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How do I get the staff at my start-up to stop playing Ping-Pong and get to work?

Dear Urban Diplomat,

I recently got a job managing a young development team at a start-up, and the office is awesome: we have catered lunches, a nap lounge, a games room—pretty much everything short of a slide. Problem is, the perks are getting in the way of actual work. Every time I try to book a meeting, my team seems to be playing Ping-Pong or getting an in-office massage. How do I tell them to grow up and get to it? Or am I just in the wrong office?

—All Work No Play, King West

Cracking down on office fun will make your brogrammer subordinates blue—and maybe even less productive. Recent studies have shown that brief breaks, like 10-minute power naps or jam sessions, can boost focus, memory and problem-solving skills. That said, it sounds like your employees are taking one too many siestas on the company beanbag chairs. The success of the Google-esque creative workplace model depends on staff who aren’t feckless layabouts, so set some limits on playtime, reward the achievers and be prepared to sack the deadwood if they don’t step up.

Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at urbandiplomat@torontolife.com

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