Are you having enough fun at work?

The atrium of AirBnHeadquarters

Is the power of play really a significant driver behind company success?

Image: Atrium of Airbnb headquarters, San Francisco

Nowadays, if you’re hoping to impress your start-up team with a ubiquitous office ping pong table / hammock / ball pool, think again.

The trend that started with Silicon Valley start-ups like Google and Facebook shows no signs of abating, with many more traditional companies now hustling to jump on the bandwagon.

Are efforts to make workplaces ‘fun’ simply expensive but token attempts to boost employee retention’? Or is the power of play really a significant driver behind the success of companies like Netflix and Innocent Smoothies? We examine the pros and cons behind reinventing the workplace with these high-profile examples.

Adobe climbing wall

Pros: Relieving tension with a cigarette break or trip to the coffee machine just doesn’t cut it anymore. Software developer Adobe has installed a professional-level climbing wall at their office HQ, enabling their employees to blow off steam, dare-devil style.

Cons: Calloused hands at your next presentation, and the threat of falling off a high wall in front of the colleagues you’re trying to impress, while Gary from accounting chuckles down at you from above.

Airbnb Irish pub

Pros: The fully decked out Irish pub in the reception area of accommodation giant Airbnb has become a thing of legend. Designed to bring a sense of Irish hospitality right into the workplace, it aligns perfectly with the brand’s friendly vibe.

Cons: Breakfast margaritas at a Monday morning review might seem like a good idea till the numbers get a little blurry.

The full version of this article appears in Issue No. 2 of ALHAUS magazine.

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