December 6, 2016
Since day one at Mimir, we have run a very lean operation. We take pride in our blend of both excellent work ethic and relaxed rules. Our silent policy has been, as long as you get your work done, hit your goals, and maintain good communication habits we don’t really care if you’re late.
Over the last 5 months we have exploded from a team of just 3 co-founders to 8 full-time and 4–8 (changes month to month) part-time. With growth came the need for organization and we came to the realization it was time to formalize our unwritten policies and establish new ones.
During our research, we struggled to find what policies other startups implemented so we decided to share our own to provide a resource for others. We announced these internally about one week ago. If you have any questions, suggestions, or requests let me know!
We offer unlimited sick days to all of our employees. We just ask that they let us know the morning of. We don’t expect people to work on sick days, just recover and come back healthy when they can. There is a good chance someone will drop off food on their way back from lunch too!
Our list of company wide holidays is pretty short. Since we offer unlimited vacation, we figured that it would be better to let people choose their days off than define them.
This is a page directly out of Buffer’s book. We changed our vacation policy from “Unlimited” to “Two Weeks to Infinity”. Basically, this change sets a minimum vacation time. Getting work done is key to driving the company forward, but it is also very important to relax and recharge. The startup life has a tendency to chip away at you and if don’t take care of yourself, your work ethic will suffer.
We’ve never really had a formal complaint at Mimir and although we hope to keep it that way, we wanted to create a safe way for everyone to file one. We’ve created an email dead drop for anonymous complaints and feedback. Moving forward we hope to create a second email dead drop that is for the entire team.
As we grow and learn to work together disagreements are expected. Since we have no HR team, we wanted to provide a potential process for people to resolve their issues. Although there is a time and place for mediation we hope that, as adults, our team members will directly resolve their own issues. That being said the entire team is always here to help.
We found that when one team member had a question or needed something from another, the conversation/exchange would be done via DMs. It’s like calling someone across the office rather than yelling at them. There is no malice in doing so, but the issue arises when another team member has the same question or needs the same file. By conducting conversations in public channels, all team members have access to the same knowledge and content.
We try to minimize meetings here at Mimir but they are a growing pain. Unofficially we have two pretty distinct teams in the office: Sales & Development. Everyone gets along and with a one room office it’s hard to avoid the other team but we found a disconnect in knowing what the other team is up to. To solve this, we established a daily standup from 9:16–9:30 to act as a bridge so both sales and dev are on the same page.
At Mimir, we are working on modernizing computer science education on the global scale. Our products are already being used in 3 continents with a fourth coming soon. We want our team to get out of the office and see what’s up in the rest of the world. We realize that $500 won’t cover the cost of most international tickets, but it can definitely help. As we scale we hope to raise the budget for each team member and maybe conduct a team vacation as well.
We strongly believe that when people are on vacation, they should be on vacation. It’s pretty hard to take a nap on the beach if your phone goes off every five minutes. We created a remote work policy to create a clear definition between working from home and vacation. A change of scenery can also be pretty helpful when you’re working.
The Unsick Day is an awesome movement we ran across not too long ago. We have unlimited sick days because we care that our team is healthy so this seemed like the next natural step. This alsofollows our internal philosophy of being more proactive than reactive.
Now this is a big one. The Mimir Rainy Day Fund (MRDF) is a small pool of capital available for ultra-low-interest loans to our FTEs. Even though everyone on the team is financially responsible, shit happens and we want to be there to help. Until we can afford to bring everyone’s salary to the industry average, we hope this will act as a safety net. There is a lot of work left before we can get everything in order and launch this policy but we hope to do so sometime in 2017.
We haven’t seen other companies that do this for their team members. If you know of any, let us know! We could use their advice on getting things setup.
This is pretty straight forward. We believe the role of the CEO is to do whatever is necessary to keep the company growing. This could range from raising an investment round to doing cold calls or even going on coffee runs. This policy create a results based role much like sales members with a commission for the CEO.
Basically our all-hands meeting. We chose to do them monthly since our combination of standups and close proximity keeps us mostly up to date.
That’s all I have for now. As we grow I hope to keep this post updated with our new policies. Let me know if there is a different part of Mimir you are curious about and I may just write about it. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to follow me for updates.