In an industry known for grinding workers to dust even when not subjecting them to institutional discrimination, good news is always welcome. Armor Games, a browser gaming titan of yore and more recently a conventional PC publisher too, have announced they're switching permanently to a four-day working week of 32 hours. They join a small but growing group of companies in switching, most notably Eidos Montreal who announced last year that they were going to four-day workweeks. Alright, who's next?
Armor Games were best known for publishing browser games back in the day, including the game which inspired Angry Birds, Crush The Castle. They're still doing browser games but have moved into publishing regular PC games too, including Nauticrawl (made by Spare Parts Oasis) and Jet Lancer (by Code Wakers).
Their CEO, John Cooney announced on Twitter yesterday that after a three-month trial, Armor have decided to permanently switch to a shorter four-day week. He said that their latest survey showed "100% of employees felt their productivity was the same (or better) than a 5-day workweek," while 87.5% were "ready to implement the workweek permanently". I believe he's only talking about a survey size of eight people but hey, it's still good to hear.
Support for a four-day workweek is growing, with several countries and industries running pilot schemes. One in Iceland, which ran for four years, reported most companies found productivity was the same or better when people worked only four days while still earning the same pay. You know, because people work better when they're happier and less stressed because they have more time for themselves, their friends and families, and their lives.
Eidos Montreal, the studio behind Guardians Of The Galaxy and the Deus Ex prequels, made the switch last year. A number of indie studios have previously gone four-day too, including Mutazione devs Die Gute Fabrik and Bugsnax studio Young Horses.
The change does bring some issues, mind, especially in working with the rest of the world. When Armor decided in November to extend their trial, Cooney noted a number of problems. Some employees needed to check in on critical items on Fridays. He also said QA cycles "feel much less flexible to 4-day schedule than other disciplines", though they would working on that. While evidently the trial continued well after that, their process isn't yet complete.
"We're still working through challenges," Cooney explained in yesterday's update. "The world still works Friday (and Saturday and Sunday), some processes don't see the productivity benefits of a short week as much as others. The team has been patient and pragmatic, acknowledging issues and helping to work on solutions."
He says that while he's working on a longer recap (which I am eager to read once it's done), "the one takeaway I'd surface right now is that there probably isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to rolling a 4-day workweek: every company carries a different culture and flow that needs to be central to its rollout."
Alright, so let's have more companies figure out how it works for them—and then share that knowledge. The more who switch, the easier it becomes for the rest.