CookiesHQ is busier than ever. Between new client projects, and previous clients coming for more development, the last 12 months have been extremely busy, to say the least.

In a small shop like ours, busy will be translated by developers finishing an iteration on one project on a Friday, and starting a new iteration on a new project the following Monday. Rinse and repeat.

As much as I like this on the business point of view, I also want to protect my team.

I want to protect them from burning out, but also protect them from becoming a “we’ve always done it like this” robot team.

Introducing the CookiesLab

With so much going on, Nathalie and I decided to actually book time off for people (on top of their holidays).

The idea is that everybody will have some planned and dedicated time off during the year, protected from client work, where they can play / experiment with technology.

These will usually last a week and we’re aiming to offer between 3 to 4 weeks per year to each person in the CookiesHQ team.

So far, the response from the team has been extremely positive.

Denis spent a week in October playing with the Ionic framework and preparing his Codehub workshop.

The result of that week is a tangible app, that we can play with in the office, and might release soon to the stores for everybody.

We also have some ReactJS fun planned in December from Rob, as well as some Docker investigations from Julio. Hell, I might even have the time to finally play with Go!

Why and how we are intending to run them

Well, on the why, it’s pretty easy. Every single person in CookiesHQ works extremely hard. This is what makes us successful.

So it’s our way to thank everybody, and allocate them some planned downtime, where there are no real deadlines, client-handling, and so on.

This is also a moment used to sharpen the saw. By giving us time to experiment / research new ideas or technologies, we are making the whole team smarter and more productive.

This is why we’ve decided to not let those Cookies Lab week(s) being run without a minumum of prepration.

For each planned week, people need to give Nathalie a quick outline of:

  • What they want to work on.
  • How they want to work on it.
  • What they expect to have achieved at the end of that week.

Doing this quick outline, a couple of weeks before the CookiesLab week starts, we hope will allow to people to maximize their week potential and avoid wasting time.

On the organisational side of things, it’s a (time) investment, and we want to make sure people use it efficiently.

What about you?

Does your company offer this kind of arrangement? If they don’t what would be the technology / idea you’d like to play with and why?