How I hate that smug little cliché. It’s not even true. Try building an opera house in Antarctica. Try building another unnecessary business software package. Try building a new restaurant, religion, hotel, political party, mobile App. Come to think of it, how many things are there that don’t need to be announced or marketed? Very few.
I was thinking of this little saying last week, when, I finally found a colleague using our office’s relaxation area. We at LLP Group built this a couple of years ago when we moved to our new offices in Prague. Every IT company has to have a little bit of Lala Land where employees can relax, and be creative and cool. Indeed, it’s one of the first things that an applicant asks when he or she comes skipping in for an interview – ‘Have you got one of those, like, chillaxing areas where I can be creative and cool? And can I, like, smoke weed there?’ Yes to the first, and no to the second (well, actually no one has asked us the second question yet).
Every office must have its little bit of Lala Land…..
But you can build a bit of Lala Land and they still won’t come.
We made a special little corner containing ultra-luxurious items of furniture set in front of a lovely 1970s swirly psychedelic mural, and a vase with a dead stick in it, but they’ve been sitting there, enticingly, for nearly two years and I’ve rarely seen anyone using them.
Is it because I’m the boss, and they’re scared that I’ll think they’re slacking? I hope not. I encourage fun in the office – laughter, banter, joshing – all those things that make people stay and encourage creativity, and I trust that when hard work is needed, hard work is what they’ll do.
Is it because it’s not actually a very enticing offer? There’s no billiard table, no table tennis table, no slot machine, and certainly no ashtray.
Is it because it’s too visible? Everyone can see when someone’s in a chillaxing mood.
Who knows? But I was overjoyed, last week, finally to see my colleague Mario stretched out on the sofa.
And, just to show that I’m up there with the coolest in this respect, they have them at Virgin too (though their sofas look a lot less comfortable than ours), and I don’t think this young man was fired.