Working naked – principles and origins

At the company, I founded and managed as CEO for 20 years, we used, and perhaps coined, the phrase “Working naked”. It was an amalgamation of our values statement which focuses on individual freedom and responsibility along with our unique work-life experience which included

  • Flexible schedule
  • Flexible work location
  • Decentralized management aka No bosses

Work naked Values

Our value statement is at the bottom but the 6 key points are as follows

  • Everyone thinks: Intelligent, intellectually curious, logical, and systematic
  • Everyone leads: Proactive, assertive, principled, and confident
  • Everyone grows: Intellectually curious, ambitious, energetic, and motivated
  • Everyone serves: Proactive, informed, constructive, and focused
  • Everyone shares: Outgoing, communicative, engaging, enthusiastic, and helpful
  • Everyone strives: Productive, focused, driven, and motivated (1)

These values accentuate independence, initiative and freedom … ala working naked

Work naked Work places

Freedom is just a word unless you back it up with how you treat people in the work place

There is no true freedom if

  • You enforce captive employment in an office or otherwise restrict their freedom of movement
  • You make people work by a rigid schedule or otherwise restrict their time
  • You micromanage and boss people around

Instead offer …

  • a Flexible schedule – Let your teamwork wherever the Hell they want
  • a Flexible work location – Let your teamwork whenever the Hell they want
  • Decentralized management – Get the Hell out of their way

Make it happen

It’s not that hard to implement and it will be the single, biggest and most impactful thing you do for work place morale, motivation and productivity. Here are 3 simple steps

  • Flexible location – Go remote. Ok, have an office. I love offices as long as I’m not required to work in them. They are great for meetings, interviews, getting corporate mail, hanging plants etc. But otherwise let people work remote.
  • Flexible Schedule – Focus on the results, not when or how long people work to achieve them. That allows your team to work a flexible schedule
  • Decentralized management – Empower your people to solve problems, implement solutions. Once empowered, let them do their jobs. Let them figure out how to solve business problems themselves, while you focus on facilitating them. If they need help, be there for them. If they don’t, get out of their way.

If you don’t know how to manage remote workers effectively, you will need to learn. Enterprise SCRUM and other AGILE approaches will help you

Where did the term “Working naked” originate?

I was working as a consultant at Bank Boston in the late 90’s. During my tenure, Bank Boston was acquired by Fleet and they began laying everyone off. Despite my temporary work status I was the single remaining person on the floor on my last day. They had cut the air conditioning, earlier in the week, and it was quite hot. I remember saying, “Hell, I could work naked and nobody would even know!”. Whether I ever acted on that impulse or not will not be disclosed lest I be accused of over-sharing …  but I thought to myself, “Wow, wouldn’t it be cool if I could be at a job where I COULD?”. Thus, the seed of this concept was planted in my head

I had already created some software, that in its nascent form, would go on to become some of the first ApexSQL tools. I still had 3 years left of consulting, though, before I would create my company and give myself, and later my team, the work-life freedoms that I had dreamed of in that hot, empty floor in a downtown Boston skyscraper.

How can *I* work naked?

Many and soon most companies will offer these same benefits. If you don’t work for one, quit and go work for the ones who do.

If you are reading this from Serbia, apply for a job at ApexSQL/Quest. These freedoms are still being offered and in some ways, even accentuated. For example, they purchased everyone a top of the line, Dell laptop to allow people to work anywhere they want. Vrlo dobro!

Working naked values statement

Everyone thinks: Intelligent, intellectually curious, logical, and systematic

We are all knowledge workers. Our primary tool is our brain and the power of our thought drives our actions and produces results. Don’t look to “bosses” to think for you; think for yourself; think outside of the box to achieve the best results. Think critically, objectively and with full information before you answer, act or deliver. Lack of thinking blinds us to obvious problems. Critical thought allows us to bake elegance and simplicity into everything we do

Everyone leads: Proactive, assertive, principled, and confident

We are all leaders of the company, of our team, of ourselves and of our tasks. Proactively identify problems and solve them. Don’t ask questions but make recommendations. Perform duties with minimal supervision. Don’t just worry about issues or ignore them, but express your concern through direct action. Ensure you are aligned with goals of the company and your team at all times and your actions promote tangible and measurable progress towards those goals

Everyone grows: Intellectually curious, ambitious, energetic, and motivated

Professional development is a cornerstone to our success. Constantly work to increase your knowledge, skills and efficiency. Don’t wait to be told to learn or grow; make it a daily habit. Don’t seek to learn by asking questions. Become an expert in your competency and share with others; add value to our processes and organization via actionable, well researched, and informed recommendations

Everyone serves: Proactive, informed, constructive, and focused

Recognize that empathy and a desire to serve are the foundations for a stellar customer experience. Proactively engage your customers to seek their feedback, take personal ownership of their issues and dedicate yourself to making sure it is resolved. Treat everyone as a customer, internal or external, and make responsiveness part of your personal brand. Build effective working relationships with a focus on being positive, informative, actionable, and helpful. Prioritize team success over personal achievement

Everyone shares: Outgoing, communicative, engaging, enthusiastic, and helpful

Communicate widely and effectively to the team, customers and community; educate your customers, peers and product owners. Volunteer self-criticism for failures proactively and be thankful for feedback, positive or negative. Mentor, advise and help others as they seek to grow and develop. Project value beyond your personal contribution by empowering others with your knowledge and experience

Everyone strives: Productive, focused, driven, and motivated

Focus on results. Expend the effort required to meet deadlines under pressure or at least go down with a fight; use time efficiently and demonstrate strong and consistent productivity; prioritize effectively to goals aligned with stakeholders; identify risks early and work to overcome roadblocks vs making excuses. Single task with a focus on daily deliverables, completed thoroughly to a high level of quality. Set expectations realistically and expend the effort required to meet them (2)


(1) (2) ApexSQL

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