A REIMAGINED WORKPLACE
Play’n GO is a digital-first company where employees have the Flexible Freedom to deliver results from a workplace that works best for them. With a global workforce of remote and office colleagues, Matt shares his insights about what connects us.
How would you define the “Flexible Freedom” that you enjoy at Play’n GO in three words?
Comforting, Needed and Valued.
Do you feel that you can shape your own day and still deliver results? How does that make you feel?
Having a flexible freedom is reliant on employees holding themselves accountable. And that is what I do every day. We are all adults and we don’t need babysitting. We have a job to do and it is down to us to ensure we deliver, regardless of where we are sat. It makes me feel accountable for my output, exactly as it should. And it actually drives behaviours that don’t only just apply to a work setting, but hold value in my everyday life as well; as I say, being accountable, but also responsible and communicative.
What are the challenges facing today’s remote workforce? How do you meet those?
The main challenge for many is just getting used to a ‘different’ way of working. It is suggested that ‘office’ working, in one form or another dates back to medieval times. Whilst remote working, in its current guise, is really only a few years old, and, with Covid, became a necessity in the last three years. So, the challenge is more around defining your own working day structure and not having it imposed on you. Which does take some getting used to. It requires discipline and being outcome-focused. At Play’n GO, the outcome is everything. Producing brilliant games is our business, and our teams have done exceptionally well to navigate a new way of working that continues to meet those needs. But I think remote working has actually increased ingenuity and problem-solving, making the pride in our output even greater.
Some people say they can get their best ideas while taking a shower at home. Do you think there is something about the comfort of home that helps ideation, creativity, problem solving?
Be it in the shower, walking the dog, going for a run, sitting and staring for a bit; how great ideas come about is never a concern of ours, as long as they do! I think the commonality of all those things is time and quiet. So yes, not being in a busy office is likely to help that. But, that isn’t to say that bouncing ideas off others, doesn’t also help. It is genuinely about finding what is right for you. And hopefully, our employees know they have the ability to pick and choose to work where suits them best. Where we don’t have offices, we can book office space, so everyone has the opportunity to get the best of both worlds, as they see fit.
What are the remote-workforce challenges facing management? Trust is one of our core values. How can you trust people to do their best when they’re working from home?
Whilst trust has always been a core value at Play’n GO, it can never have held so much resonance as it does now. In a remote environment, trust has to be given from day one, it is not earned. Hopefully employees don’t erode that trust through certain behaviours. And, as mentioned, outcomes are everything, and we trust our employees to deliver however suits them.
They used to say that a successful business depends on 3 things: Location, location, and location. If you’re not commuting to a physical office every day, how do you experience the pride, success, and professionalism of Play’n GO at home?
Things change. World events happen, that can’t be predicted. We can only look forward. So whilst location used to be everything, it simply isn’t now. We can’t look to the past for answers. We need to be forward-thinking and create new solutions. We use technology to communicate, be that video call platforms, messaging platforms, project management tools etc. They all deliver the collaboration that is needed. And, again, the outcome is everything. And the quality and success of the outcome is what delivers the pride.
Impressive results show that productivity has improved, and clients are impressed. But is there an aspect to remote work that you think needs more attention?
The main thing that needs a big focus is our employees’ mental health. Whilst remote working has major mental health benefits (no commute, more time to relax, setting up your own environment etc…), we also have to realise that isolation can be a real challenge. Whilst some employees have families and welcome silence when they can get it, others may not, and they would welcome a bit of noise and interaction. We do have a support line for people to access if they feel isolated, or are having issues, and that is of major importance, so none of our employees feel alone.
Are there careers at Play’n GO that still require hands-on, in-house, at-the-helm, day-to-day, 9 to 5, in-the-office attendance? How do they affect your job?
Being a digital organisation, there isn’t anything that requires that set up. But again, sometimes it isn’t about what is required, it is about what is wanted, so if our employees want to access an office or shared workspace, then they can.
How do you think a remote workforce affects our company culture? How do we keep a seriously fun office vibe without going to the office?
It’s simply about reframing our thinking about what ‘culture’ actually is. For a while, it was seen as ping-pong tables, slides, massive sofas and fruit as needed, in office space. But they were just practical things. Culture is derived from behaviours, personal interactions, respect, trust and desire to produce quality outcomes. We do all of that, regardless of where we are located. And that is the future.
When people mostly just see the texts that colleagues write, what is the best way to bring teams together?
Communication. If employees understand what is going on in the company, how we are doing, future plans etc, on a large scale, whilst meeting regularly with their team and collaborators on a smaller scale, everyone feels connected. Add that to messages, notes, project work documentation, and it provides that feeling of all contributing to the greater good of the company, which can only benefit everyone.