I don't like remote working

Matteo Joliveau on October 09, 2018

I feel like I'm the only developer in the world that truly enjoy going to the office every morning. I like my colleagues, sometimes we have sush... [Read Full]
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I can understand you and that's okay to say that you don't like remote working. We do the same things in the office. We have a table soccer, a Xbox, eating together etc. and mostly, it's a lot of fun.

Nevertheless, I prefer remote working and let me explain why:

First: commute

I have to commute 2,5 hours every day for work with the train.
For the last years, it was ok for me to do this. But someday, I thought
about it how much time I lost, only to commute.

  • That's are 52.5 hours every month (21 workdays). That's mean, I'm over 2 days in the train every month to commute to work and home.
  • I have ~220 days to work per year. I sit in the train for 22 days per year, only to commute and after 10 years, I sit a whole 'workyear' (220 days) in the Train :)

Second: productivity

  • I'm much more productive when I'm at home because nobody distracts me.
  • Often, I start 1 hour earlier to work.

Third: Better time management

  • Appointments for example.
 

I'd humbly add a Fourth: Inclusivity

Teams that are IRL as a policy exclude people with certain disabilities

It also excludes some parents of young children who might not have childcare options for a variety of reasons.

And there are compelling economic/business arguments to be made in favor of fostering inclusion in the workplace.

win-win-win

 

Teams where some people work remotely and some don't end up a bit us-and-them too :(

 

I love working from home, I feel like I get so much more done, with (different, not fewer) distractions.

I currently WFH 3 days a week, which I am exceedingly thankful for, given I have an hour+ commute each way.

 

Great topic!

I really struggle to see the appeal of remote working or even working from home. For context I have no family commitments and live in a big city with a thriving tech scene so have no reason to do so.

I worked for two years in an office with 12 hours difference from the people in head office and really struggled. I like being able to spin around to a colleague and collaborate, build those relationships and find I get distracted without being in the office in ‘work mode’.

Remote working is not for me right now.

 

Considering I am an extrovert, when I started working remotely I thought I would hate it.

Surprisingly to me, I have loved it. I think that I lucked out with a company that knew how to do it right, which made it a lot more enjoyable.

When I hated remote - it was because people didn't have the support or the infrastructure to support remote developers as they needed. Also, the company did it because there was so much demand for it, but executive leadership wasn't really sold on it. They didn't have the technology to support reliable one on one meetings either. Because people were so "face to face," it was also really hard for me to get answers when I was remote to a quick question.

A lot of this changes when the culture is built around remote work. For the most part, my current company has a culture of quickly responding during your work hours. Our conferencing software is reliable. If Slack isn't good enough for collaboration, people are totally willing to jump on a conference call casually. Also, because I am an extrovert who also values (too much) my own productivity, I used to get stressed out working in a billable setting and getting distracted talking at the coffee machine. Losing that hour when I was billable really stressed me out.

Now, as I am starting side hustles, I have seen even more value out of working remote. I am able to focus on those side hustles while still having some semblance of balance in my life since I don't spend 1-3 hours a day commuting.

 

The main reason I like working remote is not having to commute. It puts a lot of extra stress and costs on me and my car. Traffic here is very difficult and public transit options are poor, really nonexistent out where I live. If I lived about 5 or 10 minutes away from my office, it would be different but since commuting takes about 2 hours out of my day, I welcome chances to work from home.

However, I do sort of work remotely anyway, from the office. The company has 4 locations in North America with developers in 3 of them plus a team in India. My boss is located in a different location. We do a lot of collaboration over Skype, including daily stand ups, but, sometimes, it would be nice to be in the same location.

 

It's not for everyone. We just hired someone who said he preferred working in an office over working remotely.

On the other hand, I prefer remote. I'm currently working four days a week from home with one day in office, and pushing for full remote. I live about 35 miles away from the office. The commute is a big reason for me - 70 miles a day and a minimum of an hour and a half (easily doubled if there's construction or an accident on the freeway). Costs (wear and tear on the car, currently about $10 in gas every trip, etc.) and time lost add up quickly.

The time lost really hit me not too long ago. I was a dental tech for 15 years, with an average commute time of 35 minutes each way for that entire time. With a little variance, I realized I lost 6 full months of my life to commuting. I'll take remote for that reason alone.

I also like the freedom of not being restrained to a desk or a clock. When I'm in the office, I can easily sit at my desk for 4+ hours and not move. I'm trying to be more health conscious and active these days, and sitting that long is counterproductive to that. When I'm working away from the office, I'm free to do a lot more, such as going to my kids' events (I'll be at a school meeting this morning that I wouldn't be able to go to if I was in the office), have lunch with my wife, etc.

I've also found that I tend to be more productive out of the office. Office time tends to be filled with interruptions and meetings. Out of the office, even when I'm working from a coffee shop (which I often do - it fills the social aspect of an office without the pressures of an office environment), I can block out distractions and noise since they almost always have no relevance to me (whereas an office distraction has a possibility of being relevant).

 

You're not alone. I work on site, and I ❤ it. Just like in everything, I believe that balance is the key. Working remotely provides a great deal of flexibility, but interactions become more transactional. Working on site is good for social engagement and knowledge sharing, but the commute can be a waste of time. Co-working cafés can give you the best of both worlds. That's where I go when I need skip the commute.

 

My opinion is quite biased since I never worked remotely but I'd definitely like to try.

Unlike you, I don't particularly enjoy working on site because I don't have the whole "social and fun" thing here: I basically sit at my desk in my office for the whole day and I rarely see anyone for more than a few minutes. No coffee time chat (no coffee time at all actually), no lunch together, etc...

I'm quite ok with all this (meaning: that's not an issue that would get me to leave or anything) but in the end of the day, I could do the exact same thing from home, and probably more efficiently.

 

I work (sync) remotely.

Remotely, you're individually more productive because you can manage distractions better.

But that also means if communications suck, you'll work on the wrong things, so increased productivity is useless.

You can be partly remote (WFH), full sync remote and async remote (multiple timezones). Each has some trade-offs and highly depends on the software you're producing, which is influenced by Conway's law.

I do prefer working on site to socialize with my coworkers and collaborate better. I also wouldn't have the opportunity to work in my current (and previous) job if it wasn't remote. I compensate the lack of socialization by going (and organizing) meetups and just going out more often.

The trade-off for me is still highly positive for being remote.

 
  • Commuting: Expending my time, effort, and resources for an activity required for work but not compensated for it.
  • Office Culture: Can be hit or miss. The hits are great (as you pointed out), however the misses are oppositely as bad.
  • Schedule: Life happens. When you have to wait a week for the cable company to come fix your service, then wait for 4 hours...and they don't show up. Well, you did not schedule the next day morning off from work so now you get to wait two more weeks 'cause your 1/2 day of vacation needs approved.
  • Child care: The flexibility of WFH makes it much easier to do the upbringing tasks.
  • Craftsmanship: Craft workers have (or use to have) workshops. I am a craftsman, my workshop is my desk; that desk happens to be in a room attached to home.

That all being said; I feel like WFH vs Office boils down to 'right tool for the right job' decision from management.

 

As others has mentioned, it depends on several aspects such as company culture, individual personality, home environment and so on, commuting...

Therefore, I just want to add that for some countries working from home also mean a salary raise compared to local companies.

 

You are not the only one, but I think that most of of your stated reasons are superficial, you can play games and have fun with your real friends or passionate players (as in, most of the cases, the coworkers are just colleagues, a relationship that will end at rehire).

Don't get me wrong, I worked in gaming studios, we had all these things too, my commute was 20min, but others are not so lucky. Maybe they have lame offices, bad karma and a long expensive commute.

I think that chitchat and knowledge sharing can be done trough calls also, I guess it depends on the people.

Also I found that some teams (and other companies as-well, that do not allow remote and make billions of $), are more productive onsite. We had to respond and pivot quickly, you cannot do these with a timezone difference.

And most of the people I know, that are not used to remote, they would be a lot less productive without their boss in the room.

From all the articles I read I think that best remote teams can be more productive than best on site ones, but most of the onsite teams are more productive than most remote ones. And I mean general mixed teams, not all of them being developers writing code in their bubble.

 

I've never really done it for more than a couple of days at a time so I don't know how I'd get on. But given that my dream job is basically Jack's job from The Shining I reckon I'd be ok on my own.

I do like working in the office though. I have a desk there with three screens (well, two big monitors and the laptop screen) whereas I just have the laptop if I take it home overnight. Working with workspaces on a Mac is a chore (though they have gotten better over the years and are now on a par with any random Linux DE from about 2010...)

I'm sure I'd eat better at home, too. I can't ever be bothered to make extra food to take in, so I end up eating junk at work. At home I like to cook.

I have a crappy hour-and-a-bit commute each way and would like to get that back.

So I'm happy-ish working in the office, but I'd like to give remote working a proper go, and I'm thinking about trying to convince my work to let me have one day a week at home.

I haven't mentioned people, because, meh, people are people over slack too. I don't feel the need to see faces all the time.

 

Thanks for sharing perspective. When the stars align like that, it's great to have a positive working environment.

There can be cases when the office culture is constricting, or there are piles of long, pointless meetings. In those cases, would you rather work remote, or would you just look for a different company?

 

I enjoy both, but at home I have no desk and sitting too long on the dining table isnt comfortable. But, I only have 30 mins to work by Bike. If I had a longer commute, I'd be at home more often.

 
 

I was feeling the same way but after my son was born the extra time from not having to commute + being able to spend lunch time with my family totally changed my opinion.

 

I agree, but the time spent going to the office is quite big, so even though i like going, is not the most efficient option for me :(

 

You could consider going to a co-working space. I am remote from the past 4 months and I am loving it. I use a co working space few days a week.

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