I agree also with most of the other points in the article, both positive and negatives. Right now I work from home about 50% of the time, which I think is great. Most of the team also works remote part time, and anyway we are split between two cities (Madrid and Barcelona) so we must coordinate remotely even if we are at the office.
The last 10 days I've been in an open plan office instead of my home office I've used for 8 years.
I've had to trade a 5k ultrawide monitor for 1080p, an Aeron for a cheap chair the company bought secondhand, desk at a height that's comfortable for one that isn't (I'm 6'5), natural light for fluorescent and 500ppm of CO2 for 1200ppm+. And a 10 second walk for a 45 minute drive each way commute.
I don't even think CO2 is on anyone's radar, but some complain of headaches and many seem really lethargic by late morning.
And everyone in the office uses cloud software, but there's a distrust of remote working. I was hoping this battle would be won by now, I'm almost at the point of thinking it should be encouraged by legislation.
It's a win for the environment, productivity and much less overhead which means higher wages. Your hiring pool also increases substantially.
We were successful but I'm surprised how many startups today still want to hire within a small radius of a physical office.
My friend works at a company in the city we live in. People working in that particular office live in nearby towns or even two countries over (EU).
Well, this amazing company requires everyone to be physically present in the office every day. So, the people living two countries over fly in every Sunday night in a second apartment they're renting here and leave on Friday afternoon, flying back home for the weekend. Every. Week.
The math works for said employees because they are earning a very high CoL salary (they're local employees, of where the office is) but they live in very low CoL countries, so in fine they get paid multiples what they would holding a job local to them.
And here I am having qualms about flying once or twice a year on vacation... This kind of things really makes me think we're completely fucked and we'll cook ourselves to our death. Very tempting to be like them and say "fuck it, I'll do whatever is convenient, pollution and the rest of you be damned. Why shouldn't I?"
I applied to some remote-only companies based in France, but I was quickly out of the competition because the companies could hire other people at much lower wages than what I (living in the most expensive city in the country) was looking for.
I think that hiring remotely will lead to lower compensation on average, because all else being equal companies will prefer those with lower salary expectations.
Companies also make office overhead costs into an externalized problem, in that the employee is responsible for desks/tables/chairs/heating/cooling, plus bandwidth and even computers. I see big advantages and downsides to this, but it is useful from a cost cutting perspective.
The tradeoff is the difficulty of hiring, managing, and communicating remotely. Plus I don't think everyone is cut out for remote work -- after 5 years remote I'm starting to think I'm not...
What...like lunch? I don't know any software engineer who doesn't regularly take more than an hour for lunch.
I've never seen engineers doing longer than 1 hour breaks at a regular basis. Even 1 hour is rare.
I'm not surprised to see that 97% of people would recommend working remote to others. Almost everyone I speak with says they would never go back to working in an office. While I can see myself going back to an office at some point in my career, right now the flexibility in my day far outweighs working in an office.
I hear a lot of similar downsides as well. I'm a bit surprised that only 20% of people responded that they struggled with loneliness while working remote. In my experience this number seems to be higher. My coworkers and I work out of coffee shops quite a bit and almost everyone who goes to work in a coffee shop is doing so in order to break out of the loneliness of their home and be around other people (next time you're in a coffee shop, take note of how many people have laptops out). The problem though is that no one really interacts with people at coffee shops because everyone is at their own table on their laptops.
We heard this feedback so much that we started holding Work Clubs at coffee shops where people can sit down with us at the same table and work together for a few hours. It's not networking but it's a way to meet other people during the workday while getting your work done. We've had people from many different industries, ages, and walks of life working together and forming business connections. It's beneficial to the coffee shops too because when we all sit at the same table, order food and drinks, and it frees up other tables for more customers.
Our communities are growing in Portland, San Diego, and the SF Bay Area right now, so come work with us if you're ever feeling lonely and need some IRL human interaction in your day! Mental health is an important factor for remote workers, and we're hoping to alleviate some of those struggles for the remote community.
It is just about every day that I go from feeling disappointed that I will be having lunch by myself again, to feeling frustrated to think that I could have lunch with someone (but it would add 2 hours to my day if I drive up, time I don't have as a father of three small kids), ending with just being frustrated about being lonely. I'm grateful I don't have to commute, but being able to walk out the door of an office and find dozens of random people with which I could have lunch with is something I really miss.
I'm really glad there are numbers behind this important topic. Loneliness is real, its a big problem, and it is something most remote companies don't talk about.
The remote company I work with will buy you a desk in a local co-working space for anyone who wants it.
Would you agree most lonely remote workers also tend to be younger?
It's somewhat unfortunate that we don't have additional data on the respondents since it may provide interesting insight (e.g. confounders that immediately spring to mind are country of residence and marital status), but there's a natural tendency to drift towards "exploitation" of existing relationships as one gets older as opposed to "exploring" new ones.
For instance, Doist's founder  cites being able to spend time with his son every morning as a major advantage.
In any case an even greater push towards remote work seems inevitable, especially as the tech workforce grows older.
You should consider something similar and propose it to management if you think it would benefit the team.
But isn't that just masking the symptoms of deeper issues regarding self-imposed isolation?
(my team and I are currently seeing each other in person two full days every two weeks and the rest is remote)
> 3. Not having to commute is a top benefit to remote workers
Makes sense. Financial, health, and psychological benefits.
> 4. Communication, collaboration, and loneliness continue to be top challenges for remote workers and remote organizations
100% agree. I typically have automatic transcriptions enabled (Google Meet) + a full resolution version of whatever document the person is talking presenting is editing.
As for the loneliness aspect, while I don’t feel like I socialize that much during work, I have enough energy to go out and socialize after. This is a byproduct of a lot of things and not purely remote/not remote.
> 5. The majority of organizations with remote workers don’t pay for monthly expenses associated with remote work
Not sure about this one. I think part of the incentive for a company to go remote is savings. On the other hand, a standing desk and a good chair do wonders. Perhaps the savings from rent are enough to cover all of this- I’m not sure. Travel and expenses should be 100% reimbursed, no question.
My company is fully remote and I’m reimbursed for my home office equipment (computer, desk, chair, router, etc) and for all travel. Even for working from a coffee shop. But not for home internet.
We have been trying a different approach at work where everybody always just uses their own laptop camera and mic, whether they're in the office or remote. Sometimes it can seem a little silly talking into your laptop to the person sitting next to you also talking into their laptop. But the upside is everybody's dedicated audio and video is crystal clear; and when we share screens we can all see all of the detail up close rather than having to squint at a tv at the other end of a conference room.
Curious to know if anyone else has tried working this way? We've also been trying out https://team.video, which has some cool collaborative features that only really work if each person is joining from their own device.
At first we did the meeting room plus remote thing. The best room we have for that has a ~60" tv and a Logitech Group camera/speaker/mic, and sits about 6-8 people. Plugs in with usb, and if the person plugging in does it right, you can get a decent view of all cameras and share a screen (trick is, the person plugging in can't be the one sharing). As a remote attendee the audio is good and the camera covers the room well.
What's happened over time though is we stopped using the room, and everyone joins from their desk (and people started working remote more). It puts everyone on a level playing field, and frankly, the meetings are better. I love being able to look things up or update a ticket on my second monitor with my full desk setup, and it's much less disruptive to the type of people who get offended if you're heads-down looking at your laptop while they're talking.
The only thing I really like better in person is standing around a whiteboard while designing or explaining something complex. Drawing on a touchscreen is the next closest thing I find works as a substitute but it's just not the same.
Make it a requirement that every meeting invite gets an online session, even if everyone is in the same office. This helps shift things remote, if you don't or can't outright mandate the "one person remote means everyone is remote" rule, plus it avoids having to coordinate where anyone is.
Use video, and make it a habit to turn on your camera, as it prompts others to as well. Staying muted is good etiquette but makes it impossible to gauge reactions, so video lets you see people nodding, looking confused, laughing, etc.
Make sure everyone has a good audio setup (which basically means headset). For what it's worth, of non-headset users, maybe 20% have "passable but not great" audio, 2% have good audio (no feedback, echo, background noise), and the rest are garbage.
“if any meeting attendee is remote, the entire meeting much be remote”
which sounds similar to your solution.
The only way to do it. Remote people will love it but there will probably be push back from in office people.
In order to enforce it there needs to be a champion at higher levels.
I don't remember the name of the solution, but working with a big SF company which has both many office and remote workers, they had a camera mounted atop a TV in the meeting room. The camera would focus on and follow the current speaker even if they moved around the room, and the audio was clear as long as only one person talked at a time. It worked surprisingly well.
This is definitely the next career move for me if I stay corporate. I waste about 3 hours of potentially productive time each day -- not to mention the wind-up time necessary when sitting down to work.
1 hour morning prep to go out, 1 hour commute each way on central Toyko trains, and 30 odd minutes settling in at the office. Only to do exactly what I could be doing at home...At this point, I think telling developers the benefits of remote work is preaching to the choir.
What on earth are you doing?
One way to pitch it to the boss: savings on relo and the ability to tap into a much broader hiring pool. I'm seeing this now with a private equity group, where they've decided it is cheaper to hire operating talent nationally in major metro areas and let them commute / remote work vs. relocating everyone for a two or three year gig. (After which point, you're laid off in a small town where you're brand new... not a good thing; absolutely no way I would relo for this gig)
After a bunch of people left I got promoted to lead developer, but I was the only one left in the branch office. The rest of my team was concentrated in HQ a couple hours' drive away. The manager and software architect (his right-hand man) still micromanaged technical decisions. I couldn't get ahold of them for weeks at a time as they were so overbooked, but my team members could occasionally corner them for hallway conversations. So I'd get asked something, have to make a best guess judgement since I couldn't ask them, someone else would corner them and they'd tell them the opposite of what I decided. But I wouldn't find out about this until we went to integrate something and found the two halves had been implemented to different directions.
I am surprised, though. One major downfall wasn't listed-- the remote worker is not 'completely plugged in' with the rest of the team (if they are co-located). That little bit of drag brings some inefficiencies. But for me, remote work is now a 'must have'.
It was close to ideal: having lunch in 30min and spending the other 30min at the pool or going for a short break to the beach (just 5min away).
However I discovered that when I spent more than 1 or 2 weeks working remotely in a row I would start feeling detached from my job. It became increasingly difficult to be motivated and concentrated in certain tasks.
In my current job employees can work remotely 1 day a week by default with possibility to extend it occasionally. I find this to work better for me personally. It allows me to be flexible and productive while working remotely and at the same time it keeps me engaged and connected with the challenges and goals at work.
Knowing that, I could convince them to work remotely every now and then.
Did you try to find an effective way to combat the lack of motivation, or was it just a matter of returning back to the office?
That's rare on me, since I usually can work in a flow mode for long periods of time.
As it was discussed previously, procrastination seems like a way to manage emotions: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17878716
The idea of someone slacking off freely at home is probably less bearable than slacking off at the office.
While probably years off and slightly dystopian, I'm interested to see how VR may change the remote communication and collaboration aspect. Stuff like ImmersedVR for the Quest (no affiliation) that allows you to be in the same virtual room as someone else, being able to glance over at their (virtual) screens by turning your head and having access to a digital whiteboard seems pretty scifi but are novel solutions to these problems.
We've turned our internal wiki with processes and experiences from running a fully remote company for over 8 years in a nice digestible PDF: https://mobilejazz.com/company-handbook-pdf/
Do you have any resources or tips for how to handle the financial and paperworks of having people from different countries ? Thats the thing im having the more trouble finding info about
In our case we offer proper employment where we have a legal entity and thus actually can employ team members. For people with tax residency in other countries the only somewhat non-bureaucratic and sustainable solution is for them to go self-employed and have a "consulting contract" with us. That said, regardless of the legal technicalities, we treat everyone the same.
I gave upon remote work this week.
I slowly entered a phase of resenting work and resenting my family and home life. They each slowly encroached on each other until I was not sleeping, not being productive at work, not engaged with my kids and generally hating life. I felt like I was a husk of a person, a cipher or automaton.
Fortunately my company has an office 40 minutes away so I have the option to commute without changing jobs.
Admittedly, I have some unique circumstances that probably put me in a tiny minority. I still think remote work is a great idea, it's just not for me anymore and I wish I had realized that 3 years ago.
Good luck and I hope the office life brings you some happiness. I sometimes find myself jealous of those with commutes that get to chip away at their podcast queues daily.
In many real estate markets, going from N to N+1 bedrooms is a considerable price increase.
Also, because you don't need to commute you can move farther from the city center or even to another cheaper city/town. So you can get an N+1 bedroom for the price of N or even cheaper.
> Below is the breakdown of salary ranges for respondents in USD.
> 18.6% $50,001 to $75,000
> 16.8% $75,001 to $100,000
> 14.2% $25,001 to $50,000
> 12.1% up to $25,000
> 12% $100,000 to $125,000
> 10.8% $125,001 to $150,000
> 9.7% $150,001 to $200,000
> 5.9% Over $200,000
But, note when I say remote it's "work from home most of the time" remote. Not work in some other country on the other side of the world remote. I do in person meetings with clients and partners a couple times a month.
I'm from India where engineers generally get paid less compared to engineers in the United States and many European Countries. Although I'm not looking for the same salary as that of an US engineer, I'm looking for a pay something close to that amount. Is this the reality today? How many companies pay remote workers regardless of their location?
Experienced people in Poland earn 40-50 euro, they’re in a better time zone and are in economic and legal zone.
Also hiring people on a fixed contract instead of freelance outside of “the civilized world” scares the shit out US businesses.
You can get close to that money in two ways, in my knowledge and experience.
1) Work for a FANG company (Only Amazon, Google are there, but there are others which pay well e.g. VMWare comes to mind now).
2) You join a good netork for freelancers. I currently work for one, and I make the amount, which fits your description of 'near US salary'. Since cost of living is low, it does feel like a high paying job.
PS: I didn't mention the name earlier, to avoid being taken as marketing for a platform. Now that you asked... :)
But, of course, any platform is not perfect, and mileage varies. One of the problems, I have seen other people face and say is difficulty in getting the first client. But in some of those cases, I also found, that their experience was in a narrow domain (e.g. Wordpress developer in one case). If a person is skilled in a breadth of technologies, then I think, its relatively easier to bag a client.
Also another valid criticism of it is, the selection process is very tedious. Personally, I like solving algorithmic problems (and had spent time learning and solving DP/etc based problems), so I didn't have much issue at that stage++. But often several good developers, don't find that stage to be useful. And I agree, as some friends I referred, struggled with that, and those people I had worked in the same team for long, and know them to be very good developers.
But despite some issues, I still think, it has value. As for me, it solves the problem of being in India and work for SV client, and get good rates. Also no commute. And use that time for exercise instead. Also of late, the ability to work part time, and work on my own projects.
Ask me any other question you have, I will try to answer it in a generic way (not ready to reveal my specific instance details)
++ Edit: I too had difficulty at the mock project stage. Where I found it too cumbersome. Especially the UI part, in React, and was almost ready to give up. It was also partly due to over-committing at that stage, and promising them a demo in 10-12 days, as I was eager to finish the process fast. May be in hind sight I should have taken 16-18 days. As I was not fresh with Reach and was learning on the job (as we all sometimes do)
Quoting Allen, 80% of life really is just showing up. For better or worse.
One thing that bothered me a bit though was the “product placements”. Were there any (financial or otherwise) incentives to publish those? If so, and even more so if there weren’t, I feel like this should have been more explicitly disclosed. Apologies if I skipped any disclosure inadvertently.