I didn’t find success in a traditional way. My career in the restaurant industry began alongside my brother, with both of us in the back of a kitchen washing dishes. Scraping half-eaten food off dishes might not be how most CEOs find their way, but it sparked a passion in us and ultimately brought us to where we are today. The Carving Board was built by challenging the norm and taking a risk to bring a new, innovative concept featuring nontraditional sandwiches to the quick-service restaurant industry.
Now that the brand is growing through franchising, my job responsibilities have grown and I’ve found most of my success by ditching the “best practices” so many business leaders abide by. I’ve found solace in challenging the normal workday to enhance our bottom line.
Here are a few ways you can break free from the traditional 9-to-5, too.
1. Ditch the desk.
A traditional workspace can limit you from daylight, exercise and human interaction. The last thing any employee wants to do is look at a blank wall all day. Whether it be a standing desk, a treadmill or a local coffee shop, find what works for you and your employees and adapt to their needs. Personally, I find my success by working at home from my bed; I call it my “besk.” This is where I’m most comfortable and therefore most productive.
If you enjoy work, you’ll ultimately put more into the company. Allowing employees the flexibility to work from where they want also instills trust in the company, as they know they are expected to perform even without being constantly monitored.
2. Book last-minute travel.
For a quick escape, I find myself taking last-minute trips across the county, often leaving within hours of deciding. I don’t really think twice about it because we all need a getaway to release our minds from the confines of the workday.
While I’m traveling, I take advantage of the different cuisines at each destination—using my adventures as an opportunity to enhance our menu offerings by exploring new dishes and ingredients we might not have thought about otherwise. So not only can travel free your mind, it can inspire new business ideas.
3. Host living room meetings.
The majority of staff meetings tend to be dull and ineffective, as the minds of your employees can begin to drift. I try to make my staff feel like they are part of my family and show them how they are an important part of our brand. Every month I invite all of the managers into my home for a potluck-style meeting. This enhances the “family feel” within the company and encourages people to share their ideas, which can help elevate the business.
Think about a change of environment, breaking free from the standard office or conference room meetings, to inspire innovation, creativity and a new way of thinking. This in turn inspires employees to do their best work, bond on a deeper level, build trust, and feel a sense of passion and accountability for the brand.
The traditional 9-to-5 corporate business day of switching off between your desk and the conference room works for some companies, but certainly not for all. Too frequently, companies experience employee burnout and overall dissatisfaction with the company’s culture. I have found this progressive way of running my company affords me and my employees a much less stressful work environment and increased productivity.
Great things can happen when you ditch your desk.