At Amazing Workplace, we study what makes work feel like it is worth doing. While it may seem hard to nail down what makes a workday amazing, there's no mystery here. There are key, identifiable components. We could list them out in general terms, but we want to do something more entertaining.
Let's look at some of the most important elements in a great workday, and turn them into a story. Our fictional heroine, Pam, works at Manatee Games as a designer and animator.
Knowing What you are Going to Do
Pam is ready for work at 7am on a Tuesday. It's a little early but she's not worried. At the end of the previous day she looked over her progress, checked her calendar, and reviewed requests from her team. She used all of that to create a daily plan for today.
Pam knew yesterday that she would need to create rough sketches of a new character for the Art Director, Stanley. She has to show them at a meeting at 10am. She also knew that she would need some time to test new animations before the developers load them into an update at noon. So her daily plan shows in the morning that she'll need two hours to do the sketches, one hour to test the animations, and 30 minutes for her meeting at 10am. She's going to enjoy her lunch at 11am knowing that those tasks are done. The daily plan also shows that she'll two hours in the afternoon animating new sequences and one hour preparing an art compilation for Erin, the director and lead designer. Finally, she noted an appointment at 1pm for her team meeting.
Standing in her kitchen with a little early light shining in the window, Pam she pours coffee. "Let's get to work, fuzzball" she says cheerfully to her cat, Dwight.
Having What you Need
Pam's works from home, so she heads to the extra room in her house where she's set up her office and she sits down. Manatee Games provided her with an adjustable-height desk, a nice office chair, and a powerful computer. She feels happy at her desk because she can sit comfortably and get a good view of everything without getting neck or back fatigue. Pam puts on her headphones. These are also provided by the company and they have a nice microphone and studio-quality sound. She requested this specific set because she often has to pair animations to sound effects, so she needs to hear very clearly. The good microphone allows her to use the same set for all of her calls with teammates and leaders.
Pam takes a sip of coffee and starts creating the sketches for Stanley, "boy" she thinks "it's nice to have everything I need." She speeds through the sketches and starts testing animations. Thanks to her powerful computer, she makes short work of testing animations. This leaves her with extra time, so she goes out to water the flowers before her meeting with Stanley.
Meeting up With the Team
Pam meets with Stanley via video. He likes the concepts in the sketches and he asks for a few alterations for the final version. Pam makes a note of his request so she has time on her daily plan tomorrow to make the changes. Stanley also asks her, "Do you need anything? How are the animations coming out? Any concerns about making the compilation for Erin?" Pam and Stanley talk for a while and he gives her a few helpful pointers. He also agrees to get her a new piece of software she wants to try out that may really speed up her work. "Great work this week!" Stanley says, before the call ends.
Pam feels really supported and valued after talking with Stanley. She makes herself lunch and handles a few chores around the house. Getting back to her desk, she sees that her tested animations are done and she makes a quick call to the lead developer to make sure he likes them.
At 1pm, Pam calls into her team meeting. On this video call everyone's face is showing, except Jim (he is picking up his kid from daycare but he didn't want to miss the call.) Someone mentions that it's Tuesday so they want tacos. A lively debate starts about where to get the best tacos. After 5 minutes of this, Stanley jumps in and says "hey does anyone need anything from me?" There are still some giggles and taco puns, but nobody needs anything, so everyone jumps off the call. Pam loves to see her teammates, even if the puns are terrible.
Getting Things Done
Pam is an afternoon person. She cranks up her favorite music and gets to work on the art compilation. She takes a break after about half an hour to dance with her cat. After an hour, the compilation is done, and she really loves the 50 still images she's picked out. She sends the completed work to Erin. Then she grabs a snack from the kitchen, turns off the music, and switches over to creating new animations. Pam is really creative so making all-new animations is one of her favorite things to do. She makes one new animation with their main character throwing lightning bolts from a sword. She likes this animation so much she shares it in a message to the other designers. Her coworker Jim loves the lightning animation and he says it makes him wish he could shoot lightning too.
Pam is so into it she loses track of time! It's already 4pm!
Fortunately, Pam is ahead of the game. She did everything she planned for the day. She decides to use her extra time do something cool for Jim. She takes a video of him playing golf from his social media profile. Then she animates it, showing her new lightning effect as Jim's club strikes the ball. She shares this video to her design team. Jim is delighted and asks if he can repost it. Stanley says he wants his own next. Several people call Jim "Thor of the Country Club."
Celebrating the Wins
Pam wraps up her workday by preparing the next day's daily plan. Each daily plan includes a list of things she's done today. She notes she did the sketches, the testing, the new animations, and the art compilations. She also writes that she "turned Jim into Thor." She smiles as she realizes what a productive, awesome, fun day it has been. She can't wait to see her new animations in the coming update for the game. In fact, she thinks it's about time to quit for the day and play some games.