So in a work meeting yesterday, my team lead mentioned an expression that I really liked–”perfect productivity”. Headgate Studios is an independent third party game developer and we work with Electronic Arts. We often fight with EA about working overtime and crunching and it puts a lot of pressure on my project lead. The culture and quality of life at Headgate Studios is something we value and attribute to our great results and high employee retention rate. In order to create quality while keeping to a 40 hour work week, we try to work better instead of longer hours. “Perfect productivity” refers to eliminating distractions and working in the most efficient way possible. When I’ve worked this way, I always feel I’ve put in a good day’s work. When I don’t, I feel somewhat lazy and or dishonest. This doesn’t mean you don’t take breaks, just that the time you count as work really is good solid work.
So instead of crunching into the late hours of the night away from our family, friends, and hobbies, we opt for 40 hours a week with solid results instead. I’ll go into development processes and ideas about effective work methods in later posts, but I just want to point out a sad fact that people know that crunching doesn’t work, but they continue to do it anyway… out of fear and habit I guess.