A Chengdu IT company is breaking the traditional rules of the office with its "love-growth fund" and paid leave for employees going through breakups.
The two-year-old firm produces online gaming software, and during certain projects, working overtime is a normal state of affairs for its more than 60 employees. So much so that they often sleep there, not returning home in days. Suffice it to say, their social lives have suffered.
From Chengdu QQ:
Yesterday, the reporter went to the company's offices and found that it had a very "homestyle" ambiance. On the tables in three of the conference rooms were mosquito racquets. During the day, these are conference rooms, but at night they become "dormitories." On every employee's desk are washcloths, toothbrushes, and cups, and underneath every desk are boxes holding a pillow and blanket. In the corner of the office is a quiet square of green—comprised of army cots!
It's already been several days since employee Li Jiatuo has gone home; she eats and sleeps in the office. "Luckily my boyfriend is abroad; otherwise, with my work like this, the two of us would have broken up already!" But for many of the employees, most of whom are in their 20s and single, such concerns are not even on the agenda.
The company's "most eligible bachelor," a 28-year-old who believes in a "one life, one love" philosophy, started working at the company more than one year ago. Since he's began, he says, he's never had time to find his "true love." "Most nights I sleep at work, and I pretty much never go out on the weekends," he said.
Indeed, most of these young software engineers say that the partner they spend most of their time with day in and day out is their computer.
The company's head of marketing, Gao Jie, is the office's only married woman in her 30s, and she's well-liked by the other employees. But she worries about the fact that so many of her colleagues are single and don't have time to go out and meet their "other half."
But two of her colleagues gave her an idea.
Xiao Meng, 23, works in operations and met Xiao Chen, who works in research and development, at work. Fearing that their budding romance would be exposed and they would be forced to resign, the two began dating in secret, going so far as to avoid each other in the office. Still, word of their affair spread around like wildfire. It had never occurred to Xiao Meng that the news would not only be well received by her colleagues and boss alike but that the company would fork out the money to put on a KTV party for all the staff to wish the new couple well. These days, the couple says, they don't mind putting off vacations since they can work overtime together.
Gao Jie was very happy when the formerly always-single Xiao Meng and Xiao Chen started dating and told her boss that workplace relationships should, in fact, be encouraged. After the heads of the company discussed this proposal, a new company policy was announced: In case any more employees of the company become a couple, the company will, at year's end, begin a "love-growth fund." If such a couple marries, they will be presented with a portion of the fund at their wedding.
On top of that, the company also announced that any employee who has recently broken up with their partner may apply for three days' paid leave. If employees are forced to come in during such a time, their productivity is low anyway, explained a manager. Over 90 percent of the employees said they were very much in favor of this new rules.
Some employees, however, question this move. The managers dismiss their concerns by saying that fostering relations among employees can increase productivity, since most of the employees spend all their time in front of a computer anyway.
An HR consultant agreed with the managers: Because the employees at this company are around the same age, work in the same field, and spend most of their time together, they should have a solid common ground upon which to foster potential relationships.
An HR survey showed that 50.72 percent of workplace romances have succeeded while 49.28 percent ended.