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Unlimited games, arcade: Timezone office effective at keeping employees happy – GM | Philstar.com
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Unlimited games, arcade: Timezone office effective at keeping employees happy – GM

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo - Philstar.com
Unlimited games, arcade: Timezone office effective at keeping employees happy â GM
Timezone Philippines staff and officials with TV host Regine Tolentino (top). Guests playing arcade by the bowling lane at the recent branch opening in Robinsons Galleria.
Philstar.com / Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

MANILA, Philippines — Good news to today’s gamer generation: there is an office in the Philippines where arcade games are not only free but are unlimited and are actually part of the job!

Family entertainment center Timezone, which originated in Perth, Australia in 1978 and has expanded in seven countries including the Philippines, boasts of a 2, 200-square-meter workplace with a 150-square-meter play area that is almost like one of its 105 stores in the Philippines – complete with arcades and games for all employees to enjoy – anytime and for free!

“It’s meant to mimic a store, so all the fit-outs you see here (in a Timezone store) is also part of our (office),” Raffy Prats, President and General Manager of Timezone Philippines, shared in an interview with Philstar.com.

“For the staff, yes,” Prats said when asked if their employees are allowed to play the arcades unlimited and for free. 

“They get to play billiards, ping-pong, they get massage for the massage chairs. Karaoke, pinball, basketball. It’s just free play."

Although their employees are allowed to use these leisure facilities anytime and they work on flexible workhours, Prats assured that the employees don’t abuse and don’t just play all the time.

“Generally, if it’s work time, nobody wants to use it (games) kasi nahihiya sila (because they feel shy to do so),” he enthused. “But during lunch time, break time, after office, you’ll always see our staff, our team members playing.”

Having a store-like setup in their office, said Prats, has so far been effective in keeping their staff happy and productive.

“Yes, we have a very low attrition rate. So people stay with us generally for many, many years. It helps,” he said. “Sometimes when I go home at 8 or 9 o’clock, they’re still playing.”
That kind of workplace setup, he said, also makes it easy to hire more staff.

“And also, with that kind of an office, it also helps attract top talents also. We’re expanding our hiring everywhere, so from marketing to operations, IT (Information Technology). So we’re able to get the best talent possible because we work in a nice setting, I guess,” he explained.

“So they arrive and see that we have good facilities, they have fun with their training. So it helps get them motivated and excited.”

Stronger after COVID-19 pandemic

Robinsons Galleria branch party area (top); limited-edition prizes in the prize shop.
Philstar.com/Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

The company has come out stronger after the COVID-19 pandemic, Prats declared.

“I guess, being close for 20 months and then reopening, people were very excited to come back. So we saw that – there was a big spike after the pandemic and after we reopened.”

Proof of the brand’s stronger performance is the recent opening of its biggest store in Ortigas business district, located in Robinsons Galleria. The approximately 1,000-square-meter space offers roughly 75 games, including bowling, virtual reality, party rooms, a prize shop, “a good mix,” said Prats. 

About 90% of this new branch has brand-new games, he said, and a third of which are from China, another third from the US, while the others are from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and a couple of Belgian games – Wizard of Oz and Willy Wonka.

About 90% of this new branch has brand-new games, he said, and a third of which are from China, another third from the US, while the others are from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and a couple of Belgian games – Wizard of Oz and Willy Wonka.
Philstar.com/Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo
Among the most popular games from all of their 105 stores nationwide, Prats said, are the Snapshot photo machine, bowling, and all games with plush toys.
Philstar.com/Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo
Plush toys are also guests’ favorite prizes, as well as food items that can be redeemed with just low ticket value, said Prats.
Philstar.com/Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo
“In general, ticket games are very strong, because when you play and get tickets, you can redeem from this Prize Shop, so people can get something back from playing here," according to Prats.
Philstar.com/Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

The Fairview Terraces branch, so far, is the company’s biggest local store to date, with with over 2,000 square meters. But before this year ends, it will be rivaled by a newly expanded store in Trinoma, which will double its size and will also have all of the brand’s arcades and attractions.

Moreover, the company mulls opening new branches in Gateway Mall 2, SM North Edsa, SM Southmall, Marquee Mall in Pampanga, Greenhills and Cebu. Next year, they are also planning to open more stores in provinces and renovate their Subic and Bacolod branches. 

What makes the brand unique and outlast competitors is by evolving into a multi-attraction venue, Prats vouched.

“We’re generally bigger than our competition because we bring in more attractions. Like the bowling we have here, it’s from the US… In other venues, we also have bumper cars, we also bring in karaoke booths. We have a billiard area, a ping-pong area. We have large party booths. So that makes us different from the competition.”

Wherever they are, the brand makes sure to hire people from the local communities they are in.

“We try to hire people who live near the store so they don’t have to spend so much time in traveling, commuting. And less transpo expenses. That way, they get higher take home pay.”

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