I believe it´s inevitable to associate videogames with having fun. They are entertainment we enjoy at home or at a friend´s, and they have made people of all ages spend ridiculous amounts of time hooked to a screen. Now, your instinct may be to extend these assumptions to the world of creating videogames, right? Well, wrong.
Obviously, a job is much less fun than a hobby by definition, but in this particular case it´s even less. A recent survey conducted by the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union (BECTU) shows that over half of the respondents(53%) said that their employment status or working hours had negatively affected their personal or home life. If you add to that that 57% assured they normally work extra hours, you have a recipe for disaster.
Videogames workers ask for quality of life
The videogame industry has enjoyed quite the reputation in the past, being a place where one could make money and still enjoy being attached to the multimedia entertainment of their upbringing. However, in recent years this reputation has shifted. Videogame companies now expect employees to flock to them, even when their working conditions are subpar, and the workforce around the world is starting to complain and be vocal about it.
The aforementioned survey, which gathers data from June 20 th to July the 6 th of 2019, continues to shed a very bright light over this phenomenon. How about 27% of respondents stating they have had difficulty to take holidays/leave? Or employees having to stretch their shift until the 34-hour mark to be able to link up with Asia and the US? These are all examples of a reality that is starting to change. There are 2.200 videogames companies in the UK alone, 95% of which are small or micro businesses.
The popularity of the business has convinced companies into believing that working conditions aren´t that important, because the product they offer is cool. Their disconnect with their employees perception is evident, but there aren´t signs o change in sight. Long working hours result not only in no time for personal growth and projects, but also in a depressing state where all you do in the week is work, commute and house chores. What if you add kids into the mix? I can´t even imagine.
However, changing the industry culture is a long and tedious process, which takes effort and determination. While this happens, and believe me it will, companies should look for a solution right now to satisfy disgruntled employees. How about a change of location assuming that videogame workers ask for quality of life?
Take the Canary Islands for instance. Your company could be and should be based in paradise, with magnificent weather all year round, short commutes, excellent transportation services and an irresistible summer vibe that screams quality of life.
This heaven for expats (over 10% of the population is foreign) would solve for many (if not all) of your employees complaints about work-life balance. To go along with these unbelievable advantages, you should note the outrageously benevolent fiscal regime of the archipelago.
Companies like low corporate tax, right? Well, the Canary Islands have the lowest in Europe at 4%. What about VAT you ask? 7%. Are R&D deductions heavy? How heavy does up to 90% of the expenses with an option to monetize the incentive in form of cash on hand sound? I thought so.
In addition, let´s take into consideration the current political landscape in Europe. Have you heard of Brexit? Many of the aforementioned 2.200 videogames companies may be looking to relocate in the future. What better place than the Canary Islands?
Uncertainty drives change and employers in the UK, with almost 500 weekly direct flights to the Canaries, will certainly be looking to the archipelago. Videogames companies can go from having a cool product to offer employees, to become cool themselves for employees. The appeal of fantastic weather conditions, suitable work-life balance and an incredibly competitive fiscal structure should be more than enough to mitigate the current disappointment in the way they treat their workforce, and the Canary Islands can help make all of this happen.