The Seven-Day Weekend by Ricardo Semler

17 / 11 / 2003

The Wisdom Revolution: Feeding Ducks and Making Millions.

How would you like to choose your own boss? Decide your own salary? Spend your day working in a hammock?

The weekend is ending, whether we want it to or not. Business in the 21st century means people can - and often are expected to - work all the time, wherever they are. That's not necessary, and it's not the way it's done at Semco. Yet Semco workers thrive in their jobs and the company continues to expand into new products, new markets and new businesses. For 20 years, Semco has proved that all alternatives are possible, workable and profitable.

A new way of working has emerged at Semco over the 20 years since Ricardo Semler took over the company from his father. A 40-fold increase in the business was built on an ethos of living and working which incorporates: hammocks for people to use during the day, Retire-a-Little Plans, the end of the head office, the abolition of control and boarding school mentality.

The results are extraordinary: inordinate success for 20 years, practically non-existent staff turnover, and an organisation that covers an enormous range of business activity, from machinery to environmental consulting, and from real estate advisory services to new business start-ups.

Many companies may view democracy and freedom as alternative methods of running a business - at Semco they form the heart of how business is done. It's the reason why the company has grown from $35 million in revenue and 350 employees in 1995 (when 'Maverick!' was published) to $160 million and 3,000 employees today.

It's time to revolutionise work: Semco is leading the way.
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