just set apart one business as being different “hey look at those crazy guys, but that would never work here”. Position HS, not as the crazy outsiders, but the new mainstream. Only if you can change the overall culture of the biz world will perks such as those at HS be able to endure in the long term.

  • DING!

    They fail to mention the mandatory twice a week after hour hours meetings. The extremely aggressive quotas and the boiler room sales atmosphere. If you take a vacation at HubSpot, then you WILL NOT hit your monthly quota. It’s impossible. and we all know what happens when the revolving door is spinning.

    HubSpot is a suffocating work environment. Great for 20 somethings that are looking for a fast moving VC start-up. You will learn a lot, but don’t be fooled by this facade. Employees at HubSpot at overworked, underpaid, and super stressed.

  • mikey

    Here’s another cliche that has been beaten to death : Washington is broken. Duh.

  • FireGuyFrank

    It will all come crashing down when beer is blamed for an employee’s accident on the way home, or an altercation at work.

  • Ding!

    They aren’t allowed to leave, Frank. …. Ever

  • Benny

    I can’t believe WBZ was stupid enough to report this!!!

  • OutsourceMeNow

    Beats the heck out of my place where they turn the oxygen supply off at 5:01 and I’m stuck in a 5,000 person cubicle farm requiring a GPS unit to navigate my way to and from my very own 4 person shared cubicle. But then again we do get a starbucks gift card every 18 months or so. Serenity now!!

  • mikey

    A cubicle farm? Shoot me.

  • Biwwy

    Chris Haddad…kiss ass much?

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