But I hated working at home. The isolation was terrible, not to mention the challenges of working on project teams (even with Slack etc). I felt lonely and less motivated.
It is funny though, because my wife is the opposite of me on the social scale. She loves groups of people and social interaction. And yet she's fine working at home. Part of this I think is because she very much goes into her own world when working with how focused she becomes, so she doesn't even notice the isolation.
Your wife might be very social. Perhaps working at home gives her a respite from all of that social interaction, helping her to focus more. Some people struggle to focus and deal with interruptions in office settings.
You being an introvert may struggle to commute and form bonds remotely. You may feel like you read people better and connect better in person.
Now imagine there was something here that applied to more people. What it would mean is that smart managers should look to give workers environments that maximize their work and personality styles.
Humans evolved as social animals. Everything we've always done has been in groups. When you are growing up, you spend most of your waking time in the company of other people (school). The ones who don't, who are homeschooled alone, turn out "weird". Until the modern advent of telecommunications, working has meant being physically collocated with other people. Spending most of your waking hours alone at home is an unusual thing to do; we're not adapted for it, and it's tough.
100% telecommuting doesn't work for a lot of people, maybe even the majority of people. It definitely doesn't work for me. Coworking spaces are one solution, but I only have a short commute anyway, so I'm just going to go into the real office.
I'm an introvert. I wasn't home schooled. But extroverts think I'm weird because like the OP, I don't enjoy social events with people who aren;'t my friends, I don't enjoy large groups, and after a long day of work I just want to be home with my family or alone in silence to recharge. There are lots of people like me. The "weird" you see? Probably just different than what you're used to.
The approach should be that if you want to work remotely, you should. And if it doesn't work for you, then you should go to an office. We shouldn't force whole groups of humans to do things they are uncomfortable doing. You shouldn't be forced to isolate yourself if that doesn't work, but you shouldn't force me into sitting in an office when I could do the exact same job remotely and be more secure and comfortable.
And neither one of us should call the other "weird" for feeling that way.
This I can buy. However, you can have daily social contact. Significant others, friends, family, church, meetups, social outings, etc.
Homeschooled kids have social contact daily. So do people who work remote. Don't conflate hermits with remote workers.
The reason I personally can't stand to be in an office? The people who think that the office is where you get your social fix for the day.
> 100% telecommuting doesn't work for a lot of people, maybe even the majority of people.
You're probably getting downvoted (I had the urge myself) by the minority of people who find it to be an excellent fit. Maybe in previous generations we would have been sheepherders, cowboys, or explorers. Or maybe monks. I work remotely and I like social interaction, just much less than most people. If working in an office gives you 10/10 in social interaction, my preferred number is probably a 2. I'd be unhappy with a 1 but much more unhappy with a 10.
Maybe others feel like me. Or maybe given the presence of always on google hangouts and facebook messenger and slack and irc, they feel plenty social.
I consider lack of being face-to-face to be a legitimate drawback of my job, but it's waaay less of a drawback than being forced to live in a "tech hub" or have a commute. The power of being able to hire people who live more than 30 minutes away from your office is incredible.
And those in the public school system are juuuuusssst fine...
erm no, there are numerous accounts of people living ar ermits or away from the groups in History. why do you assume everyone has to live with the herd ?
Slightly less extreme, many cultures have had some sort of monk experience, where the monks do not live alone but often have some sort of highly restrictive vow of silence or something. It is certainly a thing in humanity that is popular enough to at times create social institutions for those who wish the rather different lifestyle, but it has also been a radical minority of people who choose it.
What's my point? Is there anything wrong with those choices? No. The point is that trying to arrange a social order that tries to push the majority of people in that direction isn't going to succeed.
I consider "everything is going to become telecommuting in the future" to be up there with "mobile games are going to completely destroy PC and console gaming". If it was going to happen, we should not still be speculating about it... it should be happening right now, visibly obviously, not something we have to go parse through trends and sort of squint at to see.
Do you have any sense of how many people who are forced to head to an office each day would rather not? Probably not. I know I don't. But that's because the majority controls how these people work.
Working remotely doesn't mean you're a hermit. If you are, your organization has a communication problem. I work remote and am able to get social interaction instantly with anyone in the organization.
Yes, I'd call it much closer to monk-like existence.
It still isn't what the vast majority of humanity is going to prefer.
The proof is that if there was some sort of massive preference for working from home, we should be seeing it now. The tech is here. The Internet is here. The computing power is here. All the preconditions would seem to be here. If what is missing isn't that humans don't generally prefer to be physically together in a group structure, what exactly is it? If the revolution is so inevitable, what's stopping it?
If the answer is "Well we need more VR that makes it feel like they are there", that's a goal post move. May be true, but still a goal post move. If the answer is "because $MANAGEMENT", what's going to change about that in the future, and why aren't the managers also eager to work from home if it's so inevitable? If the answer is "Well Americans (who are uniquely terrible in all the world) have this irrational desire to spend time in their car in gridlock because they love it so much" then I guess that's more inevitable than the move to telecommuting then, huh? I haven't got an alternate explanation for why this isn't already happening that makes any sense, other than, we are not generally psychologically suited to work that way.
While I WFH quite a bit, I have to disagree with this statement. For a lot of interaction modes, being remote still lacks a lot of the bandwidth (for lack of a better term) than in person. If you're working out a problem/presentation/etc. with a group, it's still hard to beat a conference room with a whiteboard.
Things are better than they used to be. Something like Google Docs can certainly help. But working with a group F2F, serendipitous encounters, informal interactions, etc. can be hard to replicate. And, again, I say this as someone who works remotely much of the time and doesn't go out of my way to commute, even though it's not a bad commute.
Maybe we'll have to wait until mind-integration VR becomes a thing.
And for technical communication, I'd MUCH rather have everything in writing via email. No, I don't want to call someone on the phone and have them read logs at me. I want a copy of the damned log file so I can look up what's happening with each message and figure something out, not to listen to someone ramble on the phone.
The most effective mix for me is going into the office on Monday, and getting all of the meetings and planning and face-to-face busywork out of the way, and then working from home the rest of the week. It's easily 2-3X as productive, and I'm just so much happier.
As with anything. YMMV. I've never been an ambitious person though, and my job to me is just a 'do what is needed, and no more' type of thing. I'm never out there trying to network or dig up leads on new opportunities either though, so if I wanted to do those things or were more ambitious I guess I could see the appeal of going into the office.
We (my wife and I) do get out quite a bit though, although we're eachother's best friend so we're not out socializing with out couples in our off time (thankfully).
Total conjecture but the people who I have seen struggle with WFH are the same people who don't have a social group outside of work, so WFH ends up meaning no social life and they become very lonely and isolated as a result.
For people who do have that social group, they tend to want to get the work done as quickly and efficiently as possible so that they can then spend time with their family and friends, ie the people they want to be around, not the people they have to be around to make money for their employer => themselves.
With family and friends you can talk about life and have fun. With coworkers, often you talk about work or things indirectly connected to work...
I'm curious to know if people with families have a different experience with it than single people. I'm a single guy in my mid 20's, and I suspect that if I was married and had kids at home the experience would be more positive.
I definitely think seeing my family around during the day is a big plus. I mostly start really early (around the same time I would normally go to take my bus), so I have a nice 10-15 minutes break with my kids, before they go to the daycare. My wife also just started a bakery and works from home mostly, so I have the opportunity to take small breaks during the day and spend some time with her.
Last but not least, I am more productive and on average create more value when I work from home, just because I start my day doing what I like the most and commuting.
Obviously, this is just an anecdote and everyone's case is different, but I think if you work from home and you're not alone, it shouldn't be as depressing and/or demotivating.
Positive, yes. But it's hard to be productive with young kids in the house.
Those aren't necessarily connected in the way that many people like to assert with such conviction. Many introverts (like me!) love parties and hanging out with friends.
Psychological terms like these get confused in common-speak all the time. I am always a little thrown off when someone describes an asocial person as "antisocial", without realizing that the latter means something very different and disturbing .
Extraverts on the other hand get energized by social interaction.
(Social interaction requires a lot of processing.)
Why ? It may be related to an organism's baseline of arousal.
The idea is that extraverts may have a lower baseline arousal rate, that they enjoy raising by interacting socially.
Introverts have a high baseline level of arousal, which gets raised too far by too much social interaction.
It is thought that extraverts are the majority making up 85% of the population, and introverts 15%.
This would explain why open office plans are the norm.
Ironically introverts often self select for work that requires deep focus, and end up having to do it in open plan offices designed by extraverts who see nothing wrong with that.
This is a good book on the topic: https://www.amazon.ca/Quiet-Power-Introverts-World-Talking/d...
Three comments to address your question specifically:
1. Note the "more often" in the definition. It isn't "always". As such, sometimes introverts are energized by their social time.
2. Given the spectrum of extroversion and introversion, some folks may be less extreme and therefore exhibit less stereotypical behavior for their archetype.
3. Extreme introversion (or extroversion) is not perceived as being pathological until it "causes impairment in functioning and/or causes significant distress for the individual" [ibid]. This might be in the form of detachment that has some surface level similarities to being an extreme introvert, but is actually quite different.
The common thread on left and right is the assumption that biking as transportation is an activity of the affluent and educated. I've always wondered if a social stereotype that is so widely held across different groups in society can avoid becoming true. Maybe the rise of the average of wages of people who bike to work shows the stereotype taking effect by inducing more and more well-off people to see biking to work as an appropriate activity for someone like them.
If they go too slow, they're slowing down traffic, if they go too fast they're a menace. If they're spandex clad, they're hated for their wealth, and if they're toting delivery food they're hated for their poverty. There's no winning.
Despite cycling being the obvious fastest and cheapest way to get around in a dense urban area...
Despite the fact that so-called cycling "infrastructure" (painting lines on streets that have to be repainted periodically anyway) costs basically nothing...
Despite the fact that every person on a bike is a person not using up space in a crowded train, bus, or car lane, despite the fact that adding bike lanes makes the streets safer motorists and pedestrians more than it does for cyclists...
Cyclists are literally risking their lives to make your journey better, and yet you hate them for it, because they confuse you.
I don't really understand it, but I wish I could.
Cyclists are the most vulnerable agents on the road. More than pedestrians (even a light touch or sudden appearance is enough to tip the bike). At the same time, they are usually the most reckless people on the road. They are happy to ignore traffic lights, passage priority, almost never signal a turn (when they do, I am applauding in my mind), and generally consider themselves invulnerable. Motocyclists can be reckless, but at least they stop at red and signal lane changes. Pedestrians are vulnerable, but careful. Cyclists are the worst of the both worlds. Yes, they risk their lives, but I am not happy to take their life and go to prison for nothing. There are rules for everyone on the road, including cyclists -- please do not ignore them, and we'll be happy.
As a pedestrian, I was nearly hit by a cyclist quite a few times while walking at the park. They are silent and can't be seen until the very last moment. I am also not happy about that. Some attach this ratchet thing to be more noticeable -- you are the real heroes. Unfortunately, I almost never see it in the wild.
If you want to see what it's like from the other side without getting out on a bike have a look at https://www.reddit.com/r/BikeCammers/
When I lived in Oakland and would bike to Pleasanton for work (26 miles one way, taking BART back), the infrastructure was far worse but the drivers never gave me any trouble.
Bike lanes aren't really for bikes - they're for cars. If a cyclist isn't afforded a lane, they'll take the rightmost lane for themselves. If enough bikes do this, that lane becomes unusable for cars. Rather than lose a whole lane to bikes, traffic planners cut off half to give to bikes, and give the other half back to cars.
I think it'd have to do because of things like getting a bike requiring a larger initial capital investment, plus there's the danger of it being stolen (which is smaller if you live in a nicer neighborhood).
This was my impression from the United States, too, but then numbers made me look again, and I started to notice a lot of people who didn't fit my assumptions. The image that makes me think "bike commuter" is someone briskly riding a practical, efficient bike with a laptop bag of some kind, so I was ignoring a lot of other people who are often not carrying anything, not riding very fast, riding an ill-fitting bike or one not particularly suited for commuting. It never occurred to me that those people might be riding to work.
If you correlate cycling with wealth and education, I suspect that the link with education will be much stronger. It might even be a bidirectional causality, with people who can't wait for earning their first car being much less likely to "waste" years on education.
Unfortunately, I don't speak another language well enough to search for statistics outside Britain and Ireland.
Outside of urban areas of the US, almost everybody drives cars, which are MUCH larger capital investments (and a larger long-term expense) than bicycles, regardless of income level.
Except people here drive like maniacs. I was tired of feeling like I was taking my life into my own hands from people regularly going 20 or 30 over the limit and treating me like a road obstacle.
Off-lane bike paths are important. Sane driving practices are also important.
Maybe if they were protected. But, even then I'd still be hesitant. Drivers just don't care.
Have you been to the med?
In more absurd headlines: "A record 2.6% of American employees now transfer to their jobs INSTANTANEOUSLY."
"More Americans now work full-time from home than walk and bike to office jobs" sounds like context, rather than click-bait.
* not taking into consideration people living too far from work to walk or bike, which would skew numbers a lot, since majority of people can't walk or ride bike to work because it's not within reasonable distance
I miss the social, in-person part, but I spend more time with my family. And we have enough calls, IM's, and occasional in-person meetings that I'm satisfied. But then again, I've also been known to not go outside for a full week and it doesn't phase me. ...which reminds me, it's Spring. I'm going to go take 5 to lie down in the grass in the backyard and watch the clouds until my next meeting starts. :)
I really wish I had your same relaxed feeling about social interaction. More than being outside, it's the random social interaction I miss. I notice more and more it's having a negative impact on my health. I feel less motivated, less energetic, and downright depressed some days.
I attribute it to the fact that, like you, I can go a full week without going outside... But unlike you, it really is starting to hurt me. In a given week, I'll have face to face conversation for as little as 30 minutes. I've never considered myself a very outgoing, or "extroverted" person, so this has all been something of a surprise to me. I would never have thought that random social interaction could be so important (for me).
Many Europeans nowadays can't reach property prices in cities and are forced to live in suburbs where they end up commuting by cars, same as Americans (I can see that in my family, my sister and cousin rather build house outside and drive cars + switch to train, personally I am against this since I don't want to be taxi driver of my children, so I opt for apartment in city in walking distance to subway, but I am the weird one because I prefer apartment over holy grail - own house, but my sister can enjoy her 1 hour commute and she is extremely lucky her work is next to train station, otherwise it would be like 1.5 hour one way which I say no thanks, I didn't travel that much even in pretty big Beijing).
Pittsburgh, PA: http://en-us.topographic-map.com/places/Pittsburgh-800970/
San Francisco, CA: http://en-us.topographic-map.com/places/San-Francisco-92496/ (note that the entire scale of the Copenhagen map fits in the bottom 1/6 of the SF map)
Now I'm dragging a set of clothes/shoes, soap, towel/rag, hair brush, razor, shaving cream, etc to work? Probably should wear sandals in the shower unless I want foot fungus. Then what do I do with my wet towel and stank clothes? Stuff them in a bag where they stink worse? Hang them in my cube?
Then I head home and have to put on my stank clothes and get all sweated up again. Time for another shower I guess.
And that's not mentioning the time in transit, probably an hour a day round trip by bike. This is why I live close to my work. I can drive there with all the street lights and park, portal to portal in 10 minutes.
This is my opinion and it may ruffle some feathers but if it takes you 10 minutes to go from door to door in a car and you don't have a disability, you shouldn't be driving to work. At least not every day.
/I call Phoenix, AZ home...sigh
In the US we don't have the bike path system yet. Riding a bike in a US city is insanely dangerous.
/dead serious here
Could working remotely reach a tipping point where it becomes the default? I could see it happening in the next 20 years, the advantages are too numerous. Most of the downsides are typically related to the inherent friction between onsite and the offsite workers, meaning companies that start out as remote-first will have a big advantages over companies that later add remote working options.
I think once working from home is the norm something will have to exist to allow for meeting new people besides the status quo.
I like how he explained his experience. He said that working from home removes many of the day-to-day negatives, such as a boss on your case and having to wake up even if you feel terrible. On the other hand, he said working from home also removes many of the positives, in particular, working with other motivated people.
I've tried for a couple of years now to get a group to work on side projects. The idea was to use video calls to meet and then work in a decentralized way. I've found it to be very difficult to keep the motivation high. Projects just starve to death. I wonder how different it would be if we had met in person.
That's never fit my definition of work though. Work is where I go to work, to get stuff done with motivated people. I mean, I'll be friendly with coworkers, sure... but I didn't necessariliy choose them. Kinda like highschool or college - these people are around because they were placed there. A friend of mine called this "Friends of geographical convenience" once. I have lots of people I get along with at work... but would I invite them to my daughter's wedding? A child's graduation? Would I loan them money if they were desperate? Would I help them move? Could I count on them to help me in troubled times? Probably not, cos people move on from jobs pretty quick. Work friends are kinda like Facebook friends. My real friends and I share more common interests than just computering. ;)
That said, I do have a couple of friends I met through work. But that's different than using work to find friends, I think.
Maybe I'm wrong. I don't know. Just thinking out loud I suppose.
I like this. Because it could lead to some interesting demographic shifts as more people go remote and where they live becomes less important to work, and more important for other things, like making friends.
For example, I like pro wrestling. I know that wrestling fans are overrepresented in Orlando, FL. If I already work remotely, then it would make sense for me to move to Orlando to be around people who have similar interests.
This could apply just as easily to religion, politics, hobbies, and other things once income is less tightly coupled to geography.
You could talk to your neighbors...
When talking to companies I am always surprised by how many are not friendly to fully remote employees, even ones who work on online collaborative tools.
What's nice is that it forced me to learn how to make friends outside of typical environments (work, school). It was far easier than I realized, and now I regret not doing it earlier in my life.
I highly recommend board game meetups! There are lots programming related meetups as well.
The flip side is I also had weeks when I never left the house or really spoke with anyone, but as long as that's not your normal schedule it's IMO not a big deal.
PS: I know some people who really got into online games with that schedule. An MMO is not quite a social life, but it's easier to maintain if your hours get wacky vs. the local culture.
being immersed isn't enough, if anything it feels more alienating to me
This is a key difference if you don't have kids yet. I am rarely lonely, even if I never leave my house.
I have spent the last two summers working remotely from Europe. My favorite office was a houseboat in Amsterdam!
Its good for my wife and kids to go on trips too. I bring a extra screen and they (mostly) respect my workspace.
I am more happy and more productive after becoming remote. Its been 4 years.
It's harder to tell the worker you eat lunch with every day that you're laying him off than the worker you only know via video chat.
For those who are thinking of going fulltime remote, I recommend doing so at companies where everyone works remote, or on teams where everyone works remote. Freelancing and contracting can work too, if you don't mind the extra hustle needed to line up clients.
But being the only remote guy at a company full of cubicle dwellers is just asking to me left out of important discussions or being the first to be fired or blamed in times of trouble.
I'm sure there's some truth to it but I think it all comes down to perceived value. If you're in someone's face everyday reminding them of how valuable you are, it does make it seem you are more valuable. A remote worker or someone working in a satellite office is going to have a more difficult time tooting their own horn.
That said, I work from the main office and we have an additional three offices spread across three different countries and I don't feel that it would be easy to lay off someone in one of those offices anymore than it would be to lay someone off in my office. Each person has a specific skill they're bringing to the table and without them that work wouldn't get done.
Perhaps if there was real or perceived redundancy in job skills, the situation might be different but then you've got redundancy and if times get tough, someone has to go anyway. Now we're just talking about who. If there are 10 people on a team and only one of them works remotely, well, that might be the person who gets cut first but if you have 10 people and 4 of them are working remotely, you're back to the same issue of their perceived value to the organization. Whether working from an office or working remotely, the people who have done the best job at standing out are the least likely to get cut.
Don't make eye contact, eyes straight ahead, walk with a purpose.
Could I spare a few bucks sure. Do I waste money on myself sure.
I remember one time I was scammed haha. This old lady's like "You're a good boy, you had a good mother." Haha as they walk off with $20.00 for "gas" where I could have pumped gas into their car but insisted on cash.
Oh well I just think if it's my time it's my time.
Still, it was good exercise. Now that I WFH exercise has to be more deliberate.