Indie studios set the example with 4 days of work a week

Indie studios set the example with 4 days of work a week

The pandemic has had all kinds of impacts on the gaming industry. The most significant in terms of development is the shift towards working from home. BioWare, for example, has just announced that it will adopt alternative forms of employment, but independent studios have gone further by adopting a four-day workweek.

Independent developers are leading the charge for the four-day work week. The goal is, above all, to protect the mental health of its employees. Armor Games has just announced the transition to a four-day workweek after a three-month trial period. CEO John Cooney pointed out some of the difficulties with this move, describing how “the flow of a 32-hour week is different. Establishing that ‘this may or may not go well’, along with team-wide communication, check-ins and fine-tuning, was critical to making it work“. He said the change resulted in a significant improvement in the work-life balance of his employees.

Cooney said the first two months “caused additional stress for people as they had to re-calibrate how their weeks unfolded“, but noted that most employees quickly adapted to the new schedule. “People were taking classes, spending more time with family, doing all the weekend chores, expanding their hobbies, or just totally relaxing.Cooney said.On Monday, everyone comes to work ready and fresh“.

Related: Eidos Montreal switches to a 4-day work week for the well-being of its developers.

This comes on the heels of Kitfox, Young Horses and Outerloop having all successfully implemented a four-day workweek. Big studios like Square Enix, which recently announced its transition to this model, have taken note and followed suit. But there have been setbacks. The first studio to adopt the four-day workweek, Ko_op Mode, ended up having to go back in order to meet schedule and deadlines. However, the company plans to make it a temporary measure. “There was a lot of resistance to going back to five-day weeks“, said the Community Manager, Marcela Huerta. “Many of us said: ‘this is not something we want to do’. We had become accustomed to four-day weeks. They were very helpful for our mental health“.

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Cooney said that Armor Games has gotten used to the fact that most of the world “still working on fridays“but he still trusts the model. Although some parts of his business “don’t see the productivity benefits of a short week as much as others“said the four-day week was the “great leap we wanted to take“.