There aren't many companies that insist staff start work every day at such an oddly specific time as Pivotal Software. Employees at the US firm's 20 global offices all have to be at work and ready to go at exactly 9.06am. At that precise time a cowbell is rung, or a gong is hit, and all workers gather for a brief stand-up meeting that lasts for between five and 10 minutes. Then the firm's programmers hit their computers, with no other meetings or distractions for the rest of the day. Pivotal's founder and chief executive Rob Mee says it is all about making the working day as efficient as possible. But why 9.06am? "We thought that if we made it 9am, developers psyching themselves up for the day would think, 'well if it is 9am I'll be late,'" says Mr Mee. "So then we thought, 'why don't we make it 9.05am,' but that is too precise, as programmers don't like over-optimising, so we went with 9.06am. Then it became something fun." And at the end of the day everyone has to leave the office at 6pm sharp because staff aren't allowed to work into the evening.