Last Monday, Flywheel shut down as the dog-loving, scooter-riding, beer-drinking office everyone knows and loves and reopened as every Flywheeler’s worst nightmare: A dry, cookie-cutter office filled with Folgers coffee, Looney Tunes ties, and the sound of a second hand counting down until the clock strikes 5:00 pm. Welcome to Perspective Day.
“Perspective Day has always been an idea long before I started at Flywheel,” Brooke Lehman, our employee experience coordinator, explained. “What started as a dream of our CEO turned into reality when we decided to position it as an event for April Fools Day!”
It would take quite a bit of coordination to pull this crazy thing off, but leave it to our People team to execute it flawlessly. Brooke and Holly, another employee experience coordinator, came in the night before to strip the office down to its boring bones. Preparation included chaining up the snack cabinets, hiding the bathroom supply caddies, replacing our delicious local Omaha coffee with Folgers, and adding alarms to the beer, soda, and La Croix fridge.
We didn’t stop there though. Our IT Specialist, Aaron Hackworth, blocked all social media platforms from everyone’s computers (and provided Verizon Hotspots to Flywheelers who needed access to social media to do their day-to-day jobs) while the Head of our People Team, Michael Struthers, purchased “pink slips” so our managers could write up employees for being late, taking a long lunch, or simply laughing. We were ready.
The clock struck 8:45 am on Monday morning and Flywheelers began to trickle in wearing their finest suits and pencil skirts and got to work in silence, since our Sonos speakers were disabled for the day. Anyone who rolled in after 9:00 am was greeted with a pink slip, warning them to get it together for the rest of the day.
We even turned off our typically whimsical voice on social media and went for a more serious tone throughout the day:
Get off of Twitter, Ryan. This is a productive work environment. https://t.co/eHjNAlmwSU— Flywheel (@HeyFlywheel) April 1, 2019
By noon, people were desperate for a nice, warm meal that we typically have catered every Monday, but instead they were greeted with brown paper sacks filled with cold turkey sandwiches, a clementine, a pickle, chips, and a cookie. Yum. Our underground community space quickly turned into a breakroom where people shared their worst experiences of the day so far.
The afternoon kicked in and the boredom started getting the best of us. Some Flywheelers got distracted by the smallest things (like a car that parked the wrong way on the street outside of our building) while others started sneaking away for 20 minute bathroom breaks so they could hop on their data and scroll through what they missed on their timelines throughout the day. We never thought the time would come, but when the clock finally struck 5:00 pm, we celebrated making it through Perspective Day by enjoying drinks with our coworkers at Mercury, a bar right across the street from Flywheel.
In true corporate fashion, so far I’ve attended one meeting, bull-shirted with my colleagues far longer than I should, and accomplished exactly nothing toward my actual job. If No Fun Flyday is meant to mimic a corporate atmosphere at @HeyFlywheel, it’s a smashing success.— jen homann (@mpjeno) April 1, 2019
Perspective Day was partially inspired due to the fact that a majority of our team is relatively young, and for some of them, Flywheel is their first “big kid” job, so we wanted to give them a taste of what it can be like at other large companies. It also allowed for the rest of the team to reminisce and swap nightmares with their fellow coworkers of what life used to be like before coming to Flywheel. At the end of the day, it gave the team a whole new perspective and appreciation for how lucky we are to be able to come to work every day and thoroughly enjoy it.
“Perspective day reinforced that Flywheel is definitely the place for me.” Amanda Martinez, our Engineering Manager, explained. “A traditional corporate office wouldn’t be able to handle who I am day-to-day!”
We’re thankful for Perspective Day, but relieved that it’s only once a year, as we desperately missed our usual routine of drinking La Croix, tossing toys to our office dogs, and wearing our favorite Flywheel tees.
Did we miss a key detail that we should incorporate next year? Let us know in the comments below!
Comments ( 3 )
January 9, 2020
This is awesome! Only suggestion, if possible, put up temporary cubicle walls to really promote the sense of isolation (grade school science fair boards perhaps).
April 21, 2019
Did you cancel all the outsiders coming in for meetings? They would have thought they had walked into the Twilight Zone. Good point about all your people who have never experienced a corporate gig though. Well played
April 16, 2019
Must have been painful!