All work and no play makes the devs dull people. Let's discuss how our workplace culture can boost creativity and support our well-being by letting us focus on interesting things during work. No, I'm not going to wear you down with hours of keynote slides. Here's how we do it.
At Paytrail development team members take turns in organizing a common event called Freestyle Friday four times a year. We come to the office like usual but instead of diving into business-related matters we start playing with our own hobby projects. Throughout the day one might familiarize themselves with a new programming language, tinker with Hue lights, or even create a PICO-8 pixel adventure game. Additionally, we can team up and implement some interesting features to our core service that we don't have time to work on during other days.
Those who have finished and polished their work can present it to the rest of the company. Exceptionally well crafted projects can be rewarded financially especially if they have direct positive impact on business. Free lunch and beverages are brought into the office, and it's more than likely that we throw an afterparty later at night.
Below is a good example our architect created on last Freestyle Friday. It's an Arduino clock built inside an IKEA frame expressing the current time with verbose notation.
Finnish text in the video translates as "sixteen past eleven".
For me these days are valuable because they help me detach from my regular routines, and through constant learning I'm able to leverage more creative solutions to problems. But how is it done in your company? If you're a manager or run your own business how do you maintain your employees or your own creativity?