Freedom for Side Projects
Side projects are a highly touchy subject for startups. But in the end, they can be very beneficial to long-term employee happiness. It's exactly why Google used to have 20% time, Apple has Blue Sky, and Microsoft has The Garage.
Letting the people who keep your company running explore their own side projects helps prevent startup fatigue. Not only that, it's a fun way to learn new skills while building passion projects.
It's very important in a distributed company
Having a fully remote company is known to take a toll on employees. If you don't have good habits in creating your own balance, you will burn out very fast. Being able to work on side projects allows us to take our minds off of the day job and focus on something we're building out of pure passion. It also lets us explore things that we don't normally get to explore during the day.
Side projects as a team
We really, really like Web Components as a team. So recently we spent about a week as a team building out something that we don't necessarily know what to do with - Ele. It's a fun little toy for building and demoing Polymer elements, and was a great learning exercise. It's stuff like this that helps us bond better as a team - stuff that has no real problem to solve - just pure fun.
Built with Polymer Revision.io Michael's Chat app
Personal side projects
We all work on little things here and there that we like to share with each other. Scott is building some sort of GitHub tracker, I'm building a Twitter curation tool, and Jake and Michael have a million projects each. Mary likes to come up with crafty ways to do things. Robert.. I'm not sure what Robert does - he's a night owl so we rarely catch each other online.
The key thing is - when we're not working on Divshot stuff, there's always a passion project that we like to do. Sometime we may even do that during the day - and that's okay.