I am making a statement to the public....
At TSSC or any company I run in the future:
We will never have slides, ball-pits or any other item which should remain in a children's playground.
I know you would think that this would come from the mouth of a Baby Boomer CEO, but I am a Millennial. I also run a Social Media Marketing business which means that I should strive for this type of environment...but it just isn't me.
Now just to clarify, I am not speaking about perks such as relaxed working attire or flexible working patterns here, these are great benefits to the modern workplace. What I am speaking about is the bizarre cultural push to turn our office environments into glorified playpens which you would find attached to the side of a bowling alley. I think this shift started in Silicon Valley, but the idea is spreading across the globe.
Whilst I have massive respect for the dot.com innovators and it's second wave, I have also looked at the Silicon Valley model of business in the context of what it is: one model out of many as to how to grow a tech/digital business. It is not gospel. You do not need to be part of a Y-Combinator funding programme to make it (I started my business with nothing but a laptop and a phone) and you also do not need to create an environment where we pretend to be children all our working day. Life is not all fun and games and an office should reflect that. I also think I speak for lots of my peers (18-34-year-olds) when I say that many of us do not really work more productively in the type of environment seen below either:
It's Just Work... Not The Source Of Your Existence
Even the most loyal employee from the best organisation in the world really would rather spend time not at work. Sorry HR professionals, but for the majority of people, work is a means to an end and the endless pandering to make it anything more than that is just a waste of time.
I take a realist approach to hiring. I understand that jobs are no longer for life and technology is allowing all of us to become more fluid in our careers. Therefore I like to develop an honest relationship between myself and my team.
I want my staff to come into work with a mission to accomplish a task in a professional, modern and adult environment. I would like them to do their contracted hours and then have a healthy, happy life outside of work. I would also like them to respect the company they work for but not obsess over it and have their rights and obligations clearly defined to them. We both understand that work is not always going to be fun and that it will require moments of hard work and discipline. This is just simple stuff in my mind because there is a clear divide between employer and employee and that divide helps both parties. For example on first sight "unlimited Holiday leave" may sound great, but on reflection, it is a terrible move for any employee to sign up for.
In this setup, an employee completely loses leverage when he or she does not have a set amount of days to claim. If management says no to a lengthy request under the relaxed, unlimited policy, then there's not much the employee can do! A worker with a set amount of time off can always go with the but-still-have-a-week-left-this-year line.
Our company works with FTSE 250 Finance institutions and Compliance software organisations - how well do you think a meeting at our offices would be received if I turned up sliding down into a multi- coloured ball pit and offered them a pint of overpriced local beer from our inbuilt tap?
What does everyone think? Am I too cynical?