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Dimitar Stoev
Dimitar Stoev

Posted on • Originally published at stoev.dev

Working from the office or home?

There comes a time eventually in every software developer's life to make a choice. To work from home, or to work from the office. Why not both? Let's have a little discussion about what is the better option and the benefits.

The COVID pandemic forced a lot of companies to implement something that had to be implemented a long time ago. Remote work is here to stay. Working from home could be enjoyable and depressing at the same time. As is working from the office. I will share my personal experience and what is the best choice at least for me.

Many people don’t have that choice, but in most creative fields it is pretty normal nowadays. The best option I found for myself is working from home, but spending two days at the office.

The days I chose to work from home are Monday, Tuesday, Friday and the rest - from the office. The first day is a little psychological game I play on myself, as is the last one. Starting the week could be stressful as it is, so why not spend it at home? The last day is always a little bit loose, so the same logic applies. In the middle, I just use it to socialize with the colleges and cooperate.

Let’s dive a little bit in the subject and discuss the benefits and cons of both.

A lot of company blogs are trying to force only the cons of working from home. A lot of managers are trying to push an agenda and demonize the community that really wants freedom. Also I get really impressed how far some of them go and try to force some incredible rules like - “don’t talk to your wife at specific hours” or “lock the doors, so nobody can interrupt you” and so on..

I still can’t believe the culture that some people are trying to force. After all, why live, when we can just work? Right?

I want to add that if the company is so eager to track you and doesn't care only about the results.. Maybe it's time to move on.

Ok, let’s discuss some tips for working from home.

What I find most useful is

Clear the environment

A clean environment is a clear mind. The minimalism idea is perfect for creativity and also it can totally boost your productivity. Don’t put too much on the desk.

One tip: Bring a flower. A little bit of green color can reduce stress and calm your mind. There are a lot of articles and research on how nature can help us mentally. Use that to your advantage.

Put some boundaries yourself

You should be the only one responsible for your working hours. I am not trying to sell you the idea that you should work only when you desire, but you definitely have to have the freedom to take rests when you like, when to start. It is important, because if you feel like you are in a prison, this will eventually destroy your mentality

I will provide a little example. My first programming job was to an employer that was extremely toxic. He didn’t really know what he was doing and demanded incredible stuff.

He required us to be at work at 08:30, and couldn't really take a break, because he would usually argue we had enough already and we had to stay until 17:30. The lunch break was around 12:00 to 13:00 and you weren’t really allowed to be late. He didn’t care about anything. We had to be robots.

Thanks to all that he never really had stuff older than three or four months. People care about their freedom. And the quality follows the working environment.

The benefits of working from home

A lot. One of the first things that comes to mind is money. A person can save so much if works from home.

When you go to the office, at most places, there are no buffets and every lunch in a restaurant could be too much. Cooking for yourself is great and the best part is, it could absolutely be used as a perfect psychological break. Also the quality of the food is your concern and you can eat a lot healthier.

Another topic that emerges is that you can take the time you save from traffic for training, or anything else you enjoy. Didn’t have time to read? Now, you do!

The best part is spending time with your family. From time to time, you can take breaks and hug the one you love, play a little bit with your kids and so on.

Are there any cons?

You bet, there are.

It really requires more discipline. You must have some really strong will. After all… the sofa is so close and who can find out, right?

A bigger problem is overworking. It is very easy to do it since all of your working tech is at your home. When you finish work, just put everything away, close your laptop, don’t respond to emails and so on.
Working from the office

I want to put a few words here also for working from home. I disagree that it is only bad and totally unnecessary. I actually believe the contrary. There are a lot of benefits to it.

The communication is on another level. You can’t just simply have the same quality on the line via teams. A lot of this communication also expands personally. It’s never really only about work.

That’s also a great way to meet colleagues who are not in your specific team and project. You can’t mimic that online.

It is also very easy to set working boundaries. When you get out of the office, there is a psychological barrier that you cross and you can easily switch to a non-working mentality.

The best one I can mention is the ability to get knowledge and insight from seniors and the professionals in the company.

Drawbacks?

One of the biggest problems, in my experience, is that people usually work less in the office. Some don’t find that as a problem, but as a benefit, but I don’t. For me, the only way to improve is to do an actual job. How can we grow, if we try to “cheat”.

Another problem for me is privacy. I am a very privacy oriented man and the lack of that is a big drawback. I hate being observed all the time and since most of the offices are open spaces… it can be a problem.

Conclusion

So the best of both worlds is to work most of the time at home, but take some time to chat with the colleagues in real life, offline.

If you work remotely and the office is just too far away, you can always find a co-working space and internet caffee’s. You can meet freelancers that work remotely in your area and rent an office together.

I am interested in hearing your opinion on the subject. What do you think is the best option - working from home, working from the office or simply hybrid?

Discussion (14)

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andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden

Working from home gives people the most flexibility and in my experience your work rate is significantly higher. There are no office shenanigans or distractions. And you wont drain your energy from commuting to and from work.

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dimitarstbc profile image
Dimitar Stoev Author

Usually when I go to work, we spend at least an hour just chatting before actually getting a single thing done.

Most of the time, I do a lot more work at home!

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abhinav1217 profile image
Abhinav Kulshreshtha • Edited on

I am a freelancer so I always had home office. My friends prefer actual office. We shared notes on this topic a lot of time.

Pros:

  • More time to spend with family.
  • No commute cost (Both time and money).
  • Better work environment. (better dev machine, hot and fresh food).
  • Time saved can be used to improve oneself. ( I learned golang, and now learning rust).

Cons:

  • Missing out on opportunity to make new friends.
  • Proper discipline is required. Even if its home, it should be treated as office.
  • Proper family communication is required. I have office hours from 10-5, if my family have plans in those hours, either discuss with me on breakfast table, or forever hold their tongue.
  • Bosses don't necessarily respect your personal life. Just because I am at home, I won't just take a 2 min look. There is no such thing as a 2 min look, it always end up in 15-30 min discussions.

Me as a freelancer : -

I have a proper home office, with table and chair, dual monitor, no bed, sound absorbing boards. Since I work and play on the same system. I always work fully dressed including shoes and socks. Only time I sit on my system in pajamas is when I play. I have a good communication with my family and they respect my office hours. If something is unavoidable, They always inform me at breakfast, allowing me to adjust my timings with people I work with.

But I haven't made any new friends, connections, network, since college. I have always been introvert, and home office has not helped improve my personality flaws regarding this.

My friend as office person : -

He got health issues within first 3 months of lockdown. He got seduced by concept of working from bed in his pajamas. He worked anytime he wanted, inadvertently working over 12 hrs without overtime pay. He missed his deadline for the first time in his career because he got distracted by IPL(cricket). Once during urgent conference, he forgot about his underwear drying in his messy rooms. When it was over, he got call from HR regarding display of dirty underwear and some posters visible in his background. No matter how much he informs his parents about his office hours, there is always some form of interference. Sometimes its to go out to buy vegetables, sometimes its help to get something from high shelf, sometimes its his mom on a phone call from relatives wanting him to say hi to them. He don't say no, and isn't strict about it. But he always complain about it to me over beers. He hates working from home.

But since he had an office job, he have a good numbers of friends, contacts, social and networking opportunities.

His office has started from this month, he was excited to go there and see new faces other than his family members. Interact with new recruits and socialize with old ones, but this time, his travel time of 2.5 hrs in hot Indian summer (its 35 deg C at 9:45am) is noticeable to him. Added with rising cost of fuel in India, and no pay increase or bonuses, despite his company making record profits, He is now conflicted. He can't work properly from home, but he is hating his office. I on the other hand is jealous of his social life and professional circles.

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dimitarstbc profile image
Dimitar Stoev Author

I really get the two sides of the coin.

One thing I want to address is that most of the time, socialization in the office is not equal of making friends. You can have incredible, funny and amazing time together, but does it lead to deep, strong friendship and connection? Sometimes yes, but mostly no!

We, people are social creatures and we need some kind of engagement - some require less, some more.

I am also planning to go fully freelancing at some point and I hope it goes well.

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diogorodrigues profile image
Diogo Rodrigues

Like everything, I think it depends on a lot of variables. For me, if I live close to the office and/or getting there isn't a big challenge, I like the idea of having a few days a month working from the office to have face-to-face conversations and get closer to others. However, I also love the privacy I have working remotely and the ability to create my schedule based not only on the company's needs, but mine as well.

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dimitarstbc profile image
Dimitar Stoev Author

When I go to the office and want to concentrate and fully "separate " myself from other and get a little bit of "privacy" - I go to a remote desk, put my headphones and just ignore people until I get my job done.

As far as I know - headphones on are the international sign of "don't bother me".

I agree that real privacy just can't be achieved at the office!

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gjorgivarelov profile image
gjorgivarelov

Clean desk and the absence of distraction make a lot of difference. Then, the lighting and soundproofing have to right as well, there need to be space for some stretch time away from the desk. You also need good neighbors around you and by "good neighbors" I mean neighbors you don't even know they are around you. All this described an office. Likeminded professionals also minding their own business, fully understanding the necessity of absence of outside stimuli in performing high-grade work. Home is a very different thing. Home is where you rarely get that absence of stimuli.
What I saw during the pandemic when professionals that had offices were forced to work from home is that single people that lived alone transitioned into the new requirement the easiest. Those that had families at home had it extra difficult to adjust to the new requirement because schools during the global lockdown were also closed. So children were at home too, and of course parents had to be with their children first.

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drsavvina profile image
Savvina Drougouti

Well said, Dimitar! I have been working 100% remote since the beginning of the pandemic, and I find this awesome. Heavy traffic, high gas prices, as well as open work spaces can strongly impact productivity and motivation. As a recruiter I advocate the fully remote working model to stakeholders, because I see people massively prefer to work from home.

Savvina Drougouti
IT Recruiter & Project Manager

👉 Follow and connect with me on LinkedIn for future open remote positions and fresh career content.

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dimitarstbc profile image
Dimitar Stoev Author

I am glad to find out that there are recruiters who are very open to this!

Usually remote work is considered, for most companies, a "bonus" and while you can work fully remote all the time.. people at the company look at you like you are "pretending" to work at home..

I prefer the hybrid model, but if a person prefer 100% fully remote, so be it!

Connection send!

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lockykeaney profile image
Locky Keaney

Currently back in the office after being 95% WFH for a long time. We are full hybrid, but with talk of moving the office, so it's barely set up with the expectation that everyone will be home. Now I can't plug into an external monitor. Damn Mac adaptors.

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frosty21 profile image
Nathan Froese

My positive is from having Covid being able to separate but still work. But the tools are still a long way for code pairing and for me it would be an issue long term because of the senior dev using a different ide and not use to doing it in vscode and sharing the server isn’t quite there yet.

It’s been a eye opener and has been less distracting as I’m a extrovert. But working in the office especially in a incubator has benefits in certain areas (unfortunately not in dev mentorship here yet)

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shammisharma profile image
shammisharma

If final outcome we are looking for is "productivity" then there should be no debate in whether wfh should be allowed or not.
Bcoz we all know that in the end all that matters is "Has the work been done ?".
then it also comes to personal preferences of employee.
The only time when employer should have say in this matter is "if productivity is going down".
As for juniors for taking help from seniors there are so many tools around that proves even more beneficial than taking help in person.

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atulcodex profile image
Atul Prajapati

Add few images :)

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dimitarstbc profile image
Dimitar Stoev Author

I will keep it in mind for future articles.

Thanks for the feedback!