Jun 9, 2020 IN Press Releases

Pixel Federation - our way of protecting the employees and helping the country in face of pandemics

Katarína Zacharová
Social Media Manager

Slovakia was one of the first countries to embrace the quick action against spreading the COVID-19 virus.
The country closed its schools, shops and borders on 15th of March, earlier than any other country after Italy.
And according to Bloomberg the measures bore its fruit, as 10 weeks after the first reported infection Slovakia
had just 28 fatalities and is at the bottom of the European list of deaths per capita.


We, at Pixel Federation, decided to protect our employees even faster.
But it was just the first step and we knew we have to do more.

Our business success vitally depends on daily analysis of data from over 100 M of our players around
the world. So when watching the data from the spread of epidemic, we realized the gravity of the situation
and implemented company home-office and other preventive measures from 11th of March.
Knowing that Slovak post-communist healthcare system will struggle with acute lack of material, our CEO Simon Sicko teamed up Slovak health experts, IT team and volunteers and initiated a platform of direct financial and material help to paramedics and healthcare facilities in the first line of the pandemics fight.
Our Pixel colleagues managed to create the website within hours. By now, the platform Kto Pomoze Slovensku (Who will help Slovakia) managed to fundraise over 1,3M EUR and delivered protective medical supplies
to over 1500 subjects
.


Does Corona affect us? Oh, yes!

But at the same time, most of the teams continue in their work seamlessly. And thanks to the genuine community care, carefully crafted Live Ops and onboarding experiments, two of our games are growing steadily for past 6 months and continue to show marks of success, both in player numbers and revenues.


So what company measures worked for us in the face of pandemics?

(Apart from the usual suspects - home office, zoom meetings and professional disinfection of the office space)
▶ all necessary technical equipment (hardware, office furniture) was transported to the employees’ homes
▶ we launched a psychological helpline to assist those struggling with insecurity and fear
▶ we ensured wide range of online training possibilities through various formal or informal online education platforms
▶ we maintain our informal community through online coffee breaks, lunches and Friday after work drinks
▶ our CEO holds monthly live updates about our financial results, progress in teams etc. and answer employee questions via Sli.do
we constantly ask for feedback, either via questionnaires addressed to the management and experts
about their teams’ home-office workflow or via questionnaire to the employees about the home-office obstacles and preferences to return back to the offices during the lockdown for any reasons
▶ we have created an action group responsible for the plan of return to the office - to set hygiene standards and processes and identify the needed equipment to buy
employees got a chance to take an active role in the face of the pandemics and assist with the platform
Kto pomoze Slovensku - Who will help Slovakia which helped Slovak healthcare facilities through financial
and material support during the pandemic.
More than 40 of us joined the effort as volunteers in programming, graphics, aid coordination, social media management, aid distribution, etc. and many more as donors.

linkedin

What impact has Home Office on our team’s effectiveness?

Pros
graphic designers work faster
less mistakes in the production reports
▶ child-free employees work more effectively due to lack of open-space distractions
▶ more effective communication via online platforms
▶ leads and managers share their best practices faster, in a less formal way and targeted at specific problems


Cons
▶ employees with children need to juggle work with homeschooling and constant assistance for kids
▶ employees who share flats with roommates struggle with more frequent conflicts
conferences, game dev meetups and workshops have been postponed/ canceled completely,
while their online versions sometimes lack the quality


How will we decide to move back to the offices? What are our plans for the future in this area?

“We evaluate the situation continuously. The final decision will be based on the results of the employee feedback and the macro data from the outside world. We carefully monitor how the situation develops globally, lookout for inspiration in countries that manage the re-opening well, we cooperate with our crisis staff and step by step we prepare systemic measures for the return,” says our CLO, Lucia Sickova


So, did the pandemic impact our business?

Our actual Q1 revenues exceeded the original plan. In Q1 2019 our revenues reached 7,6M EUR, this year we have hit 10M EUR. But we remain very cautious when it comes to any conclusions and we do monitor the results with great humility.
Our youngest game Trainstation 2 increased its performance and reached its all time records.
From our point of view, this is a combined result of rework of the game start and onboarding of the new players and better work with the evaluation of marketing data. Last but not least, the fact that the whole gaming industry experienced growth during the pandemics needs to be pointed out.
Our 8 year old project Diggy’s Adventure is growing strong but again this is the fruit of our constant focus on clever Live Ops and new in game features introduced in Q1.
Our success is a result of a combination of various parameters and we remain very careful in our decisions.

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Katarína Zacharová

Social Media Manager

Traveled from Community Management through Social Media to Public Relation. Rum and Civil society enthusiast