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I hate the idea of the yearly summit. People working remotely may have health or social issues on a greater average. There is a benefit to face to face but requiring the team to fly to remote locations yearly makes a local company with a normal christmas party seem more attractive.



The in face meeting is actually incredibly important. I've been remote for 7 years and it is just so important to put a "face" to a person. You get to bond on a personal level that is really hard to do remotely, even if you've been working with someone for years. As a strong remote advocate there really isn't a replacement for face to face communication, which is why I support annual summits.


Face-to-face meetings are valuable (GP agrees). Requiring get togethers in unique exotic locales, not so much. It's a huge perk for some, and a not-insignificant cost for others (with most "regular" people probably somewhere in-between, but giving in to the peer pressure of emphasizing the glamor). Oh and it seems to inevitably blur this whole work-life balance thing people claim to care about. (Not to mention it's a bit of a bad habit, carbon footprint wise, and a dubious use of investor money.)

If a company just picked a logically geographically central place (per its employee base), reserved a reasonable hotel w/business suite or rented an office for a week, that'd make a lot more sense and be a good bit fairer imo. Let people who enjoy exotic locales do so on their own, and not as a (required!) perk. Bonus, you're now being more serious about avoiding monoculture at work too (not everybody enjoys exotic travel, and companies that de facto require it will end up selecting for it).


Ideally work will pay for a summit (although day to day expenses are unlikely to be covered). If you were a single parent, it would be extremely tricky to work out, though. In my case, I have to fly 12 hours to get to the office of the company where I work. Virtually anywhere on the planet would be easier to get to :-)

There is a bit of an advantage to "exotic" locations, though -- shared unfamiliarity. If it's new for everybody, then everybody is learning at the same time. It gives you something in common. Having said that, though, I've had discussions with the team I'm on where a lot of people would love to get together in a relatively boring place where the only thing we could do is code together. That has a lot of advantages too and I'd be surprised if you couldn't get some backing from other teammates to try it at least once.


The issue isn't the personal financial cost - the whole point is (if it's an exotic trip) that it's a paid perk, for people who enjoy it, and a (non-monetary but real) cost to those who don't (and who'd probably just prefer a bonus to having their company buy them an expensive trip they don't want).

And yes, boring but neutral (non-exotic, non-expensive) locations seem like a reasonable ideal for a business trip - that's essentially what I'm advocating. They can also be unfamiliar to all, if you think that helps - it doesn't have to be the Bahamas to not be somebody's home turf.

But there are, as I've explained, good reasons for it to be something other than the (expensive, particular-lifestyle-centric) glamor most tech companies push - larger reasons than the neutral ground piece. It alienates more than it includes, and burns money (sure not yours, but you'd rather your company be prudent, or at least let you spend money on things you want) and carbon to boot.

Also, I'm not vilifying all exotic travel - just the habit of entangling it with work, as it becomes a heavily asymmetric perk and a significant cultural filter/selector (for a certain sort of "living life" crowd - again, not bad people, but not the only sort of people in the world). I'm all for places giving vacation time, and paying well enough for employees to pursue their interests, be that the Bahamas or rare book collection or anything in between.


> it is just so important to put a "face" to a person.

Why?

Blind people can be productive members of a team without ever being able to do that. And yes, there have been productive teams made primarily or even entirely of blind people.

If you want to argue instead that it's important to put either a face or a voice to a person, well, I think deaf-blind people would argue with that, though I don't know much at all about that community.


My comment wasn't meant to alienate blind people, far from it. To elaborate further, being able to see someone outside a meeting (since this is where most interaction really occur when remote) means things like small talk occur and you get to know your co-workers on a more personal level. This personal connection is what really matters in the long run and being together in person is what drives building those connections.


This is not really about faces as such, but there is something about physical presence in the same room that cannot be replicated through telecommunication alone. Call it chemistry or whatever you will, but I notice that whenever I've spent more than a few months without physically meeting my co-workers, I start getting increasingly out of emotional sync with them.


As a remote worker, I think some sort of in-person gathering is pretty crucial. We have plenty of video chats and whatnot, but nothing quite replaces the experience of meeting someone in person. Obviously doesn't need to be super frequent, but especially when you're a small company (which many fully-remote places tend to be), it really helps you feel more connected to your co-workers.


Absolutely. I work remote full time and I just returned from spending a week in Germany (I am in USA) where I had meetings and social time with others both above and below me.


> People working remotely may have health or social issues on a greater average.

I don't know any reason that working remotely would correlate to health/social issues. Is this a known statistic from somewhere? The social thing perhaps correlates to working (remotely or not) in a software field, but I'm not sure why remote workers would be statistically any different than non-remote workers. (I happen to be a remote worker)


I would think someone disabled or with mobility issues would seek out those opportunities over local employment at a higher rate. People with visa/passport/country of origin issues would have issues traveling would be another group.


From my experience the health issues point is true.

When I used to work from office my day looked more or less like this:

a) WALKING to the car/public transport, b) sitting at a desk, meetings, multiple small breaks for lunches, chats etc., c) again some moving, coming back home, d) SITTING AT DIFFERENT CHAIR WITH DIFFERENT DESK AND DIFFERENT PERIPHERALS AT HOME.

Right now:

a) waking up, b) no one forces me to take breaks, c) I do not change peripherals twice a day, so before I was using two different keyboards and two different mouses and two different setups daily, now I'm using the same mouse and the same keyboard and the same everything in work and after work, this leads to RSI and after 8 years I'm facing carpal tunnel syndrome in near future, also changing chair even to a shitty one for a while is apparently much better for your body than sitting in Herman Miller ALL THE TIME (I have standing desk too BTW).


Self selection? I assume a very social person applies to more in person than remote jobs. I assume more reclusive people apply to more remote jobs than in person jobs.

Neither is a guarantee but it’s a reasonably safe bet.


Not everyone is suited to remote work. It sounds like you are better suited to working in an office. I can tell you from experience that the periodic get together events (whatever they are called) are really crucial to building a stronger team bond and to working efficiently together.


To say someone isn't cut out for remote work just because they can't make an annual work event is pretty crazy and allienating of people who could benefit from remote work the most. How could it possibly matter more than the hundereds of other days of the year where you have been actually working together and honing your processes and efficiency? You shouldn't be struggling to be a competent team before having a hugathon.

I love the idea of an annual face to face event, but none of the benefits I want from it are work related. They are opportunities to build friendships and have some fun with people I wouldn't mind knowing better.


>They are opportunities to build friendships and have some fun with people I wouldn't mind knowing better.

Which I would argue is very clearly a benefit to your ability to work together. My team off-sites certainly include formal information exchanges, but we specifically try not to spend too much time of things that could be equally well communicated via email or video conference.


I've worked remotely a number of times for years at a time. I've usually worked locally first and moved remote or only spoken to my team through chat/phone.

The yearly meetings I can see appealing to a certain type of employee but for the older employee with a family it is not that appealing.


In-person interactions dramatically improved my remote work experience and improved the bonding that happened outside of the project. I can see why someone reclusive might not like it, but it's almost always on the company dime anyway. In my case, it wasn't a retreat but meeting IRL for project work which I liked better.


In my experience, working remotely requires, if anything, more social skills than working in an office (though deploying them strategically instead of 9-5 may be easier to do).




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