Surviving Work From Home: The top 10 challenges and top 10 benefits

We interviewed and surveyed with 70 studios across Canada for a resource called Isolation Nation. Created by Marie Claire LeBlanc Flanagan and funded by Ontario Creates and the CMF, Isolation Nation tackles the tough pandemic-related problems like motivation and communication, as well as continuing challenges like market discoverability and work-life balance.

Do you share the same challenges? Find out more and download the full free 32 page resource here, or read on for an excerpt.

The top 10 challenges reported by game studios across Canada when working from home:

  1. Isolation. Missing the energy and camaraderie of the office, studios reported extreme feelings of isolation.
  2. Communication. Remote communication can be time-consuming and cumbersome. Quick in-person chats have been replaced by lengthy online back-and-forths or prolonged meetings.
  3. Motivation. Without the activity, energy, and social pressure of a team environment, self- motivation has become an extra part-time job.
  4. Distractions. Finally escaping the noise of the open office, workers find spouses or roommates shouting loudly in their own conference calls, as well as kids and pets vying for attention.
  5. Meetings. Video meeting fatigue is rampant. Online meetings lack the natural energy of in-person connection. Instead of leaning over and bouncing an idea off someone, every little conversation becomes a meeting.
  6. Mental health. Isolation, overwork, communication challenges, and the pandemic have exacerbated mental health challenges.
  7. Team health. Individual work-from-home difficulties grow exponentially into problems at the team level. An increasing amount of emotional management is necessary to keep teams healthy.
  8. Staying visible. Work-from-home is a constant battle against being forgotten, requiring a continuous reassessment of personal value.
  9. Coordination. Disparate working hours can make work-from-home a scheduling nightmare and result in blocks on tasks.
  10. Overwork. There are no clear boundaries between work and home and it’s difficult to stop working.

The top 10 benefits reported by game studios across Canada when working from home:

  1. No Commute. Everyone’s favourite benefit is losing the commute and reclaiming time and money. Well, everyone except people with small children who are now missing their only alone time.
  2. Schedule flexibility. Work-from-home brings more autonomy and freedom to work at times that are personally convenient.
  3. Time for personal relationships. Saved commuting time and meals can be spent with families, housemates, and pets.
  4. Comfort. Work environments can be customized with ergonomic equipment, music, comfortable clothing, and great lighting.
  5. Focus. Notifications can be turned off for a few hours to make space for the kind of deep focus that is nearly impossible in a busy office (of course, unless people are simultaneously caretaking small children).
  6. Cost-effective. For people who run studios, work- from-home reduces all office costs including rent, electricity, heating, and in-office perks.
  7. Autonomous. People can work on their own schedule and with their own rhythms in ways that work best for them.
  8. Efficient. Work-from-home allows people to use resources in ways that are optimal and efficient.
  9. Global. Working remotely widens the candidate pool and allows people to collaborate internationally (within geographical funding restrictions). International teams bring diversity, and with it a wealth of experience and knowledge.
  10. Accessible. Work-from-home can allow people to accommodate their own accessibility needs in ways that are often difficult in an office.

Download the full free 32 page resource here, or read another excerpt: “GameDev seeks Player: How to find players online“.