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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?