Employees and staff of Epic Games are currently angry that the gaming company has revoked its alternative Friday vacation policy. The company instituted the bi-weekly Friday off policy in the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic, and employees have gotten so used to it that they want it to remain. But the company said the reprieve was supposed to be temporary in the first place.
“Right now, we are seeing lots of Fridays off for deep work, and lots of people who must work Fridays anyways,” Chief Operating Officer Daniel Vogel wrote to staff. “This meant that many people were not benefiting from this policy equally.”
Although Epic Games usually has two weeks breaks for summer and winter – a total of four weeks holiday in the year – employees said they are so used to the alternative Friday offs. The company management said employees and contractors can always take time off on their own schedules and that it has the best interests of employees at heart.
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeny said the company posted gross revenue of $5.1 billion in 2020. The company’s Fortnite game is one of the most popular in the world and is updated twice every month. Several employees said the company remains profitable despite the other Friday holiday for most staff members, and that the bi-weekly vacation helped them to cope with family challenges.
A survey of 581 employees conducted by Bloomberg revealed that 93% of Epic Games employees want the other Friday vacation to be permanent. Given the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the crucial need for social distancing, many tech organizations embraced remote work for staffers while others shortened the number of times employees reported for work.
A number of studies prove that employees are more productive and rested when they work 32 hours per week instead of the usual 40 hours. Eidos Montreal, a gaming firm that is about to launch a new game premised on Guardians of the Galaxy, said they will soon implement a four-day workweek. Young Horses, the company that produced the Bugsnax game, already switched to a four-day workweek.
“The perceived gain simply can’t compare to the actual evidence of what we have already achieved over the past 18 months, which is more than anyone else in the industry could ever hope to achieve – all with alternating Fridays off,” an Epic Game staff wrote on the company’s Slack channel.
A number of staff said they were able to visit the doctor, play with family, and improve their mental health during the alternative Fridays off. “Epic is the best studio I have ever worked for,” one employee wrote. “But I simply don’t understand this decision.”