BioWare just joined the growing number of studios which have embraced remote work. This comes after nearly two years of employment accommodations in the face of work disruptions caused by the pandemic. The company is now moving from temporary to permanent policy measures.
“This has been another challenging year with both work and home life continuing to be disrupted by the uncertainty of the global pandemic,” Studio General Manager Gary McKay said in a statement on January 6, 2022. “We’ve had to continue to think on our feet to adapt to changing circumstances.” He went on to say that “continuing to work under the pressure of a world pandemic has not been easy. We’ve had to adopt new tools, processes, and ways to communicate.”
McKay noted that work disruptions brought on by the pandemic have caused BioWare to change how the company deals with remote work. The solution seems to have been reduced hours in the office and more time spent working from home. The company also changed its hiring practices to the effect that new employees will no longer have to relocate to Austin or Edmonton.
MacKay said that “our goal is to lean into the things that everyone likes about working from home while also giving people the opportunity to return to the office with more flexibility.” He also pointed out that “another subtle but important change we’ve made is in our hiring practices: previously, we were only looking for people willing to relocate to Austin and Edmonton; now we’re looking for new talent from anywhere in North America and we’ll meet them where they live.”
These measures appear to be a continuation of what had previously been temporary measures on account of the pandemic. “The pandemic has also taught us a lot about how we can work together even while working across North America from hundreds of different locations,” McKay said. “And now, we’ll use what we’ve learned and apply it to a new work model that will ensure flexibility for everyone in the studio.”
BioWare is only the latest in a long list of companies that have shifted towards alternative employment arrangements in recent years. Square Enix for example changed its policy concerning remote work back in December, 2020. This was also initially conceived as a pandemic response. Similar in terms of tone, the studio behind Bugsnax, Young Horses, adopted a four day work week in September, 2021. Eidos followed suit a month later in October.
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