Posted by: Tj'ièn | January 10, 2010

Fun in fun out

Fun in fun out is a very simple work policy based on no-nonsense every day logic. If people have fun working on a project, the end result of the project is going to be more fun. But in a world filled with deadlines and stress, how can there be room for fun?

I believe that a company – especially a company in the creative industries – should invest in facilitating fun for its employees, wherever possible. Facilitating fun at work is a powerful tool and depending on the way it is facilitated can have enormous benefits for the company, to list just a few key areas:

  • Fun motivates personnel
  • Fun stimulates creativity
  • Fun leads to new projects
  • Fun leads to profit
  • Fun leads to cooperation

There is of course the risk that the work environment turns into a playground when implemented carelessly. Therefore the fun that is facilitated should correlate to the core business of the company and its every day routine. Fun should be regulated to be appreciated.

Fun in fun out is a way for a company to harvest the enormous creative potential that its employees possess. In our industry it is not uncommon for projects to last a year or several years, several years that very creative people work on a single thing. The people working on these projects have brilliant ideas – almost every single day – and most of these ideas can not find a home in the current project, but could benefit the company if they were given the room to develop those ideas.

If a company would sponsor this creativity – these dreams – then it would not be lost, but would be fed back into the company. Employees would appreciate that they are allowed to chase their own dreams, which is the very reason they started working at this company in the first place! All employees have opinions, ideas that this or that could be done in a better way, in a more efficient way, in a more fun way. Fun in fun out gives them the chance to proof it.

I believe that if Playlogic Game Factory should adopt the Fun in fun out policy it would create a unique work environment within the game industry. Playlogic Game Factory could be known for its stimulation of creativity, instead of being just another game company.

To that extend, some initiatives and ideas already fit into the Fun in fun out policy, like the game room, the team drinks at the bar, the movie nights and the PlayDays events.

The PlayDays events in particular already provided tangible proof that the Fun in fun out policy works. PlayDays have led to much enthusiasm within the team but –maybe more important- have also played a big role in SCEE’s interest in our studio and their trust in our ability to deliver two new and original IP’s for their most important platforms.

But these initiatives were not part of a company vision, but initiative from employees. Just imagine if they were part of the company vision, part of the company policy. Than it also becomes a powerful tool to attract new personnel and gather interest far beyond our nation’s border.

Below I’ve described some suggestions that fit into the Fun in fun out policy.

Playtime

Playtime is a fixed time period each week that allows Playlogic Game Factory personnel to work on their own projects. These projects are only bound by the fact that they should have something to do with games, game development or Playlogic Game Factory. Other than that, everyone is free to do whatever they want. Some would like to do some research, others would like to create their own games or prototypes and whilst others may want to help them. All is allowed.

Playlogic Game Factory sponsors the Playtime by paying four hours a week to everyone that wants to join. It does so by allowing its personnel to work each Friday afternoon on personal projects. Project management will take into account that this period is reserved for Playtime and tries to do its best to keep this time unoccupied. It does, however, have the right to deny Playtime – on occasion – when deadlines need to be met.

Playtime does have a few rules:

  • Playtime is not obliged, if you do not want to, you don’t have to
  • Playtime is only available to Playlogic Game Factory personnel
  • Playtime does not have a deadline, projects can take as long as they need
  • Playtime allows individuals as well as groups to work on projects
  • Playtime is sponsored for four hours, therefore Playlogic Game Factory is owner of all projects
  • Playtime is regulated, meaning that employees need to ‘log-in’ to Playtime via Intranet and is regarded as normal work time
  • Playtime projects need to be announced when started and stopped to the Playtime manager
  • Playtime projects can be denied because of lack of relevance by the Playtime manager
  • Playtime projects need to have a tangible end result
  • Playtime is not free time
  • Playtime projects are presented during team meetings when the participant things his/her project is finished
  • Playtime provides the same facilities as normal work, so feel free to use Logix, Unreal 3, PSP-devkits, etc
  • Playtime participants do not disturb other personnel
  • Playtime allows challenging of current company projects

There are high expectations of Playtime, especially considering the success of the PlayDays event. Playlogic Game Factory expects the following results of Playtime:

  • Game prototypes (playable and non-playable)
  • Research documentation
  • Short movies
  • Images, concepts and ideas for new game projects
  • New technology
  • Complete surprises
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