Is There a Perfect Office for the Gaming Industry?

Nov 24, 2022

Gaming and software development is a sector that demonstrates time and time again that it is no fad, having grown to behemoth proportions and showing no signs of slowing down.

In fact, the industry is forecast to hit a market revenue of $200bn (£179.7bn) in 2022, a sign of things to come!

As a result, it’s no wonder that many gaming businesses are looking at their office spaces and wondering if what they’ve currently got is the right fit for their people.

Your game/software’s success is intrinsically linked to the talent behind it. Therefore, it’s critical that your business attracts and retains the right talent for the job; the workspace you create has a key role to play in this. 

So, this poses some questions: is there a perfect office for the gaming industry? How can gaming businesses entice their employees back into the office, and what are some of the unique challenges faced by businesses looking to improve their workspace?

Is there a ‘perfect’ office?

While we wish that the answer was yes, unfortunately, there really isn’t a perfect space for any one gaming or software company.

There are too many variables and the industry is highly individualistic. Businesses need to prioritise the needs of each individual at all times.

This is, of course, not an easy thing to do. Your workspace should facilitate high levels of focus and concentration, as well as break out spaces for time away from the screen. In addition to this, you need to provide key neurodiversity support measures, as roughly 1 in every 8 employees classify as neurodiverse. 

Now, there’s no ‘perfect’ office, but the Rhino team have worked with a wide variety of organisations in the industry. Our experience in this specific area will help you to create your ideal office, one that resonates with your employees, shareholders and investors alike. 

Get in touch with our specialists today, or read on to learn a little more about what you can do to add value to your workspace. Whether you’re looking to get the studio sale ready, enhance ROI or improve employee wellbeing and morale, we have the expertise required to get you there. 

What are the workspace challenges gaming businesses are facing?

The main issue affecting the gaming and software development workplace is one we touched on earlier – workspace flexibility.

Remote working has been such a perfect fit in the gaming sector that gaming companies and studios are finding it difficult encouraging their employees back to work. After all, if productivity didn’t take a dip, then why should they want to return to the office?

As a result, it’s become rapidly apparent that flexible working is no longer a nice-to-have, and most workers in the industry are now expecting some sort of hybrid deal. 

In fact, research conducted by Liz Prince, business manager at Amiqus (a leading gaming industry recruitment business) found that:

  • 82% of games industry professionals feel that their productivity levels remain the same or increase while working from home.
  • 41% of industry professionals said that they would not consider a job in the future if remote working wasn’t on the cards.

As a result, the answer seems to lie in balance. A balance that benefits both your employees and the business itself, but how exactly can you achieve this balance?

How can the gaming industry encourage people back into the workspace?

In order to create an environment that meets the needs of your people and makes them truly want to come into the office. As a member of the leadership team at Playtonic said to us recently:

“We need you to create a space which makes working from home a tough choice.”

Here’s what you need to do to achieve the above. 

Immerse your employees in the office space

Immersion is key in many industries, but none more so than the gaming industry.

The time spent in your office needs to be as optimised as possible, following the ‘campus’ model pioneered by Google, where ‘employees flow seamlessly from leisure and relaxation to intense bouts of creation and productivity’. 

In essence, if your people feel like they’re actually getting a benefit from being in the office, and if their productivity remains the same/improves, then they’re far more likely to want to be in the office on a more regular basis. 

This is particularly important during your development cycle, as many of our clients in the sector report that debugging programmes, putting together new concepts and collaborating more generally are always far richer when done in person. 

However, in order to enjoy this richness, you need to lay the groundwork in advance. 

Facilitate collaboration at all times

Social spaces are, in many ways, just as important, if not more important, than concentration/focus spaces. 

Your workspace should be designed in a function first, specific manner, one that stimulates face-to-face engagement for innovation and problem solving, bringing people from across your organisation together. This does not happen naturally when remote, but often happens if your workspace allows it to.

While collaboration is essential for project work, it also:

  • Helps build bonds between team members
  • Reinforces the values of your business
  • Reduces employee churn
  • Helps disseminate knowledge across the company
  • Boosts happiness (for socially minded employees)

The best part about collaborative areas is that they are entirely opt-in. If someone does not want to or does not feel like engaging with others, they can simply avoid designated communal spaces; the perfect balance!

User experience is key

Gamers and games companies alike understand that user experience (UX) is king. 

Employees in the industry are more than likely to have their own very comfortable and very usable setups at home. As a result, you need to ensure that their needs are met, especially when working long, relatively sedentary days at their desks.

This might mean:

  • Height adjustable desking to accommodate both seated and standing work
  • Flexible monitor arms that allow the employee to adjust to suit
  • Highly supportive task chairs to keep employees comfortable
  • Managing visual and auditory distractions

The goal here is to create a workstation so good that it’s unlikely that their home setup could compete.

Support neurodiversity at work

Businesses are growing increasingly aware of neurodiversity and what it means for the office. 

Neurodivergent people (referring to autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, dyslexia, Tourette’s syndrome and other conditions) bring incredible qualities and will dramatically enhance your workforce, unlocking new perspectives, skills and more for your business.

Despite this, many modern office spaces fail to take neurodivergence into account during design, leaving many people feeling as if the office isn’t the best space for them to work, and in most cases, it isn’t!

Some things to be aware of when designing the office to suit neurodivergence are:

  • Light levels
  • Noise levels
  • Long-distance views (sight distractions)
  • Decompression zones
  • Focus spaces
  • Social areas for connection

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and every neurodivergent person has their own unique needs and should be asked what they require on an individual basis. 

Enable staggered entry

Many of the gaming studios that we’ve worked with in the past have noted that their people often prefer working at varying times of the day.

Some of their employees are unfocused in the morning, but find inspiration at night; you need to ensure that your workspace allows for a staggered entry in order to get the most out of your staff. 

This means that your workspace needs to allow for the easy flow of people without causing too much distraction. 

Revolutionise your workspace with Rhino

Whether reinventing your existing space, or moving to a roomy new abode, getting your fit out spot on is essential. Draw in the best talent, keep company culture alive and drive ROI across the board by working with Rhino.

Our specialist team have wide-ranging experience from across the office design & build and fit out & refurbishment world. We have delivered several highly successful projects in the gaming and software sector, and maintain many fantastic relationships with businesses in the industry.

“Working with Rhino on our recent office redesign was a delight. We felt really comfortable in all of our comms with the team, and particularly enjoyed the level of staff engagement they approached the task with!”

Talk to our team today for bespoke advice on improving your workspace and get ready to unlock the future of your office. 

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