In January 2024, Activision Blizzard plans to end hybrid working for its QA testers, meaning all employees are required to work exclusively in an office with no work-from-home days. In addition to this, severance was offered to employees who decided to end their employment with the company as a result of this new requirement.
In response, the ABK Workers Alliance posted a statement to Twitter highlighting how implementing this new requirement can only damage the company and its employees. The statement reads: "The job security of many QA employees was already on shaky ground due to the announcement of hybrid work earlier this year.
"Since then, hundreds of employees have been in correspondence with the Accommodations team to try to receive a permanent work-from-home arrangement due to disability, financial issues, or other factors. Many of these requests have been outright denied and many more have been offered in-office accommodations that do not adequately meet the needs of employees."
The ABK Workers Alliance goes on to explain: "This has resulted in many employees being forced out of the company in a soft layoff. It is our belief that the removal of hybrid work will result in many, many more employees being forced out of the company and into a desperate situation." The full statement as posted to Twitter can be seen below:
On November 30th, Activision QA employees in Minneapolis, Austin, and El Segundo received an email announcing that hybrid work will be ended in January for QA employees. Below is our statement regarding this decision. pic.twitter.com/UKyRH2BggHDecember 18, 2023
It's also explained that the loss of hybrid work will have a significant financial impact on employees due to the commute to and from work, while also especially risking the health of immunocompromised and disabled employees with precautions removed in favor of office-based employment.
The statement concludes "A one-size-fits-all mandate harms us all. Everyone loses: the company, the products, the players, and, most of all, the employees. We stand firm in our resolve that the decision to WFH or RTO should be made on an individual basis with consideration to the needs of each employee."
Activision Blizzard has now responded to the situation in a statement sent to Eurogamer, in which a spokesperson noted that its QA team in Austin, Minneapolis and El Segundo "work more effectively and efficiently in person, thanks to improved broadband speeds, seamless team coordination, and better hardware access." As a result, it explained, it "made the decision to move from a hybrid work schedule to a full-time, in-office working model for Activision QA in Minneapolis, Austin and El Segundo to foster a best-in-class QA function and best deliver for our players."
In addition, the spokesperson said: "We take our support for employees with disabilities, differing abilities, mental health requirements, and changing medical needs seriously." The company is apparently looking for "appropriate, reasonable accommodations for team members who experience barriers to performing their essential job functions," and will manage all requests confidentially.
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Kara is an Evergreen writer at TechRadar Gaming. With a degree in Journalism and a passion for the weird and wonderful, she's spent the last few years as a freelance video game journalist, with bylines at NintendoLife, Attack of the Fanboy, Prima Games, and sister publication, GamesRadar+. Outside of gaming, you'll find her re-watching Gilmore Girls or trying to cram yet another collectible onto a shelf that desperately needs some organizing.