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Making people like coming to work is a tough challenge. Making people be productive, happy, "I'm more then willing to stay here all night if that's what it takes" type people is probably not something most companies would consider worth dreaming about. But in a world of grey there's always got to be someone wearing a red hat. Muvee, have a hat on, they want you to see them, they want to be distinctive.
Having grown from just 8 people in a matchbox five years ago, this new media company is now 80+ and continuing to grow at speed. You may have met them in the form of video editing software; they work with big people like Nokia and Sony.
To house all their highly talented and hard working staff they decided to move offices and this is where they began to change the scene a bit. Muvee has developed an office for the people that work in it - they asked everyone what they wanted and largely gave it to them.
The new offices include games rooms, cinema, American style diner, many many Fatboy bean bags, steam shower, focus group suite and a war room, where company strategy is concocted amidst fake guns and camouflage gear.
Chief Operating Office Phil is very clear that this is about the staff, helping them work effectively and creatively. Everyone was asked to personalize their space; they got a budget and few rules. Nobody has worked out why, but the engineers have developed a kiddy style area with ABC matting and bouncy balls.
What's surprising is that this is happening in Singapore, what's not surprising is that it's happening in Bugis. Singapore is not the first place you think of when considering enlightened and modern working practices. Most office bunnies are in your regular cell come cubicle, working out how long they have to stay before it's OK to be seen leaving.
Many employers are not counting the real costs of not keeping people happy, as well as productivity levels this is about recruitment and retention. For Phil he can already see the impact it's had on keeping good people in the company. Having invested training and recruitment time and money you don't want to loose people as soon as the 13th month bonus is out.
In true entrepreneurial style Muvee designed and project managed the whole project and did it all in just 6 weeks, under budget by 40%. Their customers are already impressed with the results, as are the staff that after it was all over got to evaluate the results.
With people's jobs pretty much being their entire existence this form of working environment is likely to become increasingly popular. Enabling people to be in work longer hours, whilst maintaining a sense of enjoyment and satisfaction throughout. We are finally growing up, realising that as companies it makes sense to look after the ones who make you the money. And as employees more and more people are choosing where they work not purely on the dollars but on the ethos, the way a company treats them.
Muvee have shown how the product you create and the brand values you profess to have, need to be part of how you work. Being about new media, personalization and expression they had to allow these elements to come alive in their office and in their people.