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GDC survey finds 35% of developers say their productivity is better from home

Continuing to kick the myth about remote work

As we've already seen several instances of so far, attitudes about remote work have been shifting in the games industry since the Covid-19 pandemic forced a work from home lifestyle last year. Multiple companies have since instituted permanent work from home policies, such as Square Enix and Hi-Rez Studios, after finding that the setup was working well for them.

According to this year's GDC survey, many developers personally feel that they're doing well working from home. A total of 67% of the more than 3,000 developers surveyed feel that their productivity has been the same or better since working remotely.

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"How do you feel working from home has affected your creativity and/or productivity?" is the specific question from the GDC survey. The proper breakdown on those numbers is:

  • Greatly increased - 15%
  • Somewhat increased - 20%
  • About the same - 32%
  • Somewhat decreased - 24%
  • Greatly decreased - 8%
  • N/A (Not working from home) - 2%

Compared with the GDC survey focused on Covid-19 impacts from last summer, that's a pretty decent jump in outlook. The percentages from last summer, in the same order, were 8, 24, 27, 32, and 9. Put another way, last summer only 59% of developers felt that their productivity was the same or better, versus 67% now.

GDC sums of the remaining difficulties with remote work saying, "common answers had to do with family-related distractions, endless Zoom meetings and difficulty in team communications, self-motivation and loneliness, and maintaining focus."

As for whose opinions are being surveyed, GDC breaks down the size of studios that developers work with. A total 20% work at a studio of 500+ employees while 13% are 2-5 employees and 19% are solo developers. The rest are somewhere in the middle. A majority 57% were from North America and 26% from Europe.

It's a promising shift, I'd say. After over a year of mostly remote work, it's good to see that developers on the whole are feeling better, not worse, about how it's going.

If you've curious about the full report with other statistics on platform preference, VR development, crunch work and more, you can download it from GDC's site by providing your email and details and all.

GDC is online this year, if you'd not heard. It'll be running from July 19th - 23rd.

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Lauren Morton