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View Full Version : Be smarter at work, slack off


Chapt0r
03-17-2006, 09:44 PM
Interesting article for creatives....

"We want to take as much hurry and worry out of people's lives as we can, because a relaxed state of mind unleashes creativity," says Stacy Sullivan, the company's HR director. "And everybody's on flextime here, so we don't reward face time or working super-long hours. We just measure results."

http://money.cnn.com/2006/03/16/news/economy/annie/fortune_annie0317/index.htm?section=cnn_topstories

Keiphus
03-17-2006, 09:49 PM
Great article... especially for this industry, haha.. funny, I posted it on some other forums I frequent this morning, and I was gonna post here and then finally decided not to.

laureato di arte
03-17-2006, 10:05 PM
Great article... especially for this industry, haha.. funny, I posted it on some other forums I frequent this morning, and I was gonna post here and then finally decided not to.

It must be true, when i am at work i have come up with my most creative ideas, to pass the time. Im always drawing scribbling reading comics, ect , that is why callcenter jobs are good for me

DangerAhead
03-18-2006, 01:51 AM
The article failed to mention Thomas Edison'sor Benjamin Franklin's work ethics.

Edison only ever slept for 2 hours at a time. And look what he produced in his lifetime.

Franklin worked for 16 hours a day, but started each day with 1 hour of reading for himself followed by 30 minutes of preparation for the day (created a list of to-dos for each day).

I don't feel creative when I'm tired. But I usually discover the answers to my problems about 30 minutes before bed time.

itsallgoode9
03-18-2006, 03:00 AM
i believe in this 100%.....the way I work is to take about 10 minutes out of every hour to surf the net or grab some food or do somthing else...keeps me from going insane and gets me away from my work so I can see the flaws when i come back to it.

If i'm tired while i'me working I take a nap. Working while tired produces bad results for me and slows time down, so I figure i'll sleep and do work when i'm productive. No reason working for 3 hours but really only getting 1.5 hours worth of work done because i'm unmotivated and yawning my ass off. Might as weel refresh and do 3 hours of work when I will actually get 3 hours of work done. I'm doing freelance currently so i have that luxury, but it's unfortunate one can't work like this at a business.

graphix19
03-18-2006, 05:14 PM
Great article...
I usually spend a good hour on the net before I even think about anything at work. I usually follow that up with a couple of orbitz games, those guys are geniuses :)

Per-Anders
03-18-2006, 08:31 PM
The article failed to mention Thomas Edison'sor Benjamin Franklin's work ethics.

Edison only ever slept for 2 hours at a time. And look what he produced in his lifetime.

Franklin worked for 16 hours a day, but started each day with 1 hour of reading for himself followed by 30 minutes of preparation for the day (created a list of to-dos for each day).

I don't feel creative when I'm tired. But I usually discover the answers to my problems about 30 minutes before bed time.

I believe the point is about flexibility. As they said they reward results, not work methodology. There is nothing to say that any of their artists cannot work a 20 hour day if that is what it takes for them personally, but that such a work ethic won't be suitable for everyone (and nor should it ever be enforced on anyone) never assume that what works for you will work for others.

The article slant however was to take that concept and say flexibility = slacking off.

DangerAhead
03-18-2006, 09:51 PM
I suppose it's all in your "Point Of View."

If you're a studio/business owner and you see all your creative staff surfing the net, playing games and taking naps... you might be inclined to fire them. I would. But if I saw someone sketching something non-work related or practicing ZBrush, I wouldn't mind because it's skill-related. I all depends on their output and speed. Time is money.

If you're a freelancer, you can do what you want. take a nap. put cucumbers on your eyelids. Play video games. It's your time and money.

If you work at a studio as a creative, I would advise against applying these ideas at work in plain view. We had a contractor we were paying HUGE $$$/hour and he would come in each day, walk around and chat with all the animators and read his email and then try and charge us for those hours at the end of the week... needless to say, we let him go right away.

The article has a lot of merit and having worked long hours I agree with a lot of it. But as an animation supervisor, I'd rather my animators fiddle with ZBrush as a break from working rather than play hackey sack in the parking lot.

I sound like an overlord, but when I see people screwing around I see money gushing out of the company bank account.

(...)
03-19-2006, 09:45 PM
The article failed to mention Thomas Edison'sor Benjamin Franklin's work ethics.

Edison only ever slept for 2 hours at a time. And look what he produced in his lifetime.

Franklin worked for 16 hours a day, but started each day with 1 hour of reading for himself followed by 30 minutes of preparation for the day (created a list of to-dos for each day).

Conversely, Descartes never got out of bed before noon, and he died on the one day he dedcided to get up early!

Wiro
03-19-2006, 10:35 PM
The article has a lot of merit and having worked long hours I agree with a lot of it. But as an animation supervisor, I'd rather my animators fiddle with ZBrush as a break from working rather than play hackey sack in the parking lot.

That's an unfortunate attitude. If playing hackeysack is what it takes for a person to relax and get creative again then you shouldn't put that person behind someone who prefers to spend his or her spare time ZBrushing IF the output of the day is the same. That's what we're talking about. You're measuring the process not the results.

If your contractor had delivered exactly what you expected would you still have fired him?

Wiro

EvilGnome
03-20-2006, 12:02 AM
The article has a lot of merit and having worked long hours I agree with a lot of it. But as an animation supervisor, I'd rather my animators fiddle with ZBrush as a break from working rather than play hackey sack in the parking lot.

I sound like an overlord, but when I see people screwing around I see money gushing out of the company bank account.

Gotta keep in mind that sitting in front of a computer all day is very, very bad for you.

Hourly breaks and physical activity should be compulsory to not only freshen creativity but stave off physical ailments that would otherwise distract your workers and contribute to sick days.

So *more* sitting in front of the computer(Z-brushing) as acceptable break time isn't recomended.

DangerAhead
03-20-2006, 08:39 AM
...That's what we're talking about. You're measuring the process not the results...


I agree about getting away from the computer. I need time away right now. God, I need to engage in physical activity! I don't know why I'm typing this right now except to help balance out the conversation. A good work ethic and a good play ethic go hand-in-hand.

So, Wiro, I agree and disagree at the same time.

Weare measuring the process and the results. The two are linked to the success of every profitable studio. Therefore to the longevity of the studio. And therefore every job at that studio.

So I can't agree with the article in every respect. Because it's difficult to start, and keep VFX Studios open and profitable. You have keep the pipeline filled all the time. If you read Cinefex 99 & 100 there's a lot of great advice from VFX pros about how to run a studio. Most agree keeping a core group of people full-time and being able to ramp up when the time comes with good reliable artists. And if you can't achieve this process then you'll lose money.

When we're talking about process, this is the process that I'm talking about that's important.

Against that backdrop, every animator hired can help make the process work or help drag it down.

if you're core group (with contractors) always deliver wonderful creative animation on time, then your process works and you have nothing to complain about! You're doing it right. Hackey sack tournament in the parking lot! Halo tournament in the lounge! Reward yourself.

BUT if you can't find the key persons to outfit your studio, then the process falls apart and the whole studio can tank. Hackey Sack tournament cancelled. Studio locks doors. No rewards.

Like I said above, it's all about output (results) and speed. Every animator is different in every area. Our studio is small and requires Animators with a lot of areas of experience to make the studio/business work.


If your contractor had delivered exactly what you expected would you still have fired him?

Nope. But he didn't.

In this particular case, the contractor was a concept artist, expensive, and the output (without getting into specifics) was sub-standard. So his part of the process was suffering many iterations, we fell behind, and we began to suspect he was milking the contract. We ended up losing money on the project. So he got let go.

And the things he did that detracted from his performance (email, chatting, etc.) during his stay made him look bad. Had he delivered, they would have been overlooked.

It boils down to having key individual animators that help the process along. They can slack off all they want if they deliver excellent work on time and under budget.

Now I have to go do some yoga. I'll read the flames later.

Wiro
03-22-2006, 01:09 AM
Weare measuring the process and the results. The two are linked to the success of every profitable studio. Therefore to the longevity of the studio. And therefore every job at that studio...

...Now I have to go do some yoga. I'll read the flames later.


No flames here, you're absolutely right and it seems we were both talking about the same thing. Finding a balance between worktime and relaxtime and also trusting your employees enough not to take advantage is the hard part :)

Wiro

CaptRuss
03-22-2006, 03:48 PM
The concepts in this article, sadly, are utterly irrelevant to the big studios in the CG biz, mainly because they are the big ones. Workers burnt out? Let em go and hire new ones! After all, no shortage of folks wanting to work at ILM/Sony/DD etc. No incentive not to squeeze em down to the last drop. Then, when they've decompressed.... hire em back, and do it again.


I honestly don't see this changing.

Emmanuel
03-22-2006, 04:07 PM
Whenever I felt I had a block in my head at work, I would just get up, go to my co-workers, look over their shoulders for a couple of minutes, get myself a cup of coffee and stare out the window.Maybe 15 minutes every two or three hours.Of course I felt the mean looks of my boss (not the co-workers who all had their own way of relaxing), but he didn't have those mean looks when we stayed 14 hours for days and weeks, including weekends, so it was more like "You take a bit, You give a bit".
And while I was taking those time outs, my thoughts actually always circled around the problem I was to solve at my job.But its hard to explain business oriented guys that staring at a white canvas (or not-so-perfect animation or model) doesnt always solve a technical or artistic problem, while looking out the window for 10 minutes can.
I also took the liberty to come in an hour or so later next moring after two or three days of 14 hour shifts (having had a nice breakfast with the family again).
The thing is: if I do my best, and if I work as fast as possible, and the boss keeps on making everybodys life harder by negotiating deals that are impossible to do, I have nothing to feel ashamed about, its not my fault, I am only human and not a machine, and I am not going to sacrifice my mental or physical health, not even for the job I love, because it won't be rewarded, except for the reward I get through my work :)
If I am replaceable, so be it.I have but one life and one body.

slaughters
03-22-2006, 04:49 PM
Measure results - not hours.

Give a team a project and a deadline. If they never come in, spend time surfing the net, whatever - then who cares if they still make the deadline? Just make sure the dead line is realistic (not absurdly short nor absurdly long)

Tracking hours as a means to measure accomplishments is a tool created by untalented middle management types who lack the ability to lead a team successfully.

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