Cloud Imperium Games’ (CIG for short) Austin studio has made it mandatory for everyone to go back to work and not do it remotely…
VGC wrote about what one of CIG’s fired quality assurance testers had to go through. Kiplan Case worked in CIG’s Austin studio but stated on LinkedIn, “Today, I lost my job at Cloud Imperium Games for standing up for my coworkers. We were forced to return to office after they decided to eliminate their vaccine policy. People who had immunocompromised families or may have been at risk were only given a small extension of time before being required to Return to Office (RTO). In addition, Austin, Texas, is the 16th most expensive place to live in the United States, and the cost of living is rising. Many of us had well over 60-mile commutes to the office, and gas prices are not kind right now.
Many of my coworkers have been kicked from their homes due to rent increases and forced to move back with family. No one who works in the fastest growing form of media in the industry – video games – should be unable to afford a home at some point in their career. Today I ask everyone to consider how your company treats you. Think about what can be improved, and do your part to fight for yourselves – because you deserve better.”
Founded in 2012, CIG is still to come with Star Citizen and its single-player segment, Squadron 42. According to its website, the company is committed to cultivating culture and the workplace, celebrating all lifestyles and perspectives. Still, their job postings have taken out the remote work option recently, even though they mentioned this temporary work-from-home model six months ago: “While Cloud Imperium is overall an in-office operating company, some roles will start remotely, and others will be in-office from day one of employment. As a general policy, we have a Flexitime policy arrangement that allows for some remote working if and when it meets the needs of the role and the company.”
On Glassdoor, an anonymous employee based in the UK called CIG‘s flexible working policy short-sighted because although it is possible to work from home, they do not have equipment there, so there is a high chance that no work can be created in a home environment. Meanwhile, others (such as Bungie, Insomniac Games and Respawn Entertainment) have made finalised their remote work policies permanent. According to Gamesindustry’s US Best Place to Work Awards survey, 96% of respondents would maintain a work-from-home job after the pandemic.
According to Kastie Systems, Texas leads the pack among states pushing for a return to office work. This security firm tracks security card data in 47 US states. During the week assessed starting April 6, Austin offices were 63% of pre-pandemic levels, and chances are it’s due to the removal of the masking rule; the goal here will be 100% capacity.
Firing someone to try to get work done from home is not exactly fair if you can still do the job.