The global outbreak of COVID-19 is affecting people and businesses all over the world, and Kwalee is no exception.
While we feel very fortunate to be in an industry where our team can work safely from home with relatively few disruptions, and that our players can continue to access and play our games during these testing times, we have also had to adapt in a number of ways.
As such, here we are answering some of the key questions being asked of us about how we are working right now and what that could mean for you.
Is the Kwalee team now working remotely?
Yes. We take the health of our team members and their loved ones very seriously, so we quickly took steps to all work from home as soon as we were able to, and were settled in to our home offices ahead of government action that enforced this on businesses like ours.
Of course, moving from all being in one studio to working remotely is going to pose some challenges, but the main thing for us is staying proactive and making sure we’re not putting anything on hold during this period that doesn’t have to be, as our COO Jason Falcus explains: “A big risk for disruption, is businesses falling into the mindset of ‘we’ll just pick that up when we’re back in the office/when this is all over’.
“We’re in uncertain times and the best way to minimise disruption – personally and professionally – is to continue with working days as they were, just remotely.”
That’s certainly what we’re doing here at Kwalee, and we are learning more about how to optimise our processes while keeping everyone happy and healthy every single day. It’s certainly a challenge, but we’ve been blown away by how everyone at Kwalee is rising to it!
How are Kwalee team members communicating with one another?
Since we pride ourselves on being a friendly and collaborative workplace, maintaining our usual levels of communication while remote working quickly became a priority.
This has meant us all making the effort to be even more vocal, and to call and check in with each other more regularly. With that in mind, many of us have put in place morning and afternoon catch-up calls with team members, and have all been urged to not be afraid just to pick up the phone to talk something through because currently, this is our version of approaching someone’s desk!
Programs such as Slack, Discord and video conferencing software like Zoom have been vital in maintaining this regular communication, and its benefitting our morale, as well as our productivity.
Is this the most epic work from home set up yet? Our Lead Server Engineer Michael has taken multiple screens to a whole new level ???????
— Kwalee (@kwalee) March 24, 2020
“Where possible, it’s important to also find ways of replacing the fun office activities in a remote-working setting,” says our CEO and Founder David Darling. “For instance, some of us now spend our lunchtimes playing online games with one another, and others are still hosting movie nights via live streaming.”
“New Slack channels have also been created, such as a ‘Kwalee Hangout’, to keep up the fun office chatter alongside the work-related topics. There’s also a Discord channel that provides a space for teams to be ‘live’ all day, enjoying a similar atmosphere to the one we’re used to in the office.” So in short, alongside proactive work and regular check-ins, there’s still more than enough space for memes and GIFs!
How is Kwalee looking out for employees’ health and wellbeing?
First and foremost, when it comes to any potential symptoms of the virus, we’re making sure that we all follow government guidance on managing and dealing with these signs. Thankfully, all of the team are safe and healthy, but like everyone, it’s something we’re constantly monitoring.
Beyond this, and when it comes to keeping everyone healthy and stimulated, we have made sure to distribute home workout advice to all team members while our on-site gym is inaccessible. Alongside this, we are also providing any additional office equipment that our teams may need to make their temporary workspaces more comfortable places to be, something that we know could prove even more essential for potential new starters!
“If any team member needed a more comfortable chair or any equipment, we would ensure this could be sent to them,” explains Talent Acquisition Manager Veronica Minano. “It’s all about working together as much as possible, staying positive and above all staying safe!”
In terms of mental wellbeing, the aforementioned social measures go a long way to helping team members feel better connected, but it’s not just a case of creating the channels and hoping that everyone will use them.
Our Head of Development Simon Platt stresses the importance of openness during these times, especially when it comes to encouraging new starters to be communicative. “We are trying to instill a sense that everyone’s (digital) door is always open… As people become more comfortable with this, a more creative and efficient approach to development is inspired as a result.”
Is Kwalee still working on new games?
Don’t worry: in this period, we’re still working hard to make and publish great games!
Simon also notes that productivity in prototyping “seems to have gone up if anything,” as teams pull together to keep up the communication and step up to handle projects under these difficult circumstances.
If you haven’t already, why not check out one of our latest releases: OverTake!
Is Kwalee still hiring?
Yes, we are very much still hiring, so send us your applications! Our Talent Acquisition Manager Veronica notes that, thanks to the global and digital nature of mobile gaming, “COVID-19 hasn’t impacted our business in the same way it has for many others,” which has allowed us to continue hiring in almost every single team.
We are also a company well-accustomed to Skype interviews, due to our international outlook when hiring, so you’ll find that the interview process doesn’t differ too much – we just currently won’t meet face to face until we can again.
As we are still hiring, and know that the current situation could make starting a new role even more nerve-wracking than it already is, we’re making an extra effort to ensure that new starters are made to feel as much as a part of the team as they can – even in a remote setting! So if you join us, don’t be worried, we’ll do all we can to help you experience the culture of Kwalee from your own home… you’ll just have to miss out on free Friday muffins for the time being.
If you are interested in joining our team, you can find our current vacancies here. Don’t hesitate to tweet @kwalee if you had any other questions too! Just be sure to stay safe and take care of yourself and your loved ones during this time.