It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we work in a profound way. March 2020 brought government restrictions and remote work recommendations to all Rovio locations, thrusting us into our home offices, living rooms, summer cottages, and anywhere with a flat surface for a laptop. Meetings went into the box and face to face events went out the window. Now a year and a half later, we realize that things will never be the same as they were before, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
While we tend to focus on the negative effects of the pandemic, there have been some positive learnings from our remote working experience as well. Rovio is home to a diverse set of disciplines and personalities who each have different ideal ways of working. This situation allowed us to experiment with how we work in a way that wasn’t possible before. Now that we have over a year of remote work under our belts, internal surveys have shown that many of us see the value in working remotely. Broadly speaking, most Rovians have expressed a desire to spend more days working remotely than at the office, citing increased focus, efficiency, and the convenience of not having to commute as benefits of remote work. We have taken some initial steps in deciding how we can best take advantage of those benefits, allowing each Rovian to work in the way that suits them best.
The strength of our games relies on the trust and autonomy placed in the teams that make them.
While much has changed in the last year, some things remain the same at Rovio. First is the belief that the strength of our games relies on the trust and autonomy placed in the teams that make them. We trust our teams to make the best decisions for their projects, and the same is true for choosing their ways of working in the COVID (and post-COVID) world. For the current period, we are leaving the power in the hands of the teams to decide what work can be done remotely, and what work, if any, must be done in person. We encourage team leads to plan some face-to-face time in the development cycle to facilitate connections and smooth collaborations, but the ultimate decision remains with the team. Because of the diverse nature of our work and our workforce, there is no one-size-fits-all approach that works for all teams and all people. By allowing our teams to decide how they handle the remote/onsite/hybrid question, they can continue to make decisions on what is best for their projects. By giving the power to the teams, we can also allow each Rovian to contribute to the conversation on how best to work.
Rovians now have greater freedom to choose a work location that fits their preferred lifestyle.
Second, we have always believed in the value of striking a proper work life balance. With the increased prevalence of remote work, we now have greater freedom to choose a work location that fits our preferred lifestyle. To take advantage of this, we are encouraging Rovians to wander a bit farther from the nest with the new Rovio Nomad Program. This program will allow people to work from anywhere in the world for a fixed time period of two months. There are legal considerations to keep in mind for any extended period of work abroad, but we hope Rovians will take this opportunity to be closer to family, or just take in some new scenery – some warm and sunny scenery in the middle of winter for example.
Our teams make us tick, and happy people make better games. These two simple beliefs shape our work at Rovio. If we keep these in mind, we know that we will be able to take on any challenges we face, COVID and beyond.