Ubisoft is trying to get its employees in Montreal back into the office, and has now made it a requirement for developers to work on-site at least two days each week according to a report by IGN.
The firm said back in 2021 that it was going to embrace hybrid working, but had also repeatedly promised employees both during and after the covid-19 pandemic that staff could continue to work completely remotely, should they wish to. This all changed on September 11, 2023, with around 4000 disgruntled employees made to come back to the office, with limited exceptions made to the new rules.
The now enforced two day minimum has gone down poorly with many of the previously mentioned employees, and has been described as yet another blow to team morale at a company with ‘a culture of layoffs, game cancellations, and abuse allegations’. There were over 270 comments on Ubisoft’s internal announcement post at the time of IGN’s reporting, and almost all of them were negative reactions to the move.
“The blog post cited things like ‘Ubisoft culture’ and ‘collaboration’ as the reasons we needed to return to the office, but never once explained what problems a lack of these things had caused, or what steps had been taken to alleviate them before turning to RTO as the solution, or what kind of changes management expects to see as a result of RTO and how we are to measure the success of this plan,” said one unnamed employee.
“The lack of substance about why we are doing this and how can we know if it’s working has led a lot of people to believe the reasons we are being given are lies and the management are afraid to say the real reasons out loud.”’
“Like many companies in entertainment and tech, we are asking our colleagues to come back to the office for key moments identified by each team,” a Ubisoft representative told IGN. “We are convinced that the synergy, in-person discussions, rapid iterations, and a sense of belonging that happens more in person will help us be more effective and agile together, and achieve our business goals.”
“Open and ongoing conversations in addition to extensive individual accommodation and arrangements are currently underway to ease this transition and the impact on everyone’s well-being, which remains our priority to continue to deliver great games.”