The TIGA Guide to Employee Wellbeing in Game Development

By June 27, 2023 Members news, TIGA News

The ongoing success of our creative industry is dependent on the wellbeing of our workforce, with the innovative and fast-paced nature of game development necessitating a supportive working environment that fosters both mental and physical health.

Employee wellbeing involves recognising the importance of a healthy workforce. A healthy workforce is a productive workforce. Numerous studies have proved that employee wellbeing is linked with lower absenteeism, increased productivity, and improved job satisfaction, as recent Gallup research shows. Studios can support an environment conducive to innovation and creativity by prioritising employee wellbeing.

The CIPD notes that there are a variety of dimensions to employee wellbeing:

  • Health, including physical health, physical safety and mental health.
  • Good work, including the working environment, good line management, work demands, autonomy at work and change management.
  • Values, including leadership, ethical standards and inclusion and diversity.
  • Collective activities, including employee involvement in decision making and relationships including team working.
  • Personal growth, including career development, emotional, lifelong learning and creativity.
  • Good lifestyle choices, including physical activity and healthy eating.
  • Financial wellbeing, including fair pay and benefits, retirement planning and employee financial support.

We hope this short primer to Employee Wellbeing will be a useful resource for studios of all sizes, whether they have policies and actions in place, or if they want to do more to help our industry’s most important asset – our developers.

Why Employee Wellbeing is important in game development

Employee wellbeing is important in its own right. Employee wellbeing also makes commercial sense by supporting productivity, creativity, employee retention and recruitment. As such, investing in wellbeing is not just an ethical move – it’s also a strategic one.

How your studio can begin its Employee Wellbeing journey

Every business is different and every game studio will have its own particular characteristics and needs. There is therefore no ‘one size fits all’ employee wellbeing strategy.  However, the following activities can potentially support employee wellbeing. You can find out more information and get more advice and support from the organisations we’ve listed at the end of this primer.

Create a Healthy Physical Workspace: Ensure your workplace is comfortable, clean, well-lit, and ergonomically designed. Consider implementing elements of biophilic design, such as indoor plants, natural light, and nature-inspired decor, which can boost mood and productivity.

Implement Regular Exercise and Wellness Programmes: Encourage physical health by offering gym memberships, hosting fitness classes, or organising team sports events. Wellness programmes might also include mindfulness training, nutrition workshops, and health check-ups.

Prioritise Mental Health: A high-pressure environment can lead to stress. Offer mental health resources, such as counselling services or meditation workshops, and create an open environment where mental health discussions are normalised and encouraged. The NHS offers some tips on improving mental health, which could be shared with employees.

Promote Work-Life Balance: Crunch culture – unpaid overtime for extended periods – can negatively impact games developers. Counteract this by fostering a culture that values work-life balance. Encourage employees to take regular breaks, offer flexible working hours, and limit overtime.

Offer Professional Development Opportunities: Employees should feel that they can grow and progress in their roles. Offer opportunities for learning, upskilling, and career development to boost job satisfaction and reduce turnover.

Invest in Employee Training: Regular training not only improves skills but also boosts confidence and job satisfaction. This could be in areas such as technical skills, communication, or leadership.

Provide Fair Compensation and Benefits: Competitive salaries and benefits are vital to employee wellbeing. Ensure your compensation package is fair and reflective of the industry standard. Perks such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off can also contribute to overall job satisfaction.

Foster an Inclusive and Respectful Culture: A positive workplace culture, where diversity is celebrated and everyone is treated with respect, can significantly enhance wellbeing. Foster open communication, promote team-building activities, and implement policies against harassment and discrimination.

Recognise and Reward Good Work: Regularly acknowledge your employees’ hard work and achievements. This can be through formal rewards, like bonuses or promotions, or informal recognition in team meetings. Feeling appreciated can significantly boost morale and job satisfaction.

Promote Employee Autonomy: Give your employees a sense of control over their work. Allow them to make decisions, manage their own time, and take ownership of projects. This can boost their confidence and commitment to their work.

Encourage Open Communication: Encourage employees to voice their ideas, feedback, and concerns. Regular check-ins or team meetings can foster a sense of belonging and ensure everyone feels heard and valued.

Support Remote Working: In an increasingly digital world, flexible and remote working policies can contribute to employee wellbeing by reducing commuting stress and allowing for a better work-life balance. Equip your team with the necessary resources and tools to work effectively from home.

Implement Family-Friendly Policies: These could include enhanced maternity and paternity leave, childcare support, or allowing employees to adjust their work hours to accommodate caring commitments.

By investing in employee wellbeing and cultivating a positive workplace culture, games studios can not only improve the quality of their output, but also retain and attract talented individuals. Taking a proactive and holistic approach to wellbeing can transform a studio’s culture, productivity, and overall success, ensuring it remains competitive in a fast-paced and rapidly evolving industry.

Links to helpful resources

Several third-party organisations in the UK can provide support, resources, and guidance to game development studios striving to enhance employee and workplace wellbeing:

Safe In Our World: A UK-based mental health charity for both gamers and the industry itself.

Mind: A leading mental health charity in the UK, Mind provides resources and support to improve mental wellbeing in the workplace, including training and consulting services for employers.

Workplace Wellbeing Charter: This national accreditation standard provides organisations with guidance and tools to create a healthier workplace.

NHS Healthy Working Lives: This initiative provides advice, free training and ongoing support to help create healthier and safer workplaces.

CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development): This professional body for HR and people development provides resources and training on issues such as mental health at work, flexible working, and health and wellbeing.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE): This UK government agency offers guidelines on creating a healthy work environment, covering everything from physical safety to mental health.

Investors in People: This organisation provides a framework for improving business performance through people management. They offer accreditation that recognises organisations with effective employee wellbeing strategies.

We want to hear from you!

As we work to build out TIGA’s Guide to Employee & Workplace Wellbeing in Game Development we’d love to hear about and showcase your own studio’s initiatives in the area. If you’d like to contribute to these articles, please send us around 300 words and any images about what you do to promote wellbeing within your workplace. Contact us via


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