As has been the case with many video game developers, the men and women of Cryptic Studios have been working from home for about a year — and that temporary measure is about to become a permanent one.
Star Trek Online Designer Director Al Rivera kicked off a long Twitter thread by commemorating the one-year anniversary of a conversation he had with his wife about being “not comfortable with me going to work anymore.” The next day, Cryptic sent everyone home, and “within a week or so,” the IT department had set things up to allow for remote work.
It took a month for Rivera and his team to become comfortable with the new way of doing things, and even after doing so, some employees were struggling, especially those who felt isolated or had to juggle working around children. Still, Rivera felt like his team “delivered some of our best content and assets over this last year.”
Whatever adjustments Rivera and the rest of his team had to make were good enough, as Cryptic Studios will be transitioning to a full work-from-home schedule, even once the pandemic is over:
As we move forward, Cryptic has decided that we will be adopting a permanent work from home policy. We will maintain our office, and we will eventually open our doors once again. Some will return but many have chosen to continue to work from home partly or fully forever.
— Al Rivera (@CaptainGeko) March 11, 2021
Even with the basic logistics set up, and a year of experience under their belts, making this kind of full-time transition won’t be easy — and not just because of the possibility for disasters affecting one’s home, as Rivera described with his tales of the wildfires that spread throughout California last year. As someone who’s worked at home for the better part of his adult life, it takes a certain amount of discipline to maintain your focus with all the potential distractions around you. Additionally, when your home is your office, you need to be able to separate work from off-time, so you’re not “on the job” all the time.
For his part, Rivera thinks the new working conditions have made him a better manager, as well as forcing him to be “more organized and communicate better.” Cryptic, and the other companies mentioned, think they and their people can manage the necessary balance, but there will probably be more than a few bumps along the way.