The 40-hour, five-day work week is something of a de facto standard for a lot of office jobs, but the COVID-19 pandemic shifted a lot of business’ thinking on how to operate safely. One such adjustment was made by Fortnite developer Epic Games, which had granted its employees every other Friday off. Recently, however, the studio decided to rescind this policy, claiming that “many people were not benefiting from this policy equally” and that the measure was always meant to be temporary.
However, a survey of 581 employees found that 93% called the alternating Fridays off “extremely beneficial,” and almost 90% of employees said they wanted to keep Fridays off as a standard; only 61% of respondents said they felt worried, guilty, or stressed when taking separate vacation days.
Devs at the studio reportedly filled an internal Slack chat channel with pleas for management to reconsider the decision, as many of them found the alternate Fridays off to be recuperative to their mental health, allowing them to be better employees and better parents.
An Epic Games spokesperson told Kotaku that the company would be replacing alternating Fridays off with a new policy of no work meetings on any Friday, describing these days more as “unstructured” time to do existing work. The spokesperson also cited the fact that employees already get extra time off four weeks out of the year, when the studio shuts down for two week breaks in the summer and winter. That said, it does bring up a question that has been spreading across the games industry and offices overall: whether a 32-hour work week can be just as productive as the old standard.