Game Workers Uniting for Better Workplaces

Interview

In creative industries labour exploitation can happen because employers can get away with leaning into the passion creative workers bring to their field. The video game industry may be a young industry, but the tricks of getting free labour from workers are old ones. As a result, movements like Game Workers Unite have popped up to help video game workers get the respect they deserve.

Recently workers at Activision created the largest video game union and in Canada a union has been formed at a game service company. This is the beginning of a larger movement in the industry which is great to see. Professor Johanna Weststar has looked into why this is happening now:

We can trace the history of game worker resistance to see some of these fluctuations. Examples include the Easter Egg planted by programmer Warren Robinett in Atari’s Adventure, the brief formation of a virtual union called UbiFree in France in 1998 and the infamous EA Spouse affair in 2004.

The shine is coming off the rhetoric of “passion” that reinforces individualism, valorizes heroic efforts for the sake of the game and promotes worker alignment with employer interests.

Read more.

Thanks to Roger!

Punctual Meetings are More Productive

Interview

It’s not just you who thinks there’s too much useless chatter at the start of the meeting. Meetings that don’t start on time are less efficient than those that do, and less creative. Another neat factor researchers found out is that people are less satisfied with a meeting that starts late, so if you want a reputation of running good meetings that aren’t a waste of time then start on time.
The next time you run a meeting skip the small talk and get down to what you’re meeting about.

Meeting lateness is pervasive and potentially highly consequential for individuals, groups, and organizations. In Study 1, we first examined base rates of lateness to meetings in an employee sample and found that meeting lateness is negatively related to both meeting satisfaction and effectiveness. We then conducted 2 lab studies to better understand the nature of this negative relationship between meeting lateness and meeting outcomes. In Study 2, we manipulated meeting lateness using a confederate and showed that participants’ anticipated meeting satisfaction and effectiveness were significantly lower when meetings started late. In Study 3, participants holding actual group meetings were randomly and blindly assigned to either a 10 min late, 5 min late, or a control condition (n = 16 groups in each condition). We found significant differences concerning participants’ perceived meeting satisfaction and meeting effectiveness, as well as objective group performance outcomes (number, quality, and feasibility of ideas produced in the meeting). We also identified differences in negative socioemotional group interaction behaviors depending on meeting lateness. In concert, our findings establish meeting lateness as an important organizational phenomenon and provide important conceptual and empirical implications for meeting research and practice.

Read more.

Work Culture is Changing for the Better

Collision at home

Managers who care more about time than results will have to change thanks to better approaches to work. The idea of having to sit at physical location all day regardless of how busy you are is no longer acceptable. A new attitude to work is a postive thing about the pandemic; ongoing flexible hours, a four day work week, and results driven work are all being considered.

Workers aren’t asking for more money, they are asking for respect.

“It is a lot more feasible, possible, imaginable, accessible because we’ve practised so much working from home,” said Ezzedeen, who holds a PhD in organizational behaviour and development.

“And people have developed ways of working from home — setting up their home office, figuring out how they’re going to talk with a team, investing in the technology to support it. So there’s no going back.”

Thompson said a results-only work environment requires a shift in thinking about what it means to manage.

“The manager is not managing ‘me’ anymore. The manager is managing work. Not me. I don’t have to ask permission to go to the dentist. I don’t have to say, ‘Oh, I’m coming in at nine this morning instead of eight. Is it OK If I go to my child’s play?’ All of that crap disappears.”

Read more.

Shorter Work Weeks Work

work and smile

Working less is better for everyone involved, including the employer. Iceland just ran a multi year experiment from 2015-19 to find out if a four day work week would damage productivity or improve it. Unsurprisingly, productivity didn’t go down and in some jobs it even went up. Tell your boss you should only work four days a week!

The trials led unions to renegotiate working patterns, and now 86% of Iceland’s workforce have either moved to shorter hours for the same pay, or will gain the right to, the researchers said.

Workers reported feeling less stressed and at risk of burnout, and said their health and work-life balance had improved. They also reported having more time to spend with their families, do hobbies and complete household chores. 

Will Stronge, director of research at Autonomy, said: “This study shows that the world’s largest ever trial of a shorter working week in the public sector was by all measures an overwhelming success.

Read more.

You Don’t Have to Love Your Job

Too many people are told to follow their passion and find their dream job above all else. This is bad advice. Instead, go get a job that you can do, pays you well, and is filled with respect. There is no reason to be a sycophant at work.

Sarah Jaffe recently wrote a book titled Work Won’t Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone and in it she explores our modern and utterly bizarre expectation that you should love your job. Over at the Next Big Idea Club she highlighted five key points from her book, and it’s worth looking at.

2. The idea that we should like our work is actually a relatively new concept.

The way we work and the way we think about work have changed over time. And so while humans have long been presumed to do some kinds of work for the love of it, that’s an expectation that has grown and spread from a couple of types of work to pretty much everything. The idea that we work in order to find fulfillment, rather than a paycheck, wasn’t particularly widespread even just a couple of generations ago. When you’re digging coal or building cars for a living, no one expects you to do it because you like it. You did it because it paid decently—or because it paid at all.

Read more.

Scroll To Top
%d bloggers like this: