Insights from the SPARKFUL teams

Apply Playable Design to Work: How Does Fourdesire Beat Burnout at Work? (Part I)

Editorial Teamteam-updates

When recruiting new employees, we at Fourdesire would always ask candidates what’s their motivation to join the team. This question helps us not just focus on what employees can do for the company but also what the company can do for everyone.

While startups are widely thought to be vibrant and full of challenges, employees still can’t avoid feeling exhausted, confused, and inefficient when the company grows to a certain level. Some people call this phenomenon “job burnout”. Instead of eliminating or ignoring these warning signs, we believe it’s better to take a different approach and positive attitude towards this issue.

Over the 9 years since establishment, the number of coworkers at Fourdesire has reached 35. We have brought the playful spirit to management and process design by inviting the coworkers to take part in designing their own working styles, thus redefining the meaning of work.

The median tenure for managers and senior coworkers at Fourdesire is 6 and 4 years, respectively. In the next sections, we will talk about how we beat job burnout in 3 ways: giving employees more ownership over their work, creating strong bonds between coworkers, and self-improvement.

First tip, More ownership over work

A company that doesn’t trust its employees usually refuses to give them too much space or flexibility, hence suppressing their creativity and restricting their ownership over work.

“To reduce burnout on your team, give people a sense of control,” says Andrew D. Wittman, the founder of a world-famous leadership consultancy.

We use the following approaches to strike a balance between employees’ work control  and the quality of work.

1. Build trust from recruitment

We believe building trust with our future coworkers during recruitment is the cornerstone of teamwork. 

We turn interviews into a structured process using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) rule. In the last stage of the interview, also known as the “audition”, candidates and the team get to know each other through interaction, which makes the interview a two-way evaluation process. 

Learn more about our Recruiting Process

2. Let coworkers job craft

Take Fourdesire’s workflow for example. Team lead would provide  a clear request and expected delivery schedule; then under this scope, designers can finish their work freely. At the same time, the principle designer will provide general suggestions in a timely manner to help designers  find better solutions.

By turning the coworkers into active creators rather than passive executors, they are not just completing work but also creating work.

3. Break goals down to department levels to tighten the tie between employee and company

After conducting a thorough review using Spotify’s Squad Health Check Model, we realize the coworkers are not completely clear about their work and company goals, leaving them perplexed and confused.

 running Spotify’s Squad Health Check Model

The team is running Spotify’s Squad Health Check Model

Therefore, we have drawn up plans for the coworkers to communicate regularly with their department managers to make sure they are aligned with the company’s vision. We also use OKR to cascade goals down to department levels to help them focus on team goals, thereby strengthening the connection between their roles and the goals.

Want to know how to make work more fun? Find out more interesting approaches in the next article!

Related Post

Don’t Rush to Eliminate Tasks on Your To-do List. Use Fourdesire’s 4 Tips to Find Your Own Pace


  1. 世界衛生組織正式將職業倦怠列為疾病- 國際
  2. To Reduce Burnout on Your Team, Give People a Sense of Control
  3. 有效的人際溝通,從自我揭露與他人回饋開始
Editorial Team
Editorial Team
A group of creatures dedicated to cross-disciplinary thinking.
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