The developer behind the upcoming Homeworld 3 and Hardspace: Shipbreaker, Blackbird Interactive, recently announced that it would soon be implementing a four-day workweek. This comes in the wake of several other studios making the same move. While most of these have been independent developers, a couple of large companies have also been changing their policies.
Blackbird Interactive made the decision to adopt a four-day workweek after a three-month trial period. This turned out to be so successful that management decided to make the policy permanent. Employees at Blackbird Interactive will be working each week between Monday and Thursday going forward.
Workers were asked about their experiences before, during, and after the trial period. The results indicated that 89% of them benefited from improvements to their overall wellness, 90% of them believed that employee retention would increase, 91% of them enjoyed a better work-life balance, and 100% of them said they preferred the new policy.
The leadership seems to be implementing the policy through example. “One of the key pieces to all of this is that our leadership, whether it’s studio or per team, has to set the example,” Blackbird Director of Operations Katie Findlay said during an interview. “So, if your manager or producer is coming in and obviously working on Friday — answering emails and all of that — then me if I’m, like, a junior programmer, I’m going to feel the need to do that as well.” Findlay went on to say that “we’re really doubling down on messaging to our leads to make sure they’re modeling behavior they want to see.”
Blackbird Interactive is only the latest company in the games industry to give its workers an extra day to themselves. Crows Crows Crows for example embraced the four-day workweek in 2020. Kitfox made the move in 2021. The developer behind Bugsnax, Young Horses, followed suit shortly afterwards.
Crows Crows Crows, Kitfox, and Young Horses are all independent developers, but even big businesses like Square Enix have been embracing the four-day workweek. The studio behind the recent Deus Ex games including Human Revolution and Mankind Divided, Eidos, decided to make the move last year.
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