ABK Workers Alliance responds to Activision Blizzard ending hybrid working

Activision Blizzard is ending hybrid working for its QA testers in January, meaning employees are expected to work full-time in offices.

The impact of this decision has been highlighted by the ABK Workers Alliance in a new statement shared with Eurogamer.

QA employees in Minneapolis, Austin, and El Segundo are affected, with “many employees being forced out of the company in a soft layoff”.

“The job security of many QA employees was already on shaky ground due to the announcement of hybrid work earlier this year,” reads the ABK Workers Alliance statement.

“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.

“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 Alliance noted vulnerable employees will be left behind by the decision to return to office – “especially disabled and immunocompromised employees, many who have had their work from home accommodations requests denied with inadequate reasoning”.

“It is also important to us that we recognize the financial impact this decision will have on employees,” the statement continued. “Many employees that were hired during the height of WFH live a significant distance from the offices. The employees affected who remain at the company have been commuting significant distances to the office and have felt the financial impact of doing so in regards to gas prices. But also, these long commutes mean that affected employees have less work-life balance, spending most of their time commuting and working and less time with their families, loved ones, and other aspects of their life.”

Lastly the statement noted how those remaining in the company will be affected by increased workloads, stress, and lower quality products.

The Alliance concluded: “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.”

Eurogamer has contacted Activision Blizzard for comment.

This is the latest controversy between Activision Blizzard and its QA teams.

Back in March, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) filed charges against the company, claiming it violated several workplace laws in relation to firing two QA testers.

Meanwhile, later in May QA testers at Raven Software won a vote to unionise.

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