Working at Coinbase: Intense and demanding, balanced by deliberate recharge time

Written by LG Brook, Chief Personnel Officer

We often ask for a copy of this question: “What is this really Want to work at Coinbase? “

Our culture document provides a great overall perspective for working here, but I think it’s important to address this question head on as well.

Bottom line: We work incredibly hard at Coinbase – for most of us, Coinbase is the most intense place we’ve ever worked. This intensity is only amplified by the current moment in coding, often resulting in long days and long weeks.

However, due to this intensity, we are also deliberating about finding time to recover between sprints. How intentional? This year, we are trying four weeks to recharge (roughly one every quarter), when the company shuts down almost completely so we can All Enjoy downtime without a backlog.

Four weeks of coordinated recharge time may seem like a long vacation for a hyper-growth company, but given the intensity of our work throughout the year, we believe this is the best way to ensure our pace is sustainable in the long term.

We know that this approach won’t work for every company, and we also know that Coinbase isn’t right for everyone. But if you want to work at the cutting edge of cryptocurrency and technology — and if you’re passionate about pushing your skills to the limits knowing you have regular opportunities to recharge — there’s no better place for you.

all-in environment

Why is Coinbase so powerful? Because the tremendous opportunity before us demands the best from each of us, every single day.

We’re upfront about this in our culture document, but it’s worth emphasizing: “We’re a winning team, not a family, and we have high expectations for performance and results….we have an intense work culture, and we’re regularly pushed out of our comfort zones.”

What does this mean in practice?

This means that we don’t count 9am-5pm or 40-hour workweeks – many days and weeks long, because that’s what it takes to get the job done.

This means that we simply cannot do more in some areas by doing less in others – the risk of missing out on a huge opportunity is too great.

This means that we are not committed to long-term plans – yes, we make thoughtful quarterly and annual plans, but we are ready to turn around at any moment if we see a better opportunity to serve our customers.

We are focused on achieving our mission of increasing economic freedom in the world, and we encourage our teams to set “uncomfortably ambitious” goals. This is the only way we can stay ahead.

The ‘act like an owner’ mentality

One of our cultural principles is to “act like an owner”. We expect our employees to be 100% responsible for achieving our mission, but we also help them operate in the way that is best for them, resting and recharging in between their quick races.

We do this in part with our first remote stand, which enables nearly all employees to choose whether they will work from an office, from home, or with a blended approach – whichever works best for them and their families. This policy has been a huge success, as it has enabled us to recruit the best talent from around the world and earn positive reviews from our employees.

We also enable employees to take charge of their own well-being through our Flexible Leave (FTO) policy (in eligible countries), which means most employees don’t need to accumulate leave before using it or worry about hitting an annual limit.

Despite FTO policy for most employees, in 2020 we realized that many employees didn’t take enough time to recharge, either because they didn’t want to force their teammates to cover them up or because they didn’t want to be left behind in their work.

We knew this wasn’t sustainable, so we set a week to recharge at the end of 2020 and two weeks to recharge in 2021, when nearly the entire business is shutting down. (Teams with 24/7 critical responsibilities, such as customer service and security, and scheduled replacement return weeks.)

Subsequent employee surveys explained: Recharge workweeks. In fact, 52% of employees said their recharge days and weeks were experiences A tool that helped them rest and recover in 2021.

These comments—and we expected this year to be just as intense as last—have prompted us to set a date four Recharge weeks for 2022, approximately one week each quarter. We don’t have any expectations that we will last four weeks to recharge after 2022 – we will assess as we go – but we are confident that this is the right approach for us this year.

Although we’ve set four weeks to recharge for 2022, we haven’t made any changes to our FTO policy — we’ve encouraged employees to schedule vacations during recharge weeks when they can, but we know that’s not always possible, and that’s OK.

We also know that despite our best intentions, there are times when some employees need to work during recharge week. When this happens, we do our best to compensate them so they make time to recharge as well. We’re fine with this trade-off – we’d rather implement a solution that works regularly for 90% of employees than search endlessly for the elusive “perfect” solution.

Acting as an owner is truly the key to success at Coinbase – our top performers take recharge seriously, but they also don’t hesitate to jump in and hand over to the company whenever needed nonetheless.

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – we hire

There is no denying that Coinbase is one of the most exciting places to work at the moment.

In just the past 12 months, we’ve tripled our headcount, expanded into new markets, brought new crypto innovations to our clients and gone public – and we still feel like we’re just getting started.

As we say in our culture document, “We are optimistic about the future and determined to get there.”

If you share this optimism, and if my description of working at Coinbase matches you, take a look at our careers page – we hire for hundreds of roles in dozens of industries, and we want exceptional people in every seat, working together toward our mission.

Working at Coinbase: The intense, demanding, and balanced work by intentional recharge time is posted on the Coinbase blog on Medium, where people continue the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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