Creativity is often about juxtapositions, contradictions, and finding connections between the seemingly incompatible and this concept is explored in Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's theory of "the creative personality". Csikszentmihalyi expressed that In order to be creative or foster creativity, you must have a number of ten various traits that he believed creative people must possess. One of his outlined traits and a factor that is often forgotten when creating a working environment is the ability to be playful, whilst still holding onto discipline.
Now, this may seem a tad contradictory but then again, creativity often is. The perfect balance of work and play must be found to foster creativity, yet when you think of the office environment, creativity is often the last thing to come to mind. This could be attributed to the fact that work environments generally aren't designed with play in mind.
Miles and the team are firm believers in a fun work environment. Simply looking at the quality of their work or any of their numerous awards displays that they are a hard working bunch but what sets the Bam Creative office apart is their ability to distinguish work from leisure, and to do so as a team.
Team building is an important aspect of the Bam Creative environment. When I started my internship, I was astonished by the sense of community at Bam Creative and the fact that they seemed like old friends rather than work colleagues. When discussing the topic with Miles, he expressed his hopes that Bam Creative would become an "extension of home" for the team. Plus, without the distractions of inter-team disagreements, focus can be primarily on producing the highest quality product possible.
The Bam Creative office reflects that attitude of thinking, and you can find a lot of fun and silly things lying around. A foosball table and the Nintendo 64 console with awesome games such as Mario Kart, being the most obvious. Upon closer inspection, you notice some more subtle items that allude to the Bam Creative atmosphere. For instance, A few Nerf foam darts litter the floor as evidence of what I am sure was an epic and valiant battle. Various toys can also be seen, such as the stuffed pink unicorn and my little pony figures found amongst the office foliage.
So evidently, the Bam Creative crew definitely knows how to have fun, but of course there's a bit of friendly competition in claiming the ultimate titles. Sure, there is The Most Efficient Worker, The Most Loved Amongst the Clients, but those are nothing compared to some of the titles being fought for here in the Bam Creative Office.
For instance, the current reigning champion of Nintendo 64's Mario Kart is Rob, who has no problem slinging a banana peel nor is he afraid of whom it takes out on the way. The holder of the "Undefeated Nintendo 64 Tetrisphere Champion" title goes to Patima, and when considering her job title, it makes sense. Laura currently holds dominion over the boys at the foosball table, despite their fabled attempts to cheat by flicking the handles.
Throughout the time I've been at Bam Creative as an Intern, I have had the pleasure of experiencing some of the activities they hold to benefit the team. On my second week, I participated in the creation of Bam Creative's version of the internet meme, The Harlem Shake. Witnessing people in costume and busting out their craziest dance moves definitely brings you closer as a team, in my opinion.
Leaving the full inboxes and ringing phones of the office and relocating temporarily to a more casual environment is often beneficial for team building. Occasionally the Bam Creative team will have a pub lunch together, most recently at the Hyde Park Hotel. Luckily in our building, there is the luxury of having a grassy balcony, and it's utilised for the weekly BBQ every Friday. It gives staff the opportunity to wind down, recap the week before and get ready for the weekend. So finding your own slice of heaven within the office is a viable option as well.
To wrap it up, creating a fun work atmosphere and focusing on team building is a wonderful way to improve the office environment. Too many people are stuck in jobs they hate or feel stifled by and it can be alleviated by incorporating some of the techniques previously mentioned. A happy and fun work environment can help increase productivity and reduce some of the risks associated with team project work, such as members leaving due to conflict. Taking these concepts in consideration can positively affect office culture, atmosphere and the work being produced. In the end, humans are social creatures and as the saying goes, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.