You may think that sounds crazy, but how many hours of dedicated, actual work do you do in a week? If you work a "9-5" and are reading this comment at work right now, I can give you a hint: it's not 40 ;)
I think we'd all be less distracted and more focused if we forced the "week's work" to happen in 2 , 8-hour days, and we could feel less guilty about not being perfectly-oiled constantly productive machines for the remaining 5/7 days of the week.
Or if you can cherry pick, go into management consulting - you'll be able to squeeze so much more out of everyone who still works full time by telling them to only do productive things at work.
While we're at it, we can tell people who gamble to only go to the casino on the days when they win.
So, by removing the expectation that you have your butt in a chair 8 hours a day 5 days a week, the new model is "get everything you were already painfully stretching across 5 days done in only the time it actually takes (2 days), and let's all go home and enjoy the free time we otherwise would have spent scrolling on our phones under florescent lights and quickly tabbing back to Excel when the boss walks by."
I truly do believe 95% of office-based business would get the same "amount" of work done in this system.
I think the more important thing is that the remaining "buffering" time is still necessary to extract that amount of productivity.
In the context of tech-based work, If pay is based on productivity, then those two hours should be paid the same as 8.
I think tech companies are realising that it's paying for performance that matters; not paying by time. In many cases paying by time doesn't make sense. If you have an idea in the shower, does that count as working? If you going for a walk prompts a better idea, does that count as working?
If we could find a VC with too much money and a gambling problem, I'd be happy to simultaneously start competing companies in the same sector; my employees can work 4 days/week and yours can work 2 days and we'll see how each business does ;)
Isn't that a bit of a tautology? :P
(I kid, please don't kill me VCs)
A related question is does the working capacity "charge" over the course of one evening + sleeping or does it require more time? If the answer is "more time", as I suspect from the fact that most productive days of the week usually are after the weekend, a good strategy indeed would be to just do all the work we can do (which is maybe 10-20 hours) in two days and then recharge for five days.
Acting like unproductive hours are some random result goes against loads of companies who have been doing actual trials of 5 => 4 day weeks. Having time off is actually helpful, and the sort of procrastination from dissatisfaction/exhaustion/whatever that leads to this can be helped by this kind of stuff!
"Why is it 4 and not 3 or 2 or whatever" I mean it probably depends on people but TGIF is a saying for a reason
I would love less than a 40 hour work week where the effort is more concentrated, but after a certain point you just can't expect full productivity in a shorter space of time.
I'm a night owl and I really hate getting up early.
Early in my career when I was working in digital advertising I had a job where I tried to argue with my employer that while I'm coming late to work I never refuse to stay late hours or work through weekends when jobs needs it. Unpaid overtime mind you. They didn't understood. Instead they preferred - at least they thought they preferred - seeing me at my desk from 10 to 6, because that's what they were paying for. After 18 they were leaving the office and not knowing what I was doing they just assumed no work was done. Probably. Actually couple of jobs like that.
Those were small shops.
Recently I worked for bigger corps and (un)surprisingly the patter repeated.
Instead of agreeing on me showing late to the office but willing to stay late if there was actual work to do without getting any compensation my managers preferred me to get to my desk by 9 and sit there till 5 even if there was nothing to be done.
Another recent situation was when I was responsible for architecture and setting up a team for a fairly complicated project. I like to think on my feet so I was spending a lot of my time in quiet corridors of the office or in cafeteria trying to figure out how to make things going. My managers were furious at me for not sitting in front of my desk and I repeatedly failed to convinced them that neither my job description, nor my current position requires me to sit in front of my keyboard at all time to complete the tasks I'm facing.
I agree it's stupid, but we can't deny that it's sad reality for many people out there.
I don't like this attitude as it implies "reading" isn't work. The role of a "knowledge worker" is to find and generate new ideas and implement them. Hacker News is regularly filled with good articles and commentary about the tech space - and is something I encourage my team to follow.
Its not uncommon for there to be articles directly related to our tech stack. So yeah, even if you aren't pushing code for 40hours, doesn't mean you aren't "working" that whole time.
That is, I think the flexibility is more valuable than concentrated time off. It enables me to follow the flow of life.
I'd be happier working 40 hours in 3 days.
I’m not working for free so when I hit 35 hours I stop paying attention to it.
There may be some jobs that are slugging away at a big block of work and you could do it any time during the week. Part of some of my jobs have been like that, in fact that was software development which was part of the role, but not all of the job.
Not saying it's valuable in a world sense, but for the objectives of the machine you're working in, it often is.
my personal theory is that all uncertainty ultimately is derived from the weather and cascades down. that is, even if you eliminated inattention, carelessness, tardiness, and laziness and what not, the weather would inevitably cause accidents and other unpredictable things.
as a result much of the time people spend is actually just waiting around for other people.
Once or twice a year there is an "all hands on deck" emergency, and I will work a day or two extra. But those are the very rare exceptions.
My take is: I see colleagues do almost  the same amount of work, but because they are in the office all week round they are far more visible. I on the other hand am much more awake and energetic, and cost the company less € too...
Also I'm personally happy to work less. More time for side projects, hobby's, my family and people in general. I'm less stressed.
 (hard to compare myself with others in any case)
I need quality of life more than I need cash right now.
I'm 36 and my current gig offers 5 weeks vacation, and I just came back from 3 months (topped up) parental leave.
Life is too beautiful to work 5 days a week
The labor market isn't much of a market if you can't even do something as basic as decide how much you want to work.
The trick is to start working the shorter weeks and not ask for permission. As long as you fulfill your duties and are flexible when needed nobody will notice. No where in my employment contract does it say my ass needs to be in a seat for 40 hours a week so I have no moral problems with my arrangement.
I have to put down 7.5 hours a day, five days a week, and what I was working on for all those hours.
The fact I get stuff done twice as quickly shouldn't be a factor unless I choose to work 40 hours and do twice as much as him. Then I should be paid more.
I work at a company which doesn't have any hours in the contract. People are active from 10-7 in general. This is the time where you have most overlap with your team and usually you have some dependency on others. If you aren't available you are letting your team down and again - you'll be flagged for not meeting performance goals.
If there was some kind of common arrangement where employees could go to the beach or attend piano lessons or whatever, but check their phone once an hour and unblock everyone else, and always be in the office for the official meeting day, it would be a lot more palatable.
What you're describing is an organizational failure, even if that person were working 168 hours a week.
There are also better examples than "one employee with AWS credentials," and I feel we're bikeshedding on the specific bad example, rather than talking about the broader principle of coping with blockers when the team doesn't work the same hours.
I can offer 0.5oz beers and if no one buys them, do I conclude there’s no market or a broken market for beer?
I’m almost at the point where I’ll give them alternating Friday’s off individually. One person will get a Friday off, then the next Friday the other employee, etc etc.
It’s slow for us.
Just tell me what we need to get done, I’ll do it, remotely of course. I’ve had various companies expect me to work extra hours for no additional pay , while never offering an extra day off.
Hell , I’d be down to do a 80 hour week if I know my average week is only 20 hours
I read an article years ago from someone that tried it, expecting exactly what you're expecting, but they found that proportional of their working time that was productive was about the same.
It's not possible or practical for managers to monitor how much their reports spend time thinking. Also, most managers understand how much secondary work takes up people's time and gets in the way of the primary work. I.e. Managers aren't really in a position to question how much time it takes someone to complete their work.
Shifting to a 4 day work week is simply codifying a practice that has been routine for some time now.
> In the next few weeks, the Montreal and Sherbrooke studios will be officially closed on Fridays, without changing the working conditions currently in place nor the salaries of employees, thus switching from the 40-hour week to 32-hour.
The real question is: are they changing the deadlines? Studio already suffer from crunch and all the meetings you had on Friday are now spread throughout the week
Exactly. I don't work in the video-game industry, but the local (Québec) programmer scene is pretty small and information travels fast.
I've been told by people that work there that the employer already pays the equivalent of a 4 day week and that many employees are quitting now that WFH has opened up the market.
My personal understanding is that instead of increasing the pay, they are betting that by cutting a day, people will stay and keep the same level of crunch time.
How's the option package?
A credible company will have most employees in the core business getting the majority of their revenue from the stock performance. Switching to 4 days a week should lower the number of release they can have per year...
In my time in that industry the only bonus/non-salary compensation I ever saw was a $20 Starbucks gift card for pulling a 90hr week before a major demo deadline.
1. Video games are really hard and costly to make and unless you're a big known company, nothing assures you'll get your money back
2. It's a dream job for a lot of young programmers, so they'll accept anything.
On an annual basis some internships are better paid. Where do these folks hire?
People do it out of passion, I guess. It’s funny too because the work is usually significantly harder than the much better paid start-up/SaaS jobs.
Everyone has college degrees, there’s no C++ bootcamp grads
I went to a school which was well-known for its game dev degree so I know dozens of people in the industry (mostly everyone works at Ubisoft) but opted out myself because the pay was way too low
Tons of fun problems and passionate people but the industry is an absolute meat grinder. Last I looked at the statistics median industry career length was ~3 years.
I could look into remote work but I am quite confortable where I am. I love the 35 hours workweek, the 21 days of paid time off, the week and a half around Christmas, my private office with a marble window sills (that I will use only 2 days a week when the telework plan is finally officialized) , the 7 minutes commute, the low cost of life and my beer aficionado colleagues.
Glad they’re making this change, looking forward to reading an update next year.
> without changing the working conditions currently in place nor the salaries of employees, thus switching from the 40-hour week to 32-hour.
All companies I have known with bad hours have also officially had 40 hour weeks.
I do believe (and hope to be correct) that many gamedev studios are getting much better, but there's plenty still to do.
Sentiments seems good but I’m skeptical.