Why the CEO of Basecamp only allows employees to work 32 hours a week

This CEO only lets his employees work 32-hours a week

While many people may think that getting to the office early and staying late is the best way to win over your boss, Basecamp CEO Jason Fried makes it clear that working overtime is not the way to earn recognition from him.

Fried sticks to a strict 40-hour workweek, and prides himself on ensuring that his 56 remote employees have well-balanced lives that don't involve working around the clock. In fact, the CEO tells CNBC Make It that during the months of May through September, a strict 32-hour work week is enforced at his company and employees only work four days a week.

"People are always surprised by that," says Fried, "and I tell them you can get plenty of stuff done in 32 and 40 hours if you cut out all the stuff that's taking up your time."

Self-made millionaire: Working too hard is not the cause of burnout

Unlike many companies who rely heavily on standard meetings for team communication, Fried says there are no mandatory meetings on the schedule for Basecamp employees and that any meeting that does take place is coordinated according to the personal schedules of the individuals involved.

The Chicago-based CEO says the few meetings that do occur are limited to a small setting with few people involved.

"I can probably count on one hand how many times we've had a meeting with more than four people," says Fried. "Less people helps a meeting to move a lot faster."

These women left their high-profile jobs to sell skincare for men

Basecamp's customer support team lead, Chase Clemons, says that while limited meetings and a short work week may pose as a challenge to some, it actually helps him to do his best work.

"Thirty-two hours forces us to prioritize what we work on," Clemons tells CNBC Make It. "It's not about working faster, but rather working smarter."

While late nights and early mornings may be the recipe for success at many companies, especially in tech, Fried credits Basecamp's strict workweek as key to a healthy company culture.

"If you're overworked and tired you make mistakes, and mistakes are costly," says Fried. "If [companies] want people to be sharp and make fewer mistakes you can't work them 60-70 hours a week."

Like this story? Like CNBC Make It on Facebook

Don't miss: The 20 best companies for work-life balance

History of the 40-hour workweek