[From the industry] New research highlights flexible working is key to employee retention

This is a press release posted in addition to our usual editorial content.

The games industry is gradually heading back to the studio or office, but after an extended period working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals are now looking for permanent flexibility in working conditions going forward.

That’s the clear conclusion of research conducted by leading European games industry recruitment agency Amiqus, which surveyed over 400 professionals about how lockdown has affected their working lives – and their attitudes to their careers going forward.

The shift to remote working back in March 2020 was, of course, a huge one. But, importantly, 82 per cent of respondents said that their productivity levels have remained the same – or increased – while working from home.

The respondents also highlighted the key benefits they’ve enjoyed while working remotely:-

  • Saving money on commuting – 83%
  • Enhanced work/life balance – 73%
  • Spending more time with the family – 61%
  • Taking up new hobbies/pursuits – 40%
  • Easing childcare challenges – 26%
  • Opportunity to change place of residence – 25%

Some 20 months after the initial pandemic lockdown, 58 per cent of respondents are still working at home all week. Meanwhile, 15 per cent are hybrid working at their own discretion, and 13 per cent are back in the studio/office all week.

Of those who are still working from home, 23 per cent don’t expect to be back in the office/studio this year. Meanwhile, 16 per cent are never going back to the office, with their employers having given them the opportunity to continue working remotely. And a further 9 per cent are never going back to the office because the companies have made their job fully remote.

Lack of flexible working is a deal-breaker for many

Going forward, of those who have stated that they don’t currently have their ideal working conditions, 79 per cent said they are currently considering, or are possibly considering, a career move to achieve those goals.

Significantly, 41 per cent said that they would not consider a job in the future if remote working wasn’t an option. Some 32 per cent said they would “possibly’ consider a job under those circumstances.

“The workplace has been shaken upside down over the past 20 months, since the start of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions. But it’s clear to see from our survey that there have been some positives for many respondents and a new way of working has emerged,” said Amiqus’ Business Manager Liz Prince.

“We know that the UK and other parts of Europe have seen a gradual increase in working hours, and long commutes have been a part of life for many professionals. And in games, ‘crunch’ has become a huge problem – and one that is still an issue for many individuals working in the industry.

“The games industry – like many other sectors – adapted very well to lockdown, and the ops and IT teams at studios and other companies are to be applauded for managing the transition.

“For employees, it’s clear that there is a demand from many to continue with the flexibility that the last year or so has afforded them. And from the feedback we see on a daily basis from candidates, benefits such as remote or flexible working are now seen as ‘must haves’, rather than luxuries.

“The removal of the daily commute, the opportunity to spend more time with family, an easing of childcare challenges – and, importantly, an enhanced work/life balance – have meant that many people are now looking to continue with this new progressive way of working.

“There is something to consider here for all studios. It’s one thing to carve out a flexible working option for your current team which hopefully will enable you to retain your existing talent. Those are the lessons we’re learning from the survey.

“However there’s more to think about when it comes to attracting new people to your studio.

“Offering a fully remote option is the only way to maintain the widest possible talent attraction strategy. Any hybrid or flexible working model which means people spending time in the studio on a regular basis will still only generally work for those who are within a commutable distance. If someone is further afield and they’re required to be in the studio with any regularity, then it means time away from home and family, or they relocate. If relocation isn’t an option, and they don’t want to, or can’t, spend time away from home, then they won’t be able to consider your opportunity.”

“We recognise that for some studios and other companies, full remote working for their staff may present some challenges. But, from our experience and the outcomes of the survey, it’s clear that these are challenges that are worth working on to rethink our workplaces and working models from the ground up, to help to retain and attract the best and most diverse team for your studio.”

About Chris Wallace

Chris is MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer, joining the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can regrettably be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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