Ubisoft makes a big decision, employees angry

For several months, the situation at Ubisoft has been far from good, a trend which continues with the recent events affecting the Montreal offices. Focus on this situation.

The Covid-19 pandemic has profoundly changed the world of work. On September 11, after three years of teleworking, Ubisoft Montreal employees were instructed to return to the office. An announcement that was poorly received by many of them. The company’s internal network quickly became the scene of strong expressions of anger and disappointment, centered on grievances such as noise in the open office, additional costs incurred and the lack of adequate office amenities. Many also accuse Ubisoft of going back on its promise of full long-term teleworking.

Ubisoft in turmoil

Ubisoft initially presented a flexible return to office plan. With the promise of remote work based on criteria such as productivity and impact on the team. Thus, this recent about-face, imposing a minimum of two days of presence in the office per week, is perceived as a betrayal by many employees who have organized their lives around the prospect of lasting teleworking. This decision adds to already present tensions, fueled by unresolved allegations of a toxic work environment. And that’s without mentioning the notorious delays in projects, like that of the Skull and Bones game.

There is suspicion among employees that this new policy could be a political maneuver. In particular to reduce its workforce without going through formal layoffs, encouraging spontaneous resignations. Others point to historic engagements between Ubisoft and authorities in Quebec and Montreal, suggesting pressure to restore jobs and stimulate the local economy.

A barely intelligible defense

Ubisoft’s defense, which highlights “Ubisoft culture” and “collaboration” as the main justifications for this return to the office, did not resonate with many employees, who consider it meaningless. Fears of a massive talent drain are growing, a situation exacerbated by an overload of the system handling requests for special accommodations.

Although Ubisoft assures that there will be open discussions and individual arrangements to facilitate this transition, the management of frustration seems to be delegated to middle managers. They find themselves helpless in the face of rising anger. This crisis also raises serious questions about the future of the company, especially given the similar experiences of others in the sector, who have suffered a significant loss of talent as a result of imposed return-to-office policies. Let’s hope that games like Assassin’s Creed Mirage, still scheduled for October 5, 2023, can reassure everyone, especially the employees themselves. The wait is high and, for the moment, the feedback is rather positive despite some small disappointments that we were able to mention in our preview.

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