All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. While this may be the same hackneyed proverb heard over the years, its relevance is abundant in today’s time. Not to be preachy, but, one needs to take one’s mind off work at times, to get back to work with fresh ideas. That is one of the reasons why you will now see reading rooms, gyms, cafeterias, “chilling” areas, indoor games and lots more side-by-side the workspaces in big corporates. With tight deadlines and tremendous work pressure, recreation has now become important to animation and VFX studios as well. While the studios may not be having game zones, they do host various activities round the year so that Jack does not turn into a dull boy. India’s Green Gold Animation holds at least one event or activity every month. Some of these include Diwali party, Garba party, table tennis/badminton tournament, Antakshari competition and fun dress up days. “Bommala Koluvu” is their traditional toy display during Dusshera where in all the toys exhibited are hand made by the employees. The company’s HR department is responsible for the planning and execution of all of these, with inputs from managers and artists taken from time to time. “We are aware that they (studio members) spend a major part of the day at work and with each other. Good relationships with each other help bring out better work,” said Green Gold Animation HR head Nageswari. “Everyone here are artists and a good environment is necessary to keep stimulating their creativity. For all of these reasons, we keep an active social calendar.” One event particularly of notice is the cricket league that India’s Green Gold Animation holds annually. Green Gold Premiere League (GGPL) is an IPL-format inter department cricket tournament that the company organises. The tournament spanning two months with 15 teams going against each other is Green Gold’s most popular event of the year. The tournament time is decided by three factors – work pressure, project delivery dates and weather conditions. It has varied from year to year; last two years, it was held from December through January. And currently, the matches for this year’s league are going on. The league is managed in-house, and the matches are held in nearby cricket grounds. A small employee committee is created to take care of the organising part. All the arrangements, from renting the cricket ground to umpiring, purchase of equipment, trophies, managing match schedules, hosting a dinner party for final match etc. are made by this employee committee. The teams have their own designed and customised jerseys. The matches take place in the evening, for five hours straight. “One of the great things about playing cricket in the evenings is that our regular office work doesn’t get affected,” stated Green Gold Animation CEO Rajiv Chilaka. He added, “We have about 600 people working in Hyderabad and many times they don’t know each other and during this time they get to meet and interact with more people. Cricket is a team sport and our teams are formed department wise to teach the members that they need to work together to win a game..and the same continues at work.” The idea to organise various activities throughout the year is the product of Green Gold’s management philosophy – a happy person is a productive person. “Also we have high respect for an artist,” added Nageswari. “Hence employee engagement and good floor environment are very important to us.” “Work pressure and stress is an inevitable part of an animator’s life. Creativity takes time and perfection needs focus. Sports competitions such as GGPL act as natural painkillers. The physical activity during these events produce happy hormones decreasing overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilise mood. Cricket is perfect anti-anxiety drug,” said Pramod Patil who heads the BG department. So what kind of change is experienced at the studio? “The production floor is definitely more cheerful and energy levels seem higher,” Nageswari exclaimed. “Even with all the teasing that goes around different teams, there is camaraderie and good bonding. Also we always see that post GGPL seasons, there is a lot more rapport between the old employees and the recent joinees. Productivity also has bumped up post the season.” “We have always seen new ideas or new IPs being born around the months of December-January and it’s probably because everyone is working together and are stress free,” Chilaka highlighted. Considering that the league is now going on, all eyes will be on the studio. Can something be expected to pop up post the event?