I Wonder Why They Try To Motivate People With These…

Some companies seem to try to reward workers by buying some crap to them. I read some article somewhere about saying how employees could play table tennis at the workplace. It was mentioned how motivated the workers will be when they have these sort of fun toys to play around.

I kind of disagree.

To me this sounds like “working feels horrible, so lets ease the pain with something else”. I think the focus should not be on purchasing tennis tables (or whatever stuff). Focus should be making working fun. If you feel great to be able to work and have really interesting tasks, you really don’t need external toys or rewards (they can be nice addition, but not really necessary). The work in itself is so rewarding that you’d hate to stop working. (Money is needed for practical purposes, but if the work is really rewarding, having a big salary isn’t all that important).

The main goal could be to create such environment where people feel privileged to work. Whenever somebody is thinking: “I even get paid to do this which is odd since this really doesn’t feel even work to me!” he is on the right path.

In my pretty humble opinion, I think teams should focus on making the work feel a reward in itself. Buying stuff to reward somebody should come after that.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Also there’s the other thing, if a company has pool tables or whatever it might be the only sign to an outside observer that the company really cares about the employees and that it promotes good working conditions.

    Or it might be false advertising, simply a bribe to the employees when the working conditions really suck.

  2. We play Super Smash Bros (4 player) at BFG at least once a day. It’s a great fun break just to get you out of your chair and doing something else. It also boosts the team spirit. We also have bean bags to chill out in or for meetings, and we have a table hockey game too (hopefully we’ll get a pool table when our next game come out and totally rock).

    The job is great fun but still has some admin like all jobs. However, variation and an occasional change of environment is cool. I think that heading out for lunch is healthy actually so you can focus on eating and socialising away from your desk, especially when it’s sunny outside, but I don’t think I do this enough.

  3. I think it’s a good idea to have some ‘toys’ in the workplace. No matter how good a job is, you’re doing it every day for a least 8 hours. Especially in positions like code and art which require constant brain activity, a game like table tennis can help you reboot, or just get away from the screen for a moment.
    I’ve worked in places that have these little quirks (like pool tables), found we rarely played them in work time, they were more of a social spot during lunch and after hours. It actually kept more people in the building rather than heading out for lunch (which the company preferred).

  4. I think have other activities is a good idea. I don’t know if I’m like most people, but I can’t do one thing for too long. Even though I enjoy programming I regularly take a break and do something else. Having a physical activity like tennis is better in my opinion than sitting in a chair even longer, playing online games.

  5. I kind of disagree. Sometimes when things get really hectic, its nice to take a breather. In fact, I would say it does more harm than good not to recharge your mental batteries from time to time with some relaxation.

    Although there was one game company I could not take seriously, because it seemed that was all they were about. It took them 12 years (I’m not talking about 3D Realms, BTW) for them to get as far as the beta stage of the game. They came to an anime con and while they were fun to be around, all they did was laugh, joke and goof off. I asked them, “How do you get things done?” The president of the company said, “By coming in late at night.”

    I’m surprised they lasted this long.

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