Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Trouble with Overtime

Overtime has always been an issue within the cg industry and in the past few years it seems to have come to light more. Last year there were several vfx protests about their working conditions and they way that they were treated, and how vfx was being pushed out of the USA and outsourced to other countries. As someone who is about to take their first steps out into the industry in a few months, it is worrying, I've always known that if I were to obtain a job within the industry I would be doing overtime, especially when it comes to deadlines. I came across this article and it is quite astonishing what could actually happen with overtime.

Normally studios will pay for overtime (classed as more than 40 hours of work a week in USA), however this becomes a problem when you are doing 11-14 hours a day for a prolonged period of time. The normal working day is about 8 hours and after that time, staring at a computer all day, everyone needs rest.
'It is actually impossible for a digital artist or TD to remain focused much longer than 8 hours a day. To suggest or imply that not working 14 hours in some way indicates the ability or commitment of the individual is ludicrous.'
Reading through the article it has made myself wonder why this actually takes place. If someone is constantly working that amount of time, weeks on end, their work standard is going to go down. Not only that but they will lose respect for the company and think they don't care. The company will not be gaining anything. They will be losing money from paying for overtime.

They could end up paying '11 hours for perhaps 8 hours of work. The math? Cost of VFX has risen by another 27%' If this carries on, the whole industry won't last, and you can see why the people in the industry have been protesting. Working that long without seeing family or having time to recharge is not right at all. This is changing however, in smaller companies they are limiting and sometimes are not permitting overtime. In my opinion it makes perfect sense to limit it, only when necessary though (deadlines, or if someone makes a mistake, etc) Having a team that is ready to work each new day after being rest seems far more beneficial than a team that is tired and restless. It is also down to the artist to make sure that they get their days work done in the time given. It seems like everyone needs to respect each other and their limits of what they can do. Yes the industry is fast paced, but endless overtime isn't going to keep the industry going for long.

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