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WSJ: There's An 'Inexorable' Trend Towards Working Remotely (foxbusiness.com) 226

The Wall Street Journal reports that the trend towards remote working "is inexorable" in America's labor force, with 43% of workers now doing at least some of their work from home (up from 39% in 2012), and 20% now working entirely from home (up from 15%). An anonymous reader writes: Besides lowering an employer's rent, telecommuting also makes employees happier, which helps with both recruiting and retention according to the Journal. Automattic, maker of WordPress, is able to have an almost entirely remote workforce of 558 employees spread across more than 50 countries. But it depends on getting the right set of tools. Automattic uses Slack for conversations, Zoom for videoconferences, "and its own internal system of threaded conversations for documenting everyone's work and for major decisions." One of the company's "happiness engineers" even says online communicaton has created "radical transparency," since it's possible to read and search through internal communcations. Just remember that not every job can work remotely, according to Dell's chief human resources officer. "Engineering, leadership, R&D, sales and customer support -- those are roles that don't lend themselves very well to remote work."
It'd be interesting to hear the experiences of Slashdot's readers. Anyone want to share their own experiences with working remotely -- or of working with remote co-workers?
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WSJ: There's An 'Inexorable' Trend Towards Working Remotely

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  • by jez9999 ( 618189 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @03:50AM (#54549921) Homepage Journal

    I know some people think that going into the office helps productivity or something through face-to-face communication, but I haven't had that experience at all as a developer. You're sitting there in the huge amounts of traffic congestion, thinking what the heck is the point in all these people moving from A to B when they could be working from home? Then you go into the office just to be distracted all the time (to different degrees, depending on how badly designed the office is - the open-plan office is the worst).

    From now on I'm really trying to demand a majority of time home working from any new job up front, if I can get it.

    • by DiSKiLLeR ( 17651 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @03:57AM (#54549935) Homepage Journal

      I really like coming in to the office.

      I like the social aspect. I like the morning coffee on the roof terrace, I like the free breakfast, free lunch, just the amazing food, and seeing the people you work with face to face.

      But am I more productive in the office? FUCK NO.

      All the distractions and annoying people, I am 100% more productive when I work from home. But it' just more lonely, and I miss out on the free food. So I choose to go in. It's also good exercise walking to the office.

      • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @05:02AM (#54550061)

        This.

        It's almost like I go to the office when I know I have no deadlines hanging over my head to hang out with the other guys...

      • by computational super ( 740265 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @09:57AM (#54551059)
        I go in to the office because I know my wife and kids won't follow me there.
        • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

          I go in to the office because I know my wife and kids won't follow me there.

          I've known several people like this and they all got divorced or had severe marital problems. It's a warning sign. You shouldn't ignore it.

          • Maybe his wife is ragging and his kids are teens...then it's perfectly normal. If it's all month and the kids haven't turned rotten yet, then it's him.

      • "I really like coming in to the office. I like the social aspect "

        Turn in your nerd card.

        "All the distractions and annoying people "

        OK, you can have it back.
      • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

        I really like coming in to the office.

        I like the social aspect. I like the morning coffee on the roof terrace, I like the free breakfast, free lunch, just the amazing food, and seeing the people you work with face to face.

        But am I more productive in the office? FUCK NO.

        Yup... that's a big problem. Extroverts like going to the office to satisfy the craving for social interaction and it has absolutely nothing to do with being productive. Couple this with the problem that many leaders are ENTJ extroverts, and you will see bias towards exactly what you describe for no good reason.

      • OK, you get free food at work. You have a comfortable lounge.
        You are also within walking distance. I could see a lot of people actually enjoying working in the office with those two perks.

        Imagine all the poor bastards who have to either pack their lunch or waste a chunk of their paycheck on take-out food, burn 30-60 minutes and a few gallons of gas in traffic, only to go to a cube farm with bad coffee and no place to relax.

        So it is notable that you STILL prefer working from home!

    • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @05:10AM (#54550093)

      Then you go into the office just to be distracted all the time (to different degrees, depending on how badly designed the office is - the open-plan office is the worst).

      The "collaborative flexible e-space open communication monkey house cage" is what killed working in the "office" for me. I cannot analyze kernel dumps while a salesman is blabbing on the phone next to me about the values of an SAP system integration package. Plus, in the flex model, your desk isn't even your own . . . no personal pictures, awards on the walls or useless toy gadgets on your desk. Every morning it's a game of musical chairs to find a desk.

      Now some management up in the stratosphere somewhere thinks it will be better to rein in everyone again. Fine. I'll do it. Just give me back my private office that I used to have. Oh, you won't do that because it would cost too much? Then you'll just just have to find another perk to offer me. Remember, when you switched to the office-less system, you changed my contract to include the perk of the work at home option, to balance off the loss of the office. Forcing me back into the office will require you to change my contract again . . . which I will accept and sign . . . in exchange for something of worth. Please try to be creative.

      In another few years, working at home will be "fashionable" again anyway, and we'll all be booted from the office yet another time.

      Oh, and TFS mentions the role of "happiness engineer" . . . I'll take that job! I'll spend the entire day forcing folks to swallow Ecstasy pills and spraying Oxytocin up their noses. Note, Oxytocin is not to be confused with Oxycontin. Dr. House was such a grouch because he was taking the wrong stuff. Oh, and for a hoot and a half, try to watch Dr. House dubbed in German. I watch the original English on French TV (go figure), and he sounds like a bit of a dork. In German, his voice sounds like gargles in the morning with a cocktail of cheap whiskey, rusty razor blades and cigarette stubs.

      • by unixcorn ( 120825 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @09:15AM (#54550847)

        "collaborative flexible e-space open communication monkey house cage"

        My boss is planning a new office space. They hired an architect. While they all walked through our current monkey cage, I heard them talking about how an "open office area" really enhances productivity. However, I don't see it. Not at all. It's distracting and annoying. Now, having a private office AND a communal space would be ideal but that would be way too expensive. So we try to copy Google and the like, only to fail because the folks planning the office don't have to work in it.

        • 0. In most cases, open plan is a real estate play. More workers in less space. They already are distracted, the cause is changed. Workers adapt or fail.

          1. Open plan isn't really new. read up on the offices of the mid-late 50s and early 60s. Now add a cloud of cigarette smoke, clattering typewriters, and trips to the water cooler to yuck it up about the Yankees, that new girl in the pool, and why the new guy won't talk to anyone. Oh, and the boss sucks, the industry sucks, your pay sucks, management sucks, a

          • by tsstahl ( 812393 )

            The fedora made all of that possible.

            Kennedy killed the fedora, and the office went to crap.

            --had to go with humor because your post is too spot on.

        • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

          "collaborative flexible e-space open communication monkey house cage"

          My boss is planning a new office space. They hired an architect. While they all walked through our current monkey cage, I heard them talking about how an "open office area" really enhances productivity. However, I don't see it. Not at all. It's distracting and annoying. Now, having a private office AND a communal space would be ideal but that would be way too expensive. So we try to copy Google and the like, only to fail because the folks planning the office don't have to work in it.

          "collaborative flexible e-space open communication monkey house cage"

          My boss is planning a new office space. They hired an architect. While they all walked through our current monkey cage, I heard them talking about how an "open office area" really enhances productivity. However, I don't see it.

          "Open office area" is similar to factory floor. You usually see a caves and commons type of set up. Managers in the caves (outer perimeter offices) and grunt workers all in the center, easily visible. This is to make grunts fear being perceived as a slacker for fear of losing their job. This only works when jobs are scarce because the "free market" of jobs would sort it out if workers had more choices. They would pick the jobs that didn't have the shit office spaces filled with micro-managers. People

      • For me as a business owner, paying (on average) 10% of payroll for office space is just stupid, especially when average commute times are about an hour each way. We had to open a second office in the same metro area because too many people were at two hours commute time. That just reeks of poor value.

        But, mentoring junior engineers is a problem when all the senior staff is remote. The financial equation is also worse when the average salary of in-office workers drops, but rent stays the same. The only wa
    • You're sitting there in the huge amounts of traffic congestion

      You are basing your entire experience on a crap office.

      • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

        Most businesses seem keen to locate their offices in the business districts of large cities... When you have densely packed offices in one area which all open at the same time there will always be huge traffic congestion at opening and closing time.

        I would be far more inclined to come into the office if it was located somewhere i could find reasonable affordable housing nearby.

        • Your real estate needs and your employer's real estate needs are fundamentally incompatible. One of you has to compromise more than the other.

          Guess which.

          • Previous company I worked for had the stated idea of putting their offices in a densely packed downtown location. The issue is (I was aware of the financials on this) that there were several areas in the suburbs with more than adequate office space at far cheaper prices.

            The reason the plan fell through? Some of the old timers (people within 5 years of retirement) would have been inconvenienced by having to go an extra 15 minutes to work. It had nothing to do with real estate requirements and everything t

    • by __aanljs7351 ( 4980959 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @05:17AM (#54550115)
      I find that when I work remotely I end up just posting random bs on slashdot all day. Don't get me wrong - I get the minimum amount of work done to not get fired, but I don't exactly get recognized either. Usually I exaggerate simple things and think everyone believes me. I feel in the back of my head my boss probably knows more than I do and sees through my bullshit. He still lets me do this - maybe because he himself doesn't care, or it's a seat that needs to be filled, and honestly at this low tier of skill, there aren't a lot of good resources available - they'd be doing something else if they were good. Anywise - for people like me - working from home completely destroys our already not so great productivity. People better than me, especially on this site - I don't really know. Out of my peers I'm pretty much at the top of the food chain. They're not slashdotters though, and they don't have CS degrees. They're mostly blue-collar C-students who read CDW catalogs and know different electronic trinckets, but nothing about actual electronics. I'm really the only one who's reached the slashdot level of nerdness, and thanks to the remote work, I don't get fired for being here all day.
    • I've worked remotely for 7 years now and there's definitely a mix of home time vs office time but that's nowhere near 40 hours a week in the office. Thinking about getting up every day at the same time to go sit an office interacting just to interact with people ~1 hour a day seems so archaic.

      Additionally I find that I have more time to myself and to work by not going into the office. Ignoring the obvious time savings from commuting, regular errands take much less time because I'm not trying to do them at p

    • I know some people think that going into the office helps productivity or something through face-to-face communication, but I haven't had that experience at all as a developer.

      You say that as if it is an opinion. It's a fact for most people, myself included. Most people are not IT workers and even fewer are software developers. Working remotely can work just fine for IT work in many circumstances. You cannot generalize that however.

      You're sitting there in the huge amounts of traffic congestion, thinking what the heck is the point in all these people moving from A to B when they could be working from home?

      You are assuming they would spend the time they currently spend commuting doing additional work for the company. Generally not true in the majority of cases. If they are paid hourly (around 60% of workers are) then you would have to pay them for

      • by tsa ( 15680 )

        This. I was a researcher back in the day and even writing articles at home was not very effective because I often had to look up stuff or ask colleagues about things. I also found that many things at home were even more distracting than collegues and other stuff at work. So I was not fomd of working from home.

    • I know some people think that going into the office helps productivity or something through face-to-face communication, but I haven't had that experience at all as a developer. You're sitting there in the huge amounts of traffic congestion, thinking what the heck is the point in all these people moving from A to B when they could be working from home? Then you go into the office just to be distracted all the time (to different degrees, depending on how badly designed the office is - the open-plan office is the worst).

      From now on I'm really trying to demand a majority of time home working from any new job up front, if I can get it.

      This only works in some settings, and not in others. If you work in a defense contract, you will most likely not be able to telecommute. Working on commercial "shrink-wrapped" product development, that's another challenge. Other types of work that are purely sysadmin, L3 support, or development (near to no contact with product owners) then that it is possible (and even desirable.)

      I think the bulk of software development will go this way. And there are many other jobs that have been done remotely (bill p

    • Well the problem is most "Offices" are a big collaborated environment, so we can get our face to face communication, read body languages, really discuss and understand. However they have also gone too far. Because after we are done collaborating we just need to sit down and get it done. That is where working at home could become handy. Unless your home has more distractions then your office.

    • by sbaker ( 47485 )

      For me, "going into work" means 6 hours of flight time, changing planes once - a hotel room for the night - a day at the office, stuck in a cube that is soulless because only people like me use it - then another 6 hours and a plane change to get home again. So I've only actually been to my companies offices twice - once for my interview and again for tech orientation!

      It's definitely not necessary for motivated workers.

    • by MobyDisk ( 75490 )

      How do you do design discussions?

      I am an introvert, and I love getting into the coding zone. But I don't get how you can design software remotely. Design sessions are typically 2-3 people in front of a whiteboard, sharing a keyboard and screen, vehemently discussing things with our hands, eyes, and voices. Having worked remotely for 3 years, there was just no good way to collaborate on design. People silo'd, vanished for hours or days, and efficiency suffered.

    • Most of my time is spent answering questions. I think I end up doing most of my work between 5-6PM once everyone has gone home but I still enjoy coming into the office. I wouldn't want to work from home.
  • wsj has lost it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 05, 2017 @04:02AM (#54549941)

    credibility, that is.

    several years of anti-net neutrality articles and opinion pieces, including ones written by paid shills of the telecom industry. (don't believe me, do your own research, it's not hard).

    would you expect anything less from news corp aka fox, the owners of this 'news' paper?

    find a difference source, regardless of the topic or article. news corp properties are nothing but half truths, fake news and poorly or completely unsourced articles.

    • several years of anti-net neutrality articles and opinion pieces, including ones written by paid shills of the telecom industry. (don't believe me, do your own research, it's not hard).

      The WSJ is a reliably right wing media source. It's not a far-right loony bin like Brietbart or even Fox News - they have better editorial control than that - but they definitely have a political leaning. I consider them about as far as you can go on a right wing perspective without completely sacrificing rational thought. I consider them sort of the right wing equivalent of the New York Times. Useful sometimes but shouldn't be your only source of info.

      As for doing their own research, you are wrong in

      • Being a right leaning news source. Doesn't automatically discredit it. I actually like getting a balance to the news just as long as it is thoughtful, and not propaganda.
        The problem for the right leaning media, is keeping their point of views interesting for people to pay attention. Left leaning groups find problems and offer to fix them, right leaning groups fear the fix is worse then the problem itself.
        It is much easier to show problems on the news and state the solution will fix it. As the problem is

        • Being a right leaning news source. Doesn't automatically discredit it. I actually like getting a balance to the news just as long as it is thoughtful, and not propaganda.

          Agreed. The problem is that FAR too much of the right wing media is nothing but fear mongering propaganda. The left has their versions too to be sure but the folks on the right have made an art form (and a ton of money) out of scaring conservative mostly-white voters. Fox News doesn't even pretend to have journalistic integrity. They simply spout whatever right wing talking points will keep their demographic of viewers glued to their channel. If this requires some talking face to shamelessly spout obvi

          • The WSJ generally manages to retain some semblance of journalistic integrity. Doesn't mean they are always correct or above reproach but they have a solid track record of mostly rational discourse and doing actual research to determine real facts. This differs sharply from companies like Fox News and Brietbart which have no discernible regard for truth unless it supports their existing ideology.

            Hunter S. Thompson summed it up decades ago, the WSJ is what people, from all over the world, read when they decide what to do with their money. If the WSJ didn't fact check or spun their news, somebody might end up losing millions or even billions of dollars because they were making business decisions based on false news. If that happened, the people with millions or billions to spend would have to find a new new source. This is why WSJ can be subscription only and float, they have the info people willing

  • "Engineering, leadership, R&D, sales and customer support -- those are roles that don't lend themselves very well to remote work."

    There's little point leaders being in the office if the people they are meant to be leading work from home...

    I find remote working useless for what I do, which is mainly getting people to talk to each other. It's far easier when people are all in the office to make them sit down and talk it out.

    Developer productivity is tricky. Some devs really do struggle with open plan offi

    • I consider the line from the Dell guy to be just a throw away response by a person who doesn't like WFH employees. Engineers most DEFINITELY can work well from home, if they have set up their work environment well. As you said, leaders have to deal with remote workers, either they do their job well or they don't. Sales often work onsite with the customers. R&D and Customer Support are probably the only two areas that require people in the office (or lab/workshop/etc)

      Bad, lazy employees will be bad and l

  • by Anonymous Coward

    and a few more companies who have decided that remote working is evil and they need to see everyone in the office every day just to make sure they are not slacking.
    And in other news,
    Buggy whip makers have reported an increase in orders from IT companies.

    My last employer decided that people had to be in the office 5 days a week. That office was a 2hr journey each way. The writing was on the wall. I took early retirement. 6 months later all those left were laid off and the whole IT department offshore

  • by wh1pp3t ( 1286918 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @04:32AM (#54550005)

    I've telecommuted for the past 14 years or so doing sysadmin, dev, and app support. It works for me because I have built an excellent report with my leadership team (they trust I will get my work done). My team communicates with Skype business mostly in group chats. However, we're all open for quick VoIP and screen sharing calls if needed to better address the subject. It is important to "over communicate" when you are the sole remote team member. Out of sight and mind will render good work fruitless (we all know shit work gains attention). I also ensure to include personal or friendly phone conversations with my team on topics unrelated to work so that we are more personally invested.

    Having a couple young children, I built a detached office in my back yard with a standing rule - do not bother me unless someone is near death or beyond. Otherwise, call.

    It does get lonely at times, but being able to eliminate Southern California commuting so that I can be a part of my children's lives is well worth the solitude.

    • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

      Having a couple young children, I built a detached office in my back yard with a standing rule - do not bother me unless someone is near death or beyond. Otherwise, call.

      This is why I would find it very hard to work remotely. I don't have space, money, or legal means to build a separate building on my property. There's no space in my house that is available, let alone isolated enough to prevent distractions. I personally NEED to be isolated to separate my family/personal life from my work life. And anything

      • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

        At least around here, most employers are concentrated in a few small areas which contain pretty much only offices... Residential properties generally become smaller, fewer and more expensive the closer you get to these business districts.

        For the price of a small cramped apartment within commuting distance, i could get a large house with land a few hours away.

    • by Memnos ( 937795 )

      This. I've been primarily telecommuting for the last 20 years or so and there are a number of things you have to do to make it really work, such as the over-communication you mentioned. I do that even when the whole team, or the whole company, is virtual. Written communication ability really matters too -- making your ideas and your understanding of what is being done and what needs to be done very clear (by yourself and others) is key. As is written advocacy of your own viewpoint and contributions, if you

  • Where I work, the only person who gets to work remotely is the CEO (who is also the sole owner).

  • Just remember that not every job can work remotely, according to Dell's chief human resources officer. "Engineering, leadership, R&D, sales and customer support -- those are roles that don't lend themselves very well to remote work."

    *Indian accent* : hello you have been reaching Dell customer support. How may I be helping you today?
    Customer : Can I talk to an American?
    *Indian accent* : No. Thanking you very much and please come again.

    Bonus points if you just forgo the audio can get customers to just type into a chat box. You can replace your entire customer support division with Amazon's Mechanical Turk.

  • Engineering, leadership, R&D, sales and customer support -- those are roles that don't lend themselves very well to remote work.

    I really don't understand why ANY of the above requires more than a maximum of one day a week at the office. Engineering and R&D? I'll grant those for hardware work, where physical presence is the only way for multiple people to work on the same platform / prototype at the same time. But for software engineering and R&D, e-conferences and Git can take care of most of the requirements. Sure, sometimes there's no substitute for sweating it out together in a conference room with a whiteboard and someon

  • by mattmarlowe ( 694498 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @06:31AM (#54550283) Homepage

    Smaller companies designed for a large percentage of their critical employees being offsite can work great. This also has the advantage of being very contractor friendly...however, expectations have to be set and in person meetings should be used when possible to build better teamwork. This system works better for older employees.

    On the other hand, I've seen that the bigger the business, the more difficult it is to sustain a telecommuting culture. At the very least, you end up with a system where those who are onsite tend to slowly be promoted and replace those who are offsite. Employees that are junior and needing mentoring also benefit more from being onsite. And, unless management really pushes a telecommuting culture, or has a firm policy that every works x% onsite/y% offsite - being offsite is just too risky for long term career growth of senior staff.

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @06:36AM (#54550295)

    The Wall Street Journal reports that the trend towards remote working "is inexorable" in America's labor force, with 43% of workers now doing at least some of their work from home...

    In select industries among white collar workers perhaps but as a general proposition? I don't buy it. It's trivial to name entire industries where it isn't even possible to do much in the way of useful work from home even if you wanted to. Restaurant work, many types of nursing, manufacturing assembly work, maintenance, machining, retail sales, most farming, mining, foundry workers, drivers, etc. The list goes on and on and almost certainly accounts for well over half the work force. Unless they are talking about trivial stuff like answering emails etc from home the 43% statistic doesn't pass the smell test. I guarantee you that 43% of Walmart workers are not working from home.

    Remote working is a hugely useful thing and fits a lot of IT work nicely but it doesn't generalize to every job. Speaking for my job, aside from answering the occasional email I couldn't possibly do my job at home. (I'm the GM of a small manufacturing company) We have two people in our company that can usefully work away from the office some of the time - our sales and purchasing managers - and even they have to be in the office a good chuck of time. We might be able to expand that to select IT and accounting functions as we get larger and maybe certain bits of engineering but that won't cover anywhere near even half of 43% of our work force. Everyone else is pretty much as useless as tits on a bull away from the office, myself included. That's pretty typical of manufacturing companies.

    • by dj245 ( 732906 )

      The Wall Street Journal reports that the trend towards remote working "is inexorable" in America's labor force, with 43% of workers now doing at least some of their work from home...

      In select industries among white collar workers perhaps but as a general proposition? I don't buy it. It's trivial to name entire industries where it isn't even possible to do much in the way of useful work from home even if you wanted to. Restaurant work, many types of nursing, manufacturing assembly work, maintenance, machining, retail sales, most farming, mining, foundry workers, drivers, etc. The list goes on and on and almost certainly accounts for well over half the work force.

      Depends on what you mean by "work from home". I work for a company that does maintenance, machining, and manufacturing on large rotating machinery. Many of our machinists and welding technicians rarely or never come into the shop. They travel to the job site, do their work, and spend the rest of their time at home. All the VPs work from home or the road, and I personally don't have a real need to be in the office every day. We do have manufacturing, supply, and maintenance depots where people have to

      • Many of our machinists and welding technicians rarely or never come into the shop. They travel to the job site, do their work, and spend the rest of their time at home.

        If you are going to say someone works from home that means they actually do work they get paid for while in their own residence. What you are describing are essentially contractors that travel to a job site to do their work. Just because they don't work in the same place every day doesn't mean they work from home.

        It's not usual for executives and management to be able to do some of their work outside the office. This does not describe anywhere close to half the work force in the vast majority of compani

    • Currently you are correct about there being wide swaths of the workforce who can't work remotely even if they wanted to. Eventually though, we'll have remotely controlled surrogate robots that we can control from home to do any physical task that we can currently do ourselves. These machines will be stronger, faster, tireless, and have better reflexes than us. It will be a boon for the disabled and those who do dangerous work, but also a slippery slope as there will be the potential for us all to become
      • Currently you are correct about there being wide swaths of the workforce who can't work remotely even if they wanted to. Eventually though, we'll have remotely controlled surrogate robots that we can control from home to do any physical task that we can currently do ourselves.

        What color is the sky on your planet? What you describe will not happen within the lifetime of anyone reading this if it ever happens at all. Even presuming the technical issues are resolvable within the next century (unlikely) the economics of it are very unlikely to be feasible. Do you have the vaguest comprehension of how expensive robots like what you describe would be? You really think a worker in a minimum wage job is going to be able to afford such a device? I think you have a very fanciful noti

  • by McLae ( 606725 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @07:07AM (#54550357) Homepage

    OK, I will say it. The folks on the other end of the phone or Lync are voices. I have no idea what the ethnic makeup of my team is, and I do not care. As long as they do what is needed for my job, all good. I can guess, but why bother?

    WFH is true meritocracy.

    BTW, I am older white male, which is going to mean less as the years go by.

  • Let us leave the jobs that can not be done remotely, for now.

    Even when it is possible to work remotely, even though lots of people are more productive in remote work, there will be enough people who slack off, game the system by calling at 5PM or sending emails at 10PM to create the "impression" of working hard, and bring bad name to all remote workers. It is the job of the managers to really cull out the slackers and reward the productive ones. But managers are not upto this hard job. They get paid to do

    • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

      This argument falls flat. If you are the supervisor of these people, set milestones, and track them. If they're making them, great. If not, then deal with the issue. And if someone can crush it fast, and then slack off half the day, who gives a shit?

    • How many times have you seen that guy or gal staying way later than is necessary - simply to impress someone else?

      I've been in that environment and it sucks - it especially sucks when your manager is one of those types.

      The ultimate yardstick of productivity is getting shit done on-time with good levels of quality. Nothing else matters.

    • , game the system by calling at 5PM or sending emails at 10PM to create the "impression" of working hard,

      Aren't there people that already do this?

    • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

      Have you never worked with people who slacked off all day in the office and got nothing done?
      Or those who stay late to give the impression that they're working harder?
      Many people do both of the above, sit around slacking off in the office for a long time which fools people into thinking they're working hard when in reality they're on facebook or slashdot etc..

      Workers slacking off is not unique to home workers.

  • I started periodically working from home when our company launched a pilot telecommuting program back around '99. I found that, at the time, as a coder and small team lead, that we were actually being more productive on our work from home days, every Monday. We didn't have the frequent interruptions that we had in the cubicle farm at work, and we were able to communicate as much or little as we needed. It's certainly not for everyone, especially if you have pets, kids, a spouse, or other distractions at

  • Any GitLab employees here? Would be interested to know your experience working for a 100% remote company.
  • For the last 15 years, I worked from home and wouldn't have it any other way. It didn't matter where my bosses were, so was able to work for people in Singapore, UK, Australia, California and Georgia, USA. My team was all over the globe. The company could hire the best people for the job, not only those near an office. The team members had weekly teleconferences to stay in touch, used email and chat a lot and occasionally met in person. The meeting part is important. Just seeing your peers once and ha
  • Where I work, several employees do work from home because we have remote logins set up for everybody with a computer by default. We disabled this once and had people complain they were no longer able to do little things like respond to emails from home. While my employer tried to make the case for separating work and home life, remote login was enabled again to appease the employees and has remained enabled since. If you ask those employees, they would say they work from home. If you asked my employer, they
  • by sbaker ( 47485 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @08:45AM (#54550719) Homepage

    I'm a senior software engineer. I work from home because I'd otherwise have a 20 hour commute! The small company I work with has trouble finding qualified people where they are - and few will relocate to go there - so remote working was a necessity...and we embrace that.

    When I worked in an open office - (which I hated) we still chatted over Skype and email. I still chat over Skype and email. Technical communications don't suffer too much - but a really good replacement for a whiteboard (with audio and text chat) would really be wonderful. Random connections in the break room are missing - but because all tech discussions go via engineering Skype sessions, we are all able to see all conversations and everything is archived - which is actually vastly better than face-to-face. My productivity is definitely way up.

    On the plus side, I can have lunch with my wife every day - and that 15 second commute gives me back an entire hour out of every day. It's as if my life were 10% longer.

    My wife wanted to spend a week visiting her family - and I didn't particularly want to take vacation time off work to do it - so plan A was for her to go alone...but then it struck us..."Work from home" is really "Work from anywhere" - so we tossed my computer and a couple of monitors into the back of the car drove - during the day, I could still work - during the evenings and over the weekend, I could put in an appearance. Win/win! This is suddenly a very liberating thing!

    We did a bit of rearranging at home - so I have an office, with a door I can shut and a desk that can be as cluttered or as clean as I like. We installed a coffee machine and a soda fridge and a snack/office-supply closet...so there are less temptations to take random breaks or for people at home to interrupt me. When I'm "at work" people know not to interrupt me.

    I wasn't sure how I would like this - but I'd say that it's turning out OK.

    • I'm a senior software engineer. I work from home because I'd otherwise have a 20 hour commute!

      I'm a patent attorney at a large international law firm. At this stage in my career, I'm only rarely meeting with partners, and primarily oversee junior associates. Of those, half are in different states, and so we only "meet" via phone conversations or document sharing in Google Hangouts. All but two of my clients are in other cities, and I only meet with the two here in person once or twice a year (though we have monthly phone calls).

      Over the past two years, I've shifted to about 70% telecommuting, going

  • I've done 100% of my work from home for the last 14 years, and many of the devs on my team work from home as well. It's not for everyone, and you have to have good active communication skills. For me, going to the office means getting on an airplane. I love it, and I guarantee that the company gets at least 25% more work out of me this way.

    It's not for everyone. The lack of social interaction is a killer for some people, and obviously some jobs can't be done remotely. When it does work it can be a big w

  • by b0bby ( 201198 )

    I occasionally work remotely, as do most of my co-workers, but we only had one full-time remote worker. She had been working in the office but moved across the country, and we wanted to keep her. It worked perfectly well, though the general preference here is to come into the office. It helps that most of us have short commutes. Snow and things like that trigger remote working from the people with the longer commutes.

  • The whole point of the economy is to increase productivity. And eliminating commute time, miles put on a commute vehicle, parking spaces for commute vehicles, renting office space for staff, etc. is a huge productivity increase that's just ripe for picking. The only thing stopping it has been paranoia that telecommuting workers were less productive than workers who came into the office. As the difficult problem of how to maintain productivity while working from home gets solved, white collar jobs will in
  • I don't see many folks mention how they are subsidizing the company's infrastructure costs through power/utility usage and real estate. I understand some portion of that can be written off on taxes, but it's a non-trivial amount especially if as someone mentioned one builds on a dedicated addition or structure. What is the difference in cost to the employee of working from home?
    • by gatkinso ( 15975 )

      certainly less than gasoline in my case.

      I would have the internet anyway. Electricity is about $30 extra in the summer because the a/c doesn't get set higher during the day while we are gone.

    • Well, if you have a 30-mile round-trip commute 250 days per year, you are spending over $4k at IRS rates getting to work. A $12k "garden shed" office makes for a pretty good investment. Spending an extra $500/month on rent for an extra room may or may not though, depending on your tax bracket.
  • I guess I would have to disagree with Dell's chief human resources officer. Leadership roles are no more or less difficult for telecommuting. To think otherwise just seems bizarre. So if you lead or manage a team that is entirely telecommute, what benefit comes from having leads or managers or directors (et cetera) work from an office? They still have to use the phone or IM or email or videoconference to reach the people they are leading.

    As for customer support, is there really any better position to h
    • Indeed, I'd say Dell's HR head made a stupid and ignorant statement. Engineering including R&D, and part of customer contact for sales certainly can be done remotely, at my employer we've had videoconferencing demos by sales engineers of things we've later purchased. Engineering done by subcontractors who mostly work remotely is very common, so QED on that too.

  • My experience (in software shops) is everyone wants to work from home, except the bosses--who inexplicity link sitting at your desk with productivity. Until management changes how they manage, the debate will never be settled--regardless of how much data shows working from home is good.

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