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Zomato Has a “Deskless” Office so That Employees Never Get Too Complacent

Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal says it took six years to define his company’s culture. From the moment he founded the restaurant listing and review site in his New Delhi apartment in 2008, he’s been laser-focused on growth. Today, his message to his 750 employees is clear: stay in startup mode.

“It’s very hard to articulate a culture,” says Upasana Nath, the company’s 35th employee and regional director for the Southeast Asian market. “Everything is hustle. Early on this year we moved to a five-day workweek. We were running six days the last couple years.”

The ecommerce company’s New Delhi headquarters is a “deskless” office, similar to software company Valve, where no one has a fixed desk. Without a permanent desk, says Nath, you can never get too complacent.

Goyal tells Quartz that the company’s “deskless” culture is largely symbolic, indicating to employees that they need to be flexible in terms of roles, locations, and reporting structures. “We still have that very early startup culture where everybody is able to do everything,” he says.

That ethos rings true among employees, whom the company calls Zomans. On job ratings and review site Glassdoor, many describe Zomato ...

How to Run a Team of People Who Never See Each Other

Millions of people make a living without ever setting foot in an office. Particularly in technology, companies are moving away from just outsourcing rote tasks to remote workers and toward building entirely distributed teams.

One leader is Elance-oDesk, the largest online marketplace for freelance talent. In addition to providing a platform for distributed and part-time work, the company practices what it preaches. Telecommuting in the United States increased by as much as 79% (paywall) between 2005 and 2012.

Elance-oDesk’s engineering lead, Stephane Kasriel, recently released an extensive guide to building distributed teams that combine on-site staff with a larger group of remote workers and freelancers. His team has about 50 people in the Bay Area, and some 200 that are remote.

Kasriel argues that particularly for smaller companies, distributed teams offer a huge cost and competitive advantage. There are great people around the world who are disinclined to move, do their best work outside of an open-plan office, or have conflicting family commitments.

Big businesses can offer higher salaries and better perks, but hiring can be very competitive, especially for high-skilled jobs in places where an industry is concentrated, such as Silicon Valley. The Brookings Institution’s Jonathan Rothbard ...

The Complete Guide to Having a Creative Breakthrough

We all struggle for a moment of insight. Whether you’ve been banging your head against the wall for days or just woke up to a problem this morning, the desire for a creative boost is a powerful one. It’s the same feeling that plagues writers facing a blank page or advertisers developing a brand’s next campaign—and learning how to achieve it can have a profound impact. Here are some tips to avoid your next headache or create something the world has never seen before:

Sleep

Just like a car needs gas to drive, your brain needs sleep to fire on all cylinders. Sleep consolidates what you’ve learned throughout the day, strengthening neural connections and, more importantly, creating new ones. Making original associations between different pieces of information stored throughout the brain (like that thing you read in the news and your college professor’s dog) is at the heart of having a “eureka” moment (Archimedes supposedly coined the term while running naked through the streets of Syracuse, Italy after realizing the fraud in Hiero’s “gold” crown by stepping into his bath and seeing water spill out.) For most adults seven hours of shuteye is ...

Is It Better for the Government to Lease or Own?

As part of its prevailing real estate strategy, the federal government is eschewing leases in favor of ownership to boost savings and efficiency. This approach aims to simplify a decision process that is complex for both public and private entities.

Simple return-on-investment calculations will often show it is less costly over the long run for agencies to own real estate than to lease it. In many cases, owning an asset specific to an agency's unique requirements may be the most efficient real estate solution.

But an optimal real estate strategy includes both owned and leased assets. Look at the private sector, where it is standard practice for companies with multiple locations to diversify assets across their real estate portfolios. This is a prudent approach.

For the federal government, individual asset-based decisions should fit within a broad portfolio strategy. A new white paper by JLL Public Institutions Group, a commercial real estate services firm, suggests five key considerations for any agency making real estate acquisition decisions:

  1. Relocation strategy options and flexible workplace solutions. The combination of constantly emerging technologies and the implementation of workplace strategies by the General Services Administration introduce opportunities to shrink the federal footprint and reduce operating ...

Five Games That Reveal Executive Function in Kids

There has been a lot of recent attention focused on the importance of executive function for successful learning. Many researchers and educators believe that this group of skills, which enable a child to formulate and pursue goals, are more important to learning and educational success than IQ or inherent academic talent.

Kids with weak executive function face numerous challenges in school. They find it difficult to focus their attention or control their behavior—to plan, prioritize, strategize, switch tasks, or hold information in their working memory. As a teacher and a parent, I’m always looking for fun ways to shore up these skills in my students and my children.

I recently reported on the benefits of free play and noted that kids who spend a lot of time in adult-organized and structured activities such as lessons, athletic practice, or highly scheduled camps get fewer opportunities to strengthen self-directed executive function.

Free play is a fantastic default mode for summer, but when the lightning flashes, the thunder roars, and the words “I’m bored” escape my children’s lips, I reach for games. Not the electronic kinds that require a controller and a background check at Common Sense Media—the ...