4 Day Work Week Experiences

Date: Friday 1st September


As more companies consider the 4 day work week, four New Zealand game development companies have begun to try it out for themselves. We represent solo, small, and medium-sized indie game dev studios that are trialing or have adopted the 4 day work week. We will discuss how and why to switch to a 4 day work week, and cover the positives and negatives in terms of health, productivity, and workflow. We will look at the process taken in deciding to trial and switch to 20% fewer hours per week, and the different priorities regarding time management for managers and employees in the shorter work week. We are Philip Buchanan from It’s Anecdotal, a full-time solo indie dev; Sam Cook from Artifact 5, a 6 person company split across time zones, who work on OIP and client projects; Anna Barham from Balancing Monkey, an 8 person company working on their second game, Beyond These Stars; and Niamh Fitzgerald from Dinosaur Polo Club, a 30 person studio working on self-published IPs.

About the speaker

Anna and Sam Barham set up Balancing Monkey Games in 2017, and Anna picked up the role of Managing Director in September 2020. Prior to this she managed a medical centre for five years (yes, including during the first Covid lockdown!), gained an MSc in Psychology, and has worked in fundraising, volunteer coordination, and tutoring disabled adults. She is “the cool mum” of three teenage children.

Philip is a solo indie developer. With a background in engineering, he made the jump to games because he’s passionate about computer graphics, visual design and implicit storytelling. Philip previously worked for Square Enix Montreal on titles including Lara Croft GO and Deus Ex GO before leaving to work on his own projects. As an indie developer, he has released the award-winning co-operative adventure game 39 Days to Mars, and has two new games on the horizon.

Samantha Cook is a Co-Founder, Studio Director and Producer at Artifact 5, an indie game studio in Montreal, Canada. Artifact 5 released its first title, Anamorphine, a first-person surreal introspective adventure, in Summer 2018 for PC, PS4 and VR. It is. Her team is currently working on Lucky Me, a logic-shooter game where talentless hacks copy your every move, and you have to use your wits to survive. They also help clients realize their game & interactive experiences ideas VR and on flat screens. She previously worked at Behaviour Interactive as a Community Manager and Production Manager for mobile and Facebook games. Samantha now lives in Christchurch New Zealand and is the Chair of the Christchurch Game Developers Association.

Niamh is the COO at Wellington indie studio Dinosaur Polo Club, known for their approachable Miniverse franchise. Her role encompasses team support, studio production, business relationships, and people and culture. Outside of her studio work Niamh also mentors game developers beginning their careers.