Whether you’re on a winning streak or taking a couple losses, part of the climb is knowing when to take a break. 2020 has had its share of Ws and Ls, so we’re getting ready to take some time to unplug from work and focus on family, holidays, and, of course, playing games. 

On behalf of the Riot leadership team, I want to thank everyone inside Riot and beyond who played a part in bringing moments of joy to players and fans around the world. Despite all that happened in 2020, we released some new games, hosted our 10th Worlds, and so much more. I can’t summarize it all, but you can check out some of the highlights here:

I don’t want to linger on how difficult a year this has been. We all know it has been like no other. One positive I want to take from the hardships of this year, however, is that this pandemic reminded us how important our approach to work is. While players constantly fuel our passion to execute with excellence, we need a well-rested, committed team in order to deliver meaningful, lasting experiences. 

In past years, we’ve taken time in December to pause the patches and take a break at the end of the year. We’ve never said much about this break, but we’ve come to realize that it’s important to be more transparent around how we work and what we’re doing to create an environment where we can thrive together. So, as we wrap up 2020, we wanted to share some of what worked this year that we’re going to continue in the future, including how we’re going to approach distributed work in the long term.

Helping Rioters Recharge

The pandemic knocked everyone out of their routine, but also gave us an opportunity to experiment with new ways to disconnect. We learned some tips and tricks that we want to continue even when we’re able to return to the office: 

  • Back in August we took our first ever mid-year break. While we’ve always had an open paid time off (PTO) policy, we experimented with taking time off together as a company so there was even less temptation to check Slack or write just one more email (some people in teams like live operations and esports stayed around and took their breaks later—thank you again). Mid-year break was a huge success and we’re going to continue it next year, at a minimum. You’ll see this in our patch schedule for July and August. 
  • We’ve done it every year, but we’re committing to a two-week end-of-year break. I want to again give thanks and credit to the amazing teams that stagger their breaks to keep everything running smoothly for players during this time.
  • Back in June we tried our first ever no-meeting day to carve out dedicated focus time across Riot. We’ve added a monthly no-meeting day, and we may add more in the future. 
  • We’re also going to continue our open PTO and regional holiday policies, including putting new systems in place to make taking PTO a smoother process and ensure people actually take advantage of it. 

Our Take on Distributed Work

The pandemic has taught us that while we can work together virtually and still hit most of our goals, elements of what makes us Riot can’t be replicated through a screen. As a creative, collaborative, and relationship-based company, we believe that working closely together in- person, as a team, is what makes the magic happen. 

Going forward, we’re betting on a balance of virtual and IRL as a way to maintain our culture, community, and special sauce over the long term. When we’re able to return to working together in-person, rather than going fully remote or all in-person, we’re taking an approach that embraces flexibility while maintaining the rhythm of Riot:

  • When we’re finally able to reopen our offices, every Rioter will have 3 "core" days in the office instead of 5, with the other 2 days as "flex" days where they can come into the office or work from home, at their discretion.
  • Core days will be the same for everyone (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday) so we can stay on the same rhythm as a company and take the guess-work out of scheduling meetings that benefit from in-person attendance.

In closing, we want to thank players and fans for keeping us motivated during this difficult year. Across League of Legends, Teamfight Tactics, Legends of Runeterra, VALORANT, and League of Legends: Wild Rift, our community has grown this year like never before and we cannot wait to continue delivering greatness for you in 2021. Have a safe and happy holiday season.

~ nicolo