Your programmers are artists, and you should treat them as such
You are baffled by that title, aren’t you? Maybe you shouldn’t, the truth is not all that complicated! Without giving it much consideration you might be thinking that since you’ve hired people with technical degrees, individuals skilled in programming, not painters after art school, that we’re talking gibberish, that we’re ludicrous. The thing is, we’re honestly not, let us explain.
The fact that your employees don’t come to work with paintbrushes in their pockets doesn’t mean these people aren’t the creative types, quite the opposite. Writing code is a form of art, and every application, every piece of software is a painting, a song, a poem. Developers don’t just mindlessly slap their keyboards and out comes a string of text that can be compiled and run on some hardware. See, the subject is more delicate, and the reason QA department is seen as an enemy by your .NET department originates from devs’ perception of their software as works of art, masterpieces in some cases. Writing code is, simply put, creating, making something from nothing, carefully balancing elements together, putting ideas into action, and this is no different than composing music, painting portraits, or writing poems.
Now that we’ve established who developers actually are, it’s time to answer the why. Why are we explaining that point of view? Well, dear reader, since you are the employer of those people, there’s a takeaway for you in this piece. It is crucial to understand the needs and boundaries of the people that work with you. Deadlines are the bane of our existence, we set them for a reason, but sometimes they just can’t be met. When one lacks inspiration, nothing of value will be created, no matter how important it is to submit the project by a given date. Instead of punishing your employees, you will gain more by stimulating their creativity and providing with ways of letting go of the stress.
Give them a gaming console!
If you think spending lunch break on playing a match in Fifa is a waste of time you are just wrong. This short period of being completely immersed in the game is perfect for programmers of your company to relax, unwind, and boost morale. 15 minutes of social activity of such kind will allow your employees to come back to their desks with fresh minds, and with smiles on their faces.
Allow them to take a nap.
What? Sleeping at work should be shamed! Well, no, it should not. Even a good 15 to 20 minutes of napping can help recharge the batteries and stay alert and regain a fresh mind. That short of a period should not lead to transitioning into stages of deeper sleep thus, after waking up, any feeling of grogginess will not be a problem. You, as an employer, might consider equipping your office with a hammock or two for a comfortable resting area.
Don’t look down on your employees for leaving early.
If that particular piece of code needs more effort than a regular task, it might be simply a better idea for your developer to go home and work in a more comfortable environment where inspiration flows naturally. As long as the goals are met, with some obvious exceptions, place of their completion shouldn’t be that crucial.
Working for ChallengeRocket.com I have the possibility to stay at home and do everything I normally would do in the office, which is extremely thoughtful of my boss :) Being employed while getting a degree requires compromises and I’m glad to have that comfort. Even before my journey with this startup had begun I was fortunate enough to have had an internship in a company which encouraged people to nap and play games in order to create a friendly and welcoming working environment.
Dear reader, dear employer, dear human. Be kind to your developers, they are delicate creatures that crave coffee and peace. If their flow is interrupted it’s best that you let them rest and relax in any way they see fit. After all, a happy worker is a productive one!