After listening to the latest podcast by Bithel Games, I wanted to take a moment this morning to share my experience and thoughts about "crunch time".
If you've been in the business you've probably experienced this. If you want to be in the business, I'm sure you've heard about it. Though it's been proven that it actually makes people less productive, companies still do this to their employees. It is somehow seen as a badge of honor to make yourself physically ill from working many hours.
I want to take you through my mind palace and share the last studio crunch time experience I had. The year, 2013, the place, Myrooms Inc. in Salt Lake City. The company started out fun to work for, but, after a few months they decided to work crunch time into our schedule as a normality. We began working crazy hours. There were days that I would show up to the office at 7:30AM and would not leave the office until 1, or 2 or even 3AM. Then I was expected to return to the office less than eight hours after that leave time.
Let me tell you a little something about this company. They paid us all salary, which in Utah meant they were not obligated to pay overtime because the jobs were desk jobs. Their version of making it up to us was buying us sandwiches and pizza for dinner.
During this time they had us stay late for asinine reasons. One day we were told that before we left, we had to rename all assets that used the naming convention _widget had to be renamed to _icon. They told us this at 4:30PM. It took us 5 hours. We had to rename every file, every texture, every model within the files. Then, 2 days later we were told to change it back to _widget. (FYI, this word is only seen by developers. Users would never see this naming convention.)
After nearly 3 months of treating us in this manner, they rewarded us with only 1 day off for our efforts. Here's the kicker, the week after they gave us our glorious day off, they fired half the team.
In conclusion, scheduled crunch times are ineffective, lower company moral, and treat people with disrespect.