A Start-up Environment: With Great Freedom Comes Great Responsibility

As I mentioned earlier, I am interning at AhaMove, an e-commerce delivery service startup in Hanoi, Vietnam. Our company is specialized in last-mile delivery with a smartphone app through which customers can make orders for their packages to be delivered – just like booking an Uber for a box. The company is still at its very early age – it was only recently founded in 2015. Even the employees are young as well –  most of my coworkers are around my age and our CEO is only in his early 30s. A new company in  a developing service type and filled with young people, AhaMove has a unique business culture with extremely great level of freedom that I have not seen anywhere else.

By freedom I mean flexibility. In everything. We do have a 9-to-5 working time range (actually 8:30 to 6), but people are not required to be present in the office at exactly that time. If we come late, we leave late. We can even work at home in case the weather is terrible with heavy rain and storm (which happen a lot during summer in Vietnam). There is no dress code, no suit and tie. There is no boss going around checking if we are coding or are i-messaging.

Yes that sounds like an easy job and all and AhaMove is a disordered company, but it’s not. We can go to work late, dress in sweatpants and t-shirt, and even i-message all day if we want, but at the end of the month we still have to deliver the work we were assigned earlier. We still have to make presentations for our boss (yes we also have a boss), submit reports, and, in my position, provide useful and crucial business insights through several projects.

What distinguishes AhaMove as a tech startup from other traditional companies is its work culture. As long as the working results are guaranteed, we don’t pay much attention to the process. Such great working freedom allows any quality employees with any working habit to adjust, work and strive in the company. In fact, it is even more difficult than the traditional rigid working culture, because we have to control our constant temptation to procrastinate and slack off and to focus on our job.

I personally love this working culture at AhaMove. Thanks to it I have had chances to work better (since I can adjust my schedule to my habit), develop more skills, and deliver higher quality of work. I have also learned how to control my mind and have better concentration, since I am constantly surrounded by distraction and have no supervisor around. Surely this has been one of the biggest benefits I have had working here, at a young startup like AhaMove.

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