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"Bugsnax." Image: Young Horses

Bugsnax developer Young Horses is permanently altering its workweeks to only four days in an effort to create a healthier work-life balance at its studio.

Why it matters: The video game industry is known for intense crunch, but moving away from even 40-hour workweeks is proof that model doesn't need to be the norm.

  • The team of eight switched to four-day workweeks in July as part of a unanimously decided trial run, Young Horses co-founder and president Phil Tibitoski told Axios.
  • The team's production schedule was already set to an expected 35 hours per week for each full-time person; transitioning to 32 hours only meant a three-hour loss. "Might as well give people the peace of mind that they can relax doing their own thing on their own time than have someone feel guilty for doing it at work."
  • "We know what we have to get done and by when, or we're making our own schedule entirely and things get done when they get done."

Yes but: That transition is easier due to the team's size.

  • "It was easier for us to implement because to measure our small team's output is simple relative to those bigger studios, so our trial period and decision-making is faster than a studio who has to get buy-in from so many departments and investors."
  • A studio goal has always been to foster "a healthy, creatively fulfilling business that supports our lifestyles,'" Tibitoski said. "Those lifestyles being ones where growth of the studio is not very important and sustainability of the happiness of the people who work here is much more our focus."

Tibitoski told Axios that he believes a four-day workweek is possible at larger studios — "but you have to have buy-in from the top and their goals/processes/expectations have to be adapted to support the change."

  • There are "people who will always want more, who are never satisfied with what they have, and who will sacrifice the well-being of their employees to get there."

The bottom line: "If we're all happier to be at work because we're well-rested, I think we're going to be better off in the long run."

Go deeper

Hardly anyone wants to go back to the office full time

Expand chart
Source: Axios NWA survey; Chart: Dani Alberti/Axios

Last week, we asked about your work-from-home opinions, given work looks a lot different for many of us than it did two years ago — and it might stay that way.

  • Big thanks to the 135 people who responded!

State of play: Only 6% of respondents said they want to go back to working in person, while 42% said they want to work remotely.

  • But the slight majority — 52% — said they simply want the option of going into the office or working from home when they want.

Why it matters: NWA employers may want to take note workers’ priorities are changing. Some companies have already pivoted and don’t plan to require employees to spend their days away from home.

The intrigue: One theme that prevailed in most responses was flexibility. People want to go for a walk when they feel like it, work wherever they’re most productive and pick their kids up from school.

  • Other than less exposure to COVID-19, the top reasons why people want to work at home or remotely include saving time and money on commuting, the ability to wear comfortable clothes (yoga pants for the win), and the ability to work out, nap or take breaks when they want.

Of note: About 42% of respondents have the option to work in person or remotely, while 35% work solely remotely. About 16% work solely in person, and 6% have a split arrangement.

6 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dems fear supply-chain blame

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As supply-chain kinks drive up prices and disrupt holiday shopping, Democrats are scrambling to show action and deflect blame.

Why it matters: With their party controlling both the White House and Capitol, vulnerable Democrats worry supply-chain snafus will hurt them in next year's midterms.