The studio behind the Deus Ex prequels, Guardians Of The Galaxy, and Shadow Of The Tomb Raider are taking a bold step in an industry known for overworking, and switching to a four-day workweek. Eidos Montreal say salaries and working conditions will remain the same, they'll just close the office on Fridays as everyone goes from 40-hour weeks to 32-hour weeks. The idea is that with more downtime to unwind and live their lives, people will work better during those reduced hours. Alright, everyone else do this too, thanks.
The four-day week is an increasingly popular concept, though we haven't seen it implemented much. The thinking is that when employees have more time to themselves, they're grinding their minds and bodies and lives to shreds less, so they'll be more productive during the hours that they do work. Trials in Iceland were declared an "overwhelming success", with productivity improving or at least remaining the same in most workplaces. And, y'know, employees were glad to grind their minds and bodies and lives to shreds less.
"The idea is not to condense the working hours into 4 days, but rather to review our ways of doing things and our quality time invested, with the aim of working better! Above all, we want to increase the productivity and well-being of our employees," Eidos Montreal studio head David Anfossi said in the announcement.
"Concretely, we want to reduce the time at work, but increase the quality of this time invested, whether it's on a team-basis or for the studio as a whole. A promising right balance for everything!
"We want a real collaborative aspect so that the teams contribute to the transition, each one working to define the parameters and criteria for success for the organisation of work and deadlines. We hope that this will eliminate unnecessary time and build on efficiency, for example by reducing internal meetings from one hour to 30 minutes."
A three-day weekend AND shorter meetings? What a life!
The change is coming in the next few weeks. They're also doing this at Eidos Sherbrooke, a nearby research and development studio. I hadn't heard of them but ooh their projects include real-time morphing of environments and surfaces, and using AI and machine learning in world generation and rendering. Anyway, back to the matter at hand.
Several indie studios already run on a four-day workweek, including Mutazione devs Die Gute Fabrik and Bugsnax gang Young Horses. A big-budget studio like Eidos Montreal doing this is another matter. I hope this inspires others to at least consider it, especially in an industry which often treats people as disposable.
The Scottish government are planning a trial of the four-day week and I'd like to point out hi, I live in Scotland, hello, pick me. A group of Irish businesses are planning a pilot scheme in 2022 too. The Belgian government are also considering a four-day workweek, though their plan would be to scrunch the same 40 hours into only four days. Many other businesses and governments are having discussions about four-day weeks, but many seem to be waiting for clear proof of large-scale success before going against convention.Disclosure: I'm friends with the CEO of Die Gute Fabrik, Hannah Nicklin, who has also written for RPS.