By The_Nubster 12 Comments
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who are willing to change and those who are not. People who are not willing to change do business the old-fashioned way, on old-fashioned hours and with old-fashioned rules. No going on Reddit or playing Flash games during work, keep your work and your hobbies separate, do your job the way we tell you to do it.
Those people are what I like to call stupid.
If you're alive and have once talked to another human being, you've heard the term "Facebook me" or "Google it", and that's not a coincidence. Both of those sites are massive money-machines, run by extremely smart people providing extremely smart services. Google is on top of the world (literally, it fought the Chinese government once), and Facebook is fast approaching. Two direct competitors, each forcing the other to innovate and pave the way for the future. What do they have in common though? Awesome work structure.
If you've ever been inside the Facebook offices, seen a video of what goes on in there or even if you've seen The Social Network, you'll know that the Facebook offices are not full of rules and regulations restricting you to your workspace and only allowing you outside during lunch hours. It looks like a really spacious college dorm room more than anything else, and that kind of comfortable atmosphere is proven to lead to higher productivity. After all, if you love your job, you want it to do well.
Google has the same thing going on. Here's a link with photos from both offices, and you can see that both of the offices are not what comes to mind when you think 'professional'. Google has a goddamn slide in their office. People are riding bikes around, or just sitting and talking, and someone's in what looks like a massive sound room just hanging out. Despite these places not looking like the epitome of usefulness, these are arguably the two most well-known companies of our day.
So, seeing that, why aren't all companies that deal in technology going for relaxing atmospheres like that? Obviously, most companies can't afford such massive, spacious offices, but that's not what it takes to create a relaxed atmosphere. Each day, Google has each engineer work 20% of their time developing their own ideas. That's a fifth of their working time that they are allowed to take a break and develop something personally (which has led to the creation of several other Google-owned services, like G-mail). It seems simple, really: do things to make people like their job.
Dyn Inc., in Manchester, New Hampshire has taken this in and decided to do something about it. Being a software company that supplies Twitter, Twitpic and Wikia, their employees have to know computers. And if you know computers, guess what? You probably like games. After seeing that their attendance plummets yearly when a blockbuster game is released, they decided to add an extra day of paid time off so you can indulge in your videogaming.
Yeah, I know, right? How great is that?
Small steps like these can go a long way to showing your employees that you care about them and their hobbies. Allowing people free time to pursue what they personally want is a simple way to revitalize and refocus a person, and a lot of old-fashioned businesspeople could learn from these Google, Facebook and Dyn, Inc.