The brutal fact is most companies simply re-brand outsourcing as "Remote" employees. Case in point, a few years ago, a DIY website builder (a company with a name of a coniferous plant species which I won't name directly) contacted me for a "remote" position.
I passed all their tests and we eventually went to the salary negotiation stage. I agreed to this interview in the first place because I read online they paid really well for their employees, particularly in the US (Bay area).
So, when we were discussing the pay, I threw in a number that's common for the Bay area employees and what seemed very, very reasonable for me. In fact, my current salary was almost the same, just so to make it clear to you that I wasn't trying to take advantage of them or anything.
Immediately, the founder got offensive and told me, "What? Are you serious?? You live in Asia (I was living in Singapore at the time, which already had better pay as opposed to PH), for our employees in Philippines we pay 1/3rd of that and I can still get the job done. Why would I want to pay you that salary?" I told him, "Well, this is what you pay your Bay Area employees, don't you? Besides, my experience more than matches the job profile and requirements and my test results just proved to you I am more than capable for this position."
His answer? "But, you don't live in the Bay area". I thanked him for his opportunity and advised him to contact some sweatshops instead of playing the "remote" game. Since then, I very very carefully ask anyone who uses the word "remote" a LOT of questions, qualify them if they really know remote isn't the same as outsourcing before even going into the interview.
I would have happily agreed to a lower salary if it was fair enough. But, asking me to go down to 1/3rd of my price because of where I lived in seemed ridiculous to me. In the last 10 years, I've lived in 7+ different countries and 35+ different locations within them as I'm that sort of person who likes to travel and explore new cultures. Basing my salary or worth based on where I'm from, where I live in at present seems the most ridiculous thing to me about remote work.
Edit: Typos and clarifications
For example in the UK if you live in London and earned £60k, according to GitLab's 'Move Calculator' in Bristol you would earn £42k, or in Brighton £38k. Yes there is a difference between the living costs, but there is not that much difference. A 1br apartment close to the center of Bristol is around £900/mo, and in London zone 2 around £1200/mo.
I've seen a lot of remote startups offering salaries around $100k USD, independent of location. For most of the US (outside hot areas like SF or NYC) and Europe that's a good salary, but what if the person you want to hire likes living in the middle of SF and doesn't want to move? For them that salary is going to be too low. I'm not really sure what is the middle ground here.
This is how you keep poor countries / states poor. Instead of paying people the same which would result in larger taxes paid and more spent in those locations you are keeping status quo.
It has nothing to do with your value and everything to do with what the company has to pay to get the talent it wants.
If lots of people are applying from a low-cost country, the employer is free to choose and thus, would be able to offer a lower salary. But from my understanding, employers want the same level of quality as they would get from the bay area, but insists on paying 3rd world wages if the remote is at a low cost of living location, even though there are very few other candidates suitable!
This is only true as long as remote jobs are so rare that the candidate is unlikely to find an employer who will pay non-location-adjusted compensation (even if that comp is midway between Bay Area-adjusted and Asia-adjusted comp), or more directly, to pay based on value added.
And… that statement is already not true for great (top 20th percentile?) candidates, and trending towards not true for candidates in the middle of the Bell curve. That is, a person with known skills and a good network can obtain offers from multiple remote-first/remote-friendly companies today. There's already a location-ignorant market for their skills.
As more remote jobs are available, more people will get multiple remote offers, that is, they'll find a location-ignorant market for their skills. The clearing price for their skills will trend towards the value they're perceived to add, even if it takes 5 or 10 years to get there. That perceived value isn't location-adjusted, particularly for remote-first companies trying to hire the best candidates or to hire as many great candidates as they can find (rather than to save compensation expense).
There will be the "location independent" companies that pay top dollar, and then everyone else who pays a "global market average". Top candidates will get the top pay, and everyone else, even if they live in the Bay Area, will have to fight for the "global market" rate jobs, meaning it won't be feasible to be a programmer in the Bay Area anymore (barring a solution to the California housing crisis).
Hmmm... this sounds very strange.
Getting a job is dependent on you proving how much value you'll bring to the company, but your pay has nothing to do with "your value".
Sounds like someone wants their cake and to eat it, too.
California taxes aren't higher because the average pay is higher... Someone making minimum wage pays the same for fuel as anyone else there. The taxes are higher because there are more social programs and generally it all costs more. the real estate in large parts of california are higher based on market desire. That creates side effects of people asking for and getting more money to work there, and it circles around.
Taxation as a percent of income is entirely down to effective spending. And often corruption. Maybe start charging Nestle fair value for all the water they remove from the state.
Colocated employees at the same skill level performing the same job aren't paid the same - employers and employees negotiate compensation individually.
In the UK it's particularly comical because a good number of people commute that far; I've had colleagues (Central London) living in places that according to GitLab should earn half as much.
The train takes 35 minutes to get into Waterloo... Commuting sucks, but it doesn't suck that much.
Interesting. This is roughly the amount they're offering contractors in Poland.
Everywhere in Poland on top of that, because it's considered a single region, so you could possibly live in a small town where rent is ~£250 and other expenses proportional to that.
If not a PO Box, some other proxy by which you aren't genuinely living there. Maybe just a short-term roommate lease situation?
It's almost a no brainer to me. If I can charge 3-4x more for the same skills that I have, why not. I'm not gonna take a huge pay cut just because my location changed. And there's almost no explaining involved.
At times when you can't go somewhere physically, sometimes you can tell your clients you're traveling this month. If something is important, you can take a flight. The amount that you're saving, the flight costs are negligible.
Also, what happens to a full-time remote worker who decides to move? If they tell their employer that they moved from SF to somewhere far cheaper, should that employer dock their pay? What if they're just temporarily moving (e.g. living abroad for a year, but returning afterward)? If you're going to work remote, it may make sense to rent for a month or so in SF to be present for interviews and then move back to wherever you want to live, which would essentially mean you "live" in SF for that period, so it wouldn't be lying.
I know that shit works because rich people do it for taxes all the time.
The middle ground is irrelevant. The market price will be determined by supply, demand, and the differences in productivity and other factors of remote programmers. They’ll meet somewhere in the middle between the current local labour market model and one where collaboration software and practices are so perfect that there’s only one market for programmers, the global one. But we don’t know where yet.
If that's too expensive, adjust your recruiting or hiring strategy. Maybe recruit bay area programmers that realize their current salary isn't sustainable since they need to plan for illness, retirement, saving up to launch an idea, etc.
You should always pay me for what I can do not where I live.
I think, the idea, is that in SF he'll have no problems finding jobs. They are looking remote because of shortage in SF. I mean according to them.
As long as it's within US?
The only fair way to adjust is based on value to the company, and what the potential employee is willing to accept. It isn't reasonable to use pay to remove the financial advantages of a candidate's choice of location, and then claim "you can now hire the best people on the planet in any particular function" as the original link does. If someone is among the best people on the planet, they'll likely be paid considerably more than the San Francisco average without regard to what their costs are.
One of the touted benefits of working remotely, for those who can, is exactly the ability to trade off the advantages and disadvantages of living in places with varying characteristics, and it's unsettling to have a company which claims to support and encourage remote work also be upfront about actively working against remote workers' ability to make these choices.
AFAICT, the flipside is that "flat global pay" is that then the company can't offer as compelling an offer to those in expensive areas. (i.e. if everyone paid a flat fee and you were stuck in an expensive city, then you would be penalised when looking for remote work).
How does that explain the large number of Bay Area, on-site-only startups?
None of these are perfect, you're never going to get two truly comparable locations when accounting for mortage/rent, groceries, cost of transport, cost of consumer products etc., but it's a whole lot better than mainly looking at one variable (rent).
Not for work where the employer isn't specifying a location constraint. For on-site work, while one can debate the exact ideal formula, location adjustments within a firm based on comprehensive cost-of-living makes quite a lot of sense.
1) one coworker who moved from the bay area to the midwest
2) another coworker evaluating NYC vs other potential places to live in the US
it seems like what Mozilla pays doesn't differ that much across their different US geographic salary bands. Both coworkers found it would be more favorable for them to take the small pay cut in exchange for a dramatic cost and quality of living difference.
And yes, someone from Mozilla confirmed here some time ago that they do differentiate salaries based on the country/region - they won't pay "US salary" to someone in Ukraine for instance.
I work for a big US company in the UK in a senior role and I get $150k approx. I work just outside London but I regularly have to attend meetings right in the City.
I'm going to move to Mexico before Trump gets his wall!
Anyway, the sad reality is that salaries are currently location based, no matter how you put it. At least until the world becomes a single economy, if it ever happens.
If it were a “nobody wants to live there” comp, I would completely understand. Supply and demand. But is London really ~twice as bad as Brighton? My lungs agree, but surely that’s not what the market thinks?
Pay people double to live on the South Pole, not San Francisco.
* Perhaps it is a rational reaction from companies to an irrational behaviour of the labour market, where the majority of devs expect it and get offended if you don’t. Fine. Whatever it is, it’s “free money”.
It could also be fair if they were to offer relocation to any place the employee picks, but even writing that sentence is ridiculous, why would a business act fair when they can exploit people?
Which is extra annoying, because working remotely means that at least two expenses may be pushed on you: office and hardware.
If you're me, and you live with just cats and love your vintage 2013 MB Pro, that might not be that much. But I also would get 80% of the benefit from a job that's just close enough to my home, doesn't have an open office, and doesn't enforce strict working hours. People who benefit more, like folk with families, also need to spend on a home with an extra room.
Desk, monitor, computer, chair, etc. Alternatively, offer a budget for a coworking space.
These kind of expenses are nothing compared to a monthly salary.
It's considered vintage already? I only just bought it 18 months ago.
Another issue is related to the time zones; things tend to fall apart if teams work across more than 4-5 timezones. I should be possible to organise teams according to time zones, but that creates a similar (although less disruptive) differentiation as co-location.
> I thanked him for his opportunity and advised him to contact some sweatshops instead of playing the "remote" game.
> asking me to go down 1/3rd of my price because of where I lived in seemed ridiculous to me.
I agree with the general principle that you shouldn't give massive discounts because you live in a lower cost of living area, but you're comparing it to a Bay Area salary as if that's the norm. It's a massive outlier. Going down 1/3rd of a Bay Area salary (I'm assuming a developer of some sort from context) still puts you in the top 1% or so of earners virtually anywhere in the world. Offering two thirds of a Bay Area salary certainly can't be described as a "sweatshop" salary.
Also it's worth considering that in this business your employees are hired to think. It is nice companies starting to realize that it's not needed to be present 100% in the time in an office to be able to deliver the thinking, but they also need to realize that my brain produces the same output no matter where I live.
This was part of my point: you're taking the Bay Area as the standard by which you're judging everything else. This is backwards. The Bay Area is an extreme outlier.
Yes, it's a personal preference. But if you choose to live in the Bay Area, your income requirements eclipse everybody else's. Everybody else can live extremely comfortably anywhere else on that kind of money. If you have the personal preference to live there, why should a business pay you more than everybody else everywhere else? It's your personal preference and it doesn't help the business in the slightest.
What's to stop me just moving somewhere cheaper after I get the remote job tired to location? Are they going to renegotiate with me? What if I just forward my mail and don't tell them.
Further still, there are always expensive areas in poorer places and cheaper areas in expensive places. Are these companies going to start auditing our finances before they discuss renumeration?
As an example, GitLab explicitly requires you to inform them and makes no guarantee about if and at what pay level they offer you a new contract.
> What if I just forward my mail and don't tell them.
Sounds like an interesting problem for the courts once they find out.
But at the end of the day, do we really think gitlab is going to dimiss or renegotiate with a performing employee rather than this being a loophole to get rid of someone they don't value?
Nothing, assuming I can find other people with the similar quality as you, but significantly cheaper because they live in lower cost of living area, why would I not replace you ?
I read "going down to 1/3" differently than "going down by 1/3". "going down to" leaves you with 1/3; "going down by" leaves you with 2/3.
They didn't; as the OP already mentioned, they went back and edited it.
I've been the employer. With any technology professional, I'm willing--and happy--to pay right up to the rough approximation of value I feel the team member brings. Most of the time, that rough approximation is, "Do I feel like the company is getting its money's worth out of this team member?" It's rare to find the same amount of quality among a number of team members, because everyone is unique and brings their own flavor of contribution to a team. Person A might bring a lot more to the planning, architecture, and direction of the project. Person B might be great at not only delivering code, but helping others do so, as well. Person C might be a royal pain to manage as part of the team. Person D might crank code out non-stop, but seems to create bugs/issues in proportion to the amount of code they're pushing out. Judging the quality of team member contribution winds up working out to some sort of curve--there are usually outliers on the high and low ends. You want the vast majority of the team to be roughly equivalent and trending toward the high end. The low-end outliers--those who clearly are not keeping up with the team, not providing enough value in their contribution, are difficult to manage, aren't good team players, etc--those are the people where the cost starts to become an issue.
An employer who prioritizes the exact dollar cost to be as low as possible isn't looking for quality--they're looking to fill seats as cheaply as possible, while hoping something passable comes out as a result. Nobody who knows what they're doing is going to want to stay in an environment like that.
>dollar amount an employer-employee relationship definitively has is the negotiated price at which the two actors are willing to play together
I agree with this. But don't forget, the employee living in lower cost of living area can afford to negotiate lower pay to undercut those who live in expensive area.
Let say I move to vietnam, I can now easily afford to demand for 1/2 of the pay compared someone who live in bay area. Then why don't a company choose me instead ? Again, assuming I can produce the same quality of work as bay area programmer.
The goal of a company is still to make money and managing expense is always important.
If think you are that really really special programmer who are better than most people worldwide in what you do, then yeah you can demand whatever you want.
I knew I'm not that special. By living let say in Vietnam, I'm still happy with the 1/2 amount I got and companies has incentive to hire me instead.
A person did put in the same effort as the other one for learning something.
Since a person leaves in an area which isn't properly developed or cheaper, he/she is living in order to save money or due to some other personal reasons, shouldn't be discriminated and paid less for the same talent/value the company receives.
Obviously it always feels better to live in developed areas.
When a company is receiving same quality from different vendors, they should pay the same for different vendors irrespective of their origin of locations.
Your biggest mistake was mentioning the Philippines. The sad fact is that a lot of employers, including Filipino ones, associate this country with low-wage employees and cheap labour. That's why the PH is the capital of outsourcing and offshoring in order to cut costs. It shouldn't matter, and I feel sorry for Filipinos trying to get paid fairly in this business climate, but unfortunately this country is so corrupt that it's a case of poor economics and planning.
I would love a list of such companies, maybe people posting on the monthly who's hiring thread can clarify that.
Rent, food, taxes, transportation etc etc reflect on salary. Also competition has a major impact on salaries. Companies fight a lot over SF engineers, not so much for those in Asia. (unless they're super brilliant)
Google has ~ 85,000 employees.
If they give each employee an extra $100K bonus it would cost them $8.5 Billion. They can afford it. Why they don't give it? Because they don't have to.
What would happen to salaries if 150,000 more engineers from middle America started to apply to jobs in SF?
He's right, you are wrong. Bay Area salaries are high because it's very expensive to live there. Even dev salaries in Europe are 20-30% of what they can be in the BA.
Which is very much not true in Hong Kong (where I live), or Singapore (where I have friends), or a bunch of other places in 'Asia'...
I just did and they wanted an email for jobs which I thought was OK.
Then I tried to add a profile and it prompted me to export my entire LinkedIn history. It says to export "The Works".
My LinkedIn is quite massive and I've checked the export for "The Works" includes my entire contact list.
That's pretty shady. Why not just import my profile? There's an option to export only profile data. How many people will follow these default instructions and upload everything they have ever done on LinkedIn?
We're going to split this up between your profile and your contacts, and make it explicit what happens.
I hope it's not an indication of the overall data handling approach within the application in general and just an oversight for launch. It might be worthwhile to re-visit your internal policies/review practice for safe harbour and be upfront about it.
Just a suggestion!
In fact, I don't know if you can take a company that is built onsite and revamp it to succeed in a 100% remote manner. Perhaps, if you replace one department at a time? I don't know, and haven't encountered any stories of such a transformation.
Anyway, congrats to the OP. I don't know if we need another remote job board, but heaven knows we need more remote jobs.
That's clearly an advantage for the employer, but not necessarily for the employees who live in globally-more-expensive places. Taken to the obvious conclusion, remote developers in India can do the same remote work for a lot less money than remote workers in the US can afford to.
I know it sounds crass and protectionist, but US workers cannot afford globalization despite the increase in profits for employers.
If I'm going to hire remote workers why wouldn't I hire great talent in Vietnam or China or Poland instead of in the US?
WRT. timezones, they sometimes are a problem, but in my experience, they actually force better work arrangements. You can get an uninterrupted stretch of time for focused work before the people from another zone start asking you stuff, and after the overlap passes and you're done for the day, they get uninterrupted time too. Also this puts a bit extra pressure on writing things down, which is almost always positive IMO (in every place I've worked so far, there's way too little documenting happening, which causes lots of waste for everyone).
If you click on an individual position, you can filter reports by location. If I were a SWE working for Google/Facebook/Uber in London, I'd be irked.
It depends on a lot of things, and it's always negotiation. In the end, know what others are making as best as you can and ask for 10% more than you think you may get. In the end, you may lose 75% of the opportunities, but you only need 1 job at a time.
Companies are willing to pay more for competence and I am willing to accept less pay to work with a more competent team.
Think of it rather as "who are in favor of remote work as long as it doesn't end up pushing them out of a job if they don't leave their home country" and it might make more sense. The answer is because it harms _my_ financial prospect in favor of someone _else_'s just so that executives can further consolidate wealth at the top.
> If I'm going to hire remote workers why wouldn't I hire great talent in Vietnam or China or Poland instead of in the US
Right. If you're going to hire. But that ignores the "if I'm going to get hired" side of the equation which affects significantly more people.
You can replace "remote" with "manufacturing" and trace the economic collapse of middle America. Hiring great talent in Vietnam, China, or Poland may be great for people in Vietnam, China, and Poland, but that doesn't come for free for US workers. Are US workers more important than Vietnamese workers? No, of course not. But if you live anywhere in the US then you literally cannot live on a typical Hanoi salary, and that has real consequences.
Not all of the 20-30% would be bound to US employment for all projects, but wouldn't be surprised if a large portion have U.S. only requirements by locality (citizen + visa employees).
Note: I currently work for an election services company, and have worked in eLearning development though am no expert on the field of labor, law or guesstimates, just going from past reading and other loose knowledge. I did a brief google search to try and track down sourcing, but unable to find anything firm.
It really depends on the project in my experience. Sometimes, or at least initially, you need a lot of back and forth contact and without that it really slows the project down.
Go hire some French or Belgian or Danish developers or New Zealand developers, you'll find the salaries are nothing like Bay Area salaries...
And few of them would consider the US as having a higher standard of living.
You think the engineering team behind Alibaba's singles day sale are just a bunch of sweat workers? You think people in Bulgaria can't understand context? Engineers in Canada can't?
Of course you can find talented engineers with product sense elsewhere...though so far a majority keeps flocking to the pacific north west.
Two economists walk down a road and they see a twenty dollar bill lying on the side-walk. One of them asks “is that a twenty dollar bill?” Then the other one answers “It can’t be, because someone would have picked it up already,” and they keep walking.
Of course todays top skills will be broadly available in 10-20 years...it will all be common sense. But what ever the next frontier will be, again only a bunch of experts will exist for it.
I was not allowed to change it, or even add tests to it, because it was written by the NY office and they would have complained about it.
Bad programmers are everywhere.
But the biggest advantage to employees I'd say would be the lack of commute. Even with a quick commute (15 min) you are gaining 2.5 hours a week. That is a huge amount of time that employees are not compensated for.
In terms of working with remote workers. I've done it in several environments. Often it's time zone differences and differences in approach and culture that wind up costing more, which may or may not offset other needs. The total cost may go down, but the time to complete a project often goes up. It depends on the needs of given project(s) to the company, as well as the distribution and size/scale of management.
In the end, I'm happier to see offshore workers ask for more. I live in a city which has a higher pay to cost of income ration (for my field)... I stay here for that reason. I'm not taking less because the average is less.
This tribalism is so strange to me. I can sort of understand the US-vs-the-world thing (the US is huge), but being from Europe, with dozens of tiny countries, the ideas that Belgians are intrinsically worth more protection than Albanians is just nuts.
They aren't intrinsically worth more, but it matters if you happen to be one of those Belgians who loses your job to an Albanian who earns less than it costs for you to not live on the street.
That's because it is.
Hiring from anywhere is amazing, but there are many challenges in paying and employing people from different countries. We hope to make some dent in that, but I'm aware that's going to be very hard.
I’ve worked at 100% remote companies most of my career and they are excellent. Every person is invested in making communication work.
My last gig was where we were a remote team but most employees were in-office. It was impossible to get even the slightest bit of adjustment on how work gets done (write stuff down, don’t have private meetings without us, etc). Eventually it created hostility and not much of anything got done.
Also, those people can bring their own connections even establishing remote teams.
Agreed. Especially with less experienced folks, remote work can be hard because there's less context. You can't see someone struggling quietly at their desk, they have to ask for help or you have to ping them.
At a butt-in-seat job, I'd turn up on time and leave on time - and that's the end of it. If during those hours I happen to be in an unproductive mindset (eg, unable to concentrate) then so be it. I'm paid for my time. If I happen to be in a productive mood after hours, their loss.
Now that I'm working remotely, if I'm feeling unproductive then I will stop work and do something else (shopping/walk/etc.) and resume when I'm more productive.
I also don't mind being contacted out of hours (I'll decide if I'm busy or not) - they're flexible with me, so I'm flexible with them.
They'll get the same number of clock-hours from me, but with more work output.
I haven't read a lot about this online but I know it's one of the problems with remote work.
Details/legalities are going to vary depending on where your company is registered, where your nominal "offices" are (some/most legal jurisdictions still insist on the fiction of a registered office, even though the whole point is to work completely decentralised) and where you're hiring people. So a book/website/wiki/whatever covering all the legal, tax, compensation, worker rights, healthcare, etc., etc. for all the combinatoric possibilities seems unlikely. A high bar and of limited value, since the rules are in any case shifting all the time. So it ends up roughly where we are, with each company hacking through the specific cases that cross their paths with their respective lawyers and accountants.
In this regard, the one thing I have seen is that most Remote First/Only companies I've tripped across seem to throw the questions of healthcare, home office allowances and even income taxes over to the employees... it's already too complicated for them to deal with unless they severely limit the number of countries they'll hire from.
However, when I changed jobs and was almost completely remote it was a lot better. Firstly I was working with other remote people so we communicated in different ways and not just about work. Secondly I made more effort to contact other remote workers nearby and meet up with them for coffee or lunch.
On balance I much prefer remote working to office working.
On the flip side, when I have worked at an office I have always come out after a year or so with a couple close friends in the organization. Because of the physical proximity many of the shared experiences are more intense. Putting out production fires, after work beers, dropping in on a co-worker to talk about the product, etc, lead to longer lasting relationships.
Developers have a tendency to assume that technology can solve more of our issues than possible. I have plans to start my own company with a bit more savings and network under my belt, and I will be doing zero remote, assuming I can afford to.
Even in work setting it's "impossible" for introverts to meet new people. I'm introvert and I talk to hardly no one at work.
How I meet people is by going to a pub where we can play board game. You simply sadly can't passively meet people, you need to want to meet them or else it will be a simple hello started from someone else that will bring to nothing.
That'll feel very unnatural at first, but over time just become part of working remotely.
More about my thoughts on the downsides of remote work here:
If you want/need more social interaction, there are plenty of other options to consider, such as:
- join a sports team or community group
- interact with neighbors (they become co-workers if they're also working remote)
- get a co-working space
- attend community meetups regularly (I go to technical and entrepreneurship meetups)
- get hobbies outside the house that involve others
The nice part about working from home is you get to decide who to interact with since you're not stuck with whomever your company chose to hire, and you can still communicate with them over chat or whatever. Sure, you have to be a little more proactive about it, but I think it's clearly better.
I also find face to face meetings far more productive, and I struggle to hear people on calls (my hearing isn’t great).
I suspect it gets a lot better when the company has no one at all in the same place, but as soon as some people can have a quick chat in the office I think a two tier system will develop and that will cause issues.
I also enjoy my commute (which is rather short: ~25 min door to door) as a way to get into the mood for work or leave it behind on my way home.
Then again I am one of the people that enjoy open office plans. There may be some correlation with this.
For example, for my first job out of college, I was placed in a team where my manager was working in a different city, and half the team was in a timezone 12 hours ahead. It was great if I wanted to leave at 3 or come into work at 10, but man, it was isolating as a new hire coming into the office and not speaking a word to anyone or interacting with anyone on my team while other teams around me had productive meetings or team lunches. Working remotely in this case did not give myself any extra motivation to work for the team or help the team because I did not know them personally. Maybe there are other ways to work remotely and still foster this camaraderie, but I find it hard to see when most conversations are phone calls where people looking into their computer screens.
Why don't you just do that work faster without being on twitch, and then use the extra hours to go outside and participate in an actual community or engage in some more gratifying activity?
Yet I find that writing more about what I’m doing (most commonly in the form of extensive code comments and verbose commit messages, but also in other forms) helps me produce better work.
Time and time again I explain in writing how something is or why it’s done the way it is, and realise in the process substantial ways in which it might be improved; or how it’s actually completely broken for an important case that I hadn’t considered; or any number of other reasons why further work is desirable.
Maybe your experience is with "remote-friendly" companies, versus GitLab being a 100% remote company. Purportedly, they don't have any number of people that are commonly colocated.
Good for them for making it this far, and from what I've read their product is great.
I don't see it that way. It may seem like this today, or tomorrow, but half a year from now you'll be thankful for any piece of documentation (!= Slack messages) that you can get when revisiting old tasks and trying to piece out reasons for them.
At least in tech, anywhere that can hold a stable SSH session open is a workplace, as far as I am concerned.
Can you say why?
Big tech companies these days have multiple buildings and all their conferences rooms wired. You experience the difference between in-person and videoconference collaboration on a daily basis. Quite a bit can get done on Zoom, but for anything intricate the trek to the other person's office is worth it.
Source: Have been remote for 10+ years.
"Yes" meaning "This is a <1 hour job for me, I've done such things several times and have all the tools, skills, data and experience needed"
"Yes" meaning "This is a <1 day job for me, I've done similar things once or twice with some difficulty"
"Yes" meaning "This is a <1 week job for me, I don't know precisely what to do but I can probably figure out how to do it with my general programming knowledge, and Google"
"Yes" meaning "I have no idea, but you wouldn't be asking if it was impossible and I don't want to say no to my senior"
The differences between these yeses is often lost in nonverbal communication.
I agree completely that location shouldn't really affect the pay - I've worked with a company (heavily skewed to remote work) that favoured (Central/Eastern) European workers because they could hire 2 for the price of a single US worker to do the same job.
I think the issue with the OP's case specifically is that SF salaries are ridiculously over-inflated - the solution is to pay people less and encourage them to live somewhere that's actually liveable.
Factor in how much money the company is probably spending on it's own costs in SF (i.e. office rental etc) and they should probably pay the remote workers more because they provide the working space/etc themselves.
When the employing company is making billions of dollars, it's only fair to pay its employees accordingly. This attracts talent. There's a reason why you generally find the best tech workers in the Bay Area and other tech hubs.
You think it has nothing at all to do with ridiculous cost of living caused by a massive influx of workers, in turn caused by an almost cult-like obsession with a particular geographic location funded by billions upon billions of other peoples money?
We hear stories about people moving from all over the place, to be in SF and the ridiculous salaries, and simultaneously how it's so expensive to live there, and then how it's expensive to hire/retain "good talent".
Both sides of the fence are to blame for this ridiculous catch-22 of bullshit. But ultimately, thats what startups are all about isnt it? Burning through insane amounts of money for no real gain. Why am I so surprised the same logic applies to the salaries of their workers.
1. It's bad for SF workers - pay is worse.
2. No separation of home and work life.
3. It's lower quality work.
4. Regulations require local residents.
1. the measure of quality is quantifiable.
2. the work does is not for the government.
3. work pays for a co-working seat/equivalent.
This is better for the world, and for the industry. Let's do this. Everyone has a birthright to opportunity of good life, not those that luck allows to move to SF.
Not that the author attributed this to remote work, but companies respecting people taking time off is less about remote and just more about having a good manager and being in a company with a good culture with typically a positive cash flow. Gitlab will probably get some applicants based on this paragraph.
I had a remote job in the past where there was always an overwhelming amount of work. One time an amazing colleague needed some time off to handle a major personal issue, and was at 50% productivity for a few months after. I could see our manager and other folks resented them for this. There was simply no culture to support people who needed time for their personal lives. At the time I didn't have the sense to realize how toxic the work environment was. At least with "ass-in-seat" time you can sit in a conference room doing personal stuff and people will assume you are working.
That being said, I love remote work!
> First, it becomes easier to focus on merit, actual work, rather than on how long people stay in the office. In other words: you don’t need to count hours to see whether someone is being productive. You can now allow people to work whenever they want.
Sure, working remotely boosts individual productivity, but it deteriorates group productivity due to the inherent inefficiency of online communication. It works better for more senior specialists and in scenarios where everyone is working more independently doing heads down work.
I've also noticed that because I could work whenever I wanted and because I was judged by my output only, I tended to work overtime and eventually became more and more burnt out. I'd argue that separating life from work when working remotely is a challenge in itself, and one has to have a very strong discipline to not work all the time.
> Third, you can now hire the best people on the planet in any particular function.
Not necessarily. Most of the time a mediocre developer would do just fine, and this essentially becomes a form of outsourcing labor to cut the costs down.
Then, there is an issue of trust online. Unless you have an established relationship with a professional, you'd probably use middlemen marketplaces like Upwork or Toptal to mitigate the risks of making a wrong hire. So even if it's true that there is a vast amount of talent available worldwide, it's still a challenge to tap into that talent not only due to trust issues but also because of the legal restrictions and international payments.
Most importantly, when working remotely you are making a sacrifice when it comes to your career development. Likely, the work you'll be doing wouldn't be as challenging as what you could do in top tech companies. It does allow for more flexibility to work from wherever and whenever you want, but personally, I didn't find that as valuable, as having meaningful work.
Again, this is just must experience, and I'm curious if anyone is happy with their career path working remotely.
Coming from a freelance perspective, the only equation should be 'how much value do I provide company X, how much of that do they give back'