Developers of the mainline Pokemon games, Game Freak, have implemented an optional four-day working week for employees at its Tokyo studio. However, it comes with a catch that employees that decide to opt in to the arrangement will only receive 80% of their full-time salary, effectively making them part-time workers.
It’s being labelled as a ‘selective weekly three-day system’, in reference to a total of three days leave off work, according to the press release. The program has been specifically designed for employees who are raising young children who are not yet of school age, or need to care for a family member.
What’s interesting is that the system can also be enacted on a monthly basis – presumably by pay cycle – so employees can switch up their working arrangements depending on their changing personal circumstances.
Game Freak also has policies regarding hourly leave, as well as a ‘working from home’ policy.
While Game Freak’s new policy isn’t as generous as a true four-day working week – studios like Eidos Montreal and Mighty Kingdom have implemented that across the board, without the need to take a pay cut – the flexibility is a step in the right direction.
Working full-time with a young family can be a demanding situation for working parents, requiring a tricky balance of the time and attention needed for their children at such a vital stage of their lives, along with the need to properly focus on workplace duties in order to provide for them.
With the pandemic causing a large industry shift towards working from home, additional problems have arisen, like attempting to keep work and personal lives separate in the home. Game Freak’s new policies recognise the need for flexibility and attempt to find some kind of solution, which is admirable.
As of August 2021, Game Freak employed over 160 people, who will now be allowed to work flexibly. Its forthcoming titles are the next games in the mainline Pokemon series, Scarlet and Violet.