Menlo Innovations Delivering the Business Value of Joy
According to Richard Sheridan, president and CEO of Menlo Innovations, the software industry is typically known for “bringing the death march into the office” with their long hours and hefty amounts of stress. But Sheridan and his team at Menlo Innovations have changed this paradigm to transform their office into a collaborative, productive workspace that puts the employee first.
In 2001, Menlo Innovations opened its doors with a mission to “end human suffering in the world as it relates to technology.” Against the backdrop of an IT industry that everyone assumed was leaving the U.S. for offshore, Sheridan’s team at Menlo Innovations breaks all the rules and, in doing so, produces phenomenal results for its customers. At their Ann Arbor headquarters, there are no walls, offices, doors, or cubes. Everyone – from assistants to managers – sits in a single open room, just like Thomas Edison’s original invention factory in Menlo Park, NJ. Nobody works more than 40 hours a week, nor do they work on the weekends. Employees sit two to a desk, sharing computers and workspaces as they collaborate on a project. Team pairings switch weekly to ensure a constant flow of new ideas. Due to the shared workload, employees are free to leave and take care of family or personal issues as needed, with no stigma or guilt. Sheridan aspires to “create a culture that delivers the business value of joy” and says that he has come to realize that a joyful team is more profitable due to increased creativity, collaboration, responsiveness, and penchants for innovation.
The results of this innovative way of working are notable. In the almost 10 years the company has been in operation, a vacation request has never had to be denied, and Sheridan attests that the “tangible improvement in the quality [of products] is stunning.” Within six years, Menlo had become one of Inc. 500’s fastest-growing privately held firms in the United States. And Menlo’s employees report extremely high levels of job satisfaction.