Working hours and productivity expectations for game artists and programmers

by illuminatedtype   Last Updated May 15, 2019 19:13 PM

I have a startup with a limited budget and have recently hired a programmer and an artist. Before they started the project, I set down a project roadmap with a lot of good documentation on what needs to be done and deadlines.

Both were asked to produce a timeline as to how these deadlines would be met. For the artist, I mentioned that if the workload was too much, it might be possible to hire an additional contractor for a month or two while they need help.

I have already started hearing things like, "well, I might need some extra help with this," and "I'm not exactly sure how long it will take me right now, so these timelines are just very rough estimates." And I get it, they're trying not to set themselves up for failure, but as a manager, I also need to know what the heck is going on.

So, there are two questions here:

  • I frequently see both my hires using non-company Slack, answering phone messages, and doing life admin on my watch. They've turned up late more than once in the first week, when I have a company policy of being in at 9. Maybe this is unorthodox, but we're working on a big project, and the last thing I want is them turning around and accusing me of under-scoping the project. On the other hand, I realize that this might be the norm elsewhere, in larger companies. What can generally be expected from artists/programmers in terms of working style and productivity? What's the difference between flexibility and being lazy?

  • My artist has already started to refuse other work (work for marketing assets, etc) on the basis that they have a lot of work on their plate already and need to manage expectations. I could deal with this if I didn't see them coming in late, answering messages on Slack, and generally doing things that don't relate to work. On the other hand, I don't know if this is normal/necessary for creatives. Is it?

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