A well-known stumbling block is overtime, or "crunch", i.e. periods of extremely high workloads before specific deadlines and game releases. Sometimes due to lack of planning, with insufficient margins should problems arise. And sometimes because of a romanticized image of colleagues working hard through the night, that is difficult to shift.
‘Just like in many other creative and artistic professions, some expect you to be passionate about your job. I love my job and like to go all in, but I am also a parent and love my child. In the long run, I need to have a secure job with reasonable expectations,’ says Dahlberg.
Karlsson knows of colleagues in the industry who testify that overtime at their company is the norm, if anything. Elsewhere, "invisible overtime" is common practice, as in taking work home and carrying on with it when the children have gone to bed.
‘I suppose intense work during the final stages of a project is okay, but long-term stress does not increase creativity. It can break people. In the long run, people don’t want to work themselves into the ground. I think that drudge can actually lead to people resigning,’ Karlsson says.
’Companies should take these aspects seriously, because as a programmer, you don’t have to stay in the industry. You can just as well work as an IT consultant, with a good salary and decent terms and conditions,’ Gerentz explains.
To meet the lack of competence, the industry has made extensive use of labour immigration. However, there are simpler solutions. At Alexandra's company, Thunderful Development, a group of employees pushed the issue of collective agreements for quite a while. ‘In the end, all the knots were untied and we had an agreement in place. It was a relief. More than 90 percent of all employees in Sweden have collective agreements, and this was proof that we are just as valuable as everyone else,’ she says.
’Yes, a company can have good benefits and regulations, but many of those can be removed in the blink of an eye. This wouldn’t be possible with a collective agreement. It’s a seal of approval, in other words,’ Karlsson concludes.
3 clever ways to stay creative
1. Decent working hours. Those who get to sleep, eat and laugh with friends come out on top at work.
2. Equality. Equal workplaces have fewer conflicts, are healthier and more profitable.
3. Skills development. Curious, creative people want to develop.
3 benefits for companies with collective agreements
1. Seal of approval. Attracts talent.
2. Simplicity. Not everything has to be negotiated with each and every employee.
3. Clear rules, less fuss. E.g. when someone falls ill or takes parental leave.