That it also comes with a substantial pay rise, zero travel and the opportunity to work on stuff I actually find interesting is just a gigantic cherry on the cake.
It was by far the largest factor in getting me to go look elsewhere though not the only one.
I was frank (though polite) with my boss (since I'm a lead and I have zero intention of ever returning) about it - they are going to haemorrhage their senior developers and I know stuff he doesn't yet about others leaving.
In this context it means slowly bleed out developers from the teams until all the vital parts have left and you have a husk left.
It's also commonly used when referring to money when an unexpected event has led to losing a lot of money unexpectedly.
When our team first arrived in the office, a colleague walked over to them and said something along the lines of `let's get some sunlight in here' before opening them to reveal the deception.
Boss simply couldn't understand that someone would choose to sit in a quiet, miles away from anyone else on site, air conditioned office even without windows.
Honestly, never bothered me, lots of plants and replacing the strip lights with 5000K bright LED's for the overheads and some LED lamps dotted around it was only the same as working at night at home.
Hands down the best physical work environment I've had outside of work from home.
I joked at the time I'd program in a cave if it had good internet and was quiet.
Why compete with FAANG trying to pay new grads $300k when you can pay an experienced developer from Europe $100k? I honestly never understood it.
Even with great communication and good management, having little overlap during the day for realtime conversations made it hard for me to feel like we were a well-oiled machine, especially with so much of the product changing on a daily basis. It’s very much a complex decision to make, in my opinion.
It did mean that my mornings were totally free and I could get a lot done - so it swings both ways, but outsource everything to Europe isn't the panacea some people assume it to be.
The biggest time gap team I've worked on was east coast US and China.
Great. 12 hour gap.
US team changed to being in the office, or at least online, at 6am. China team started at 11am in China. Roughly a 3 hour handover time.
But for some was a toil. When interviewing and taking pains to point this out, the usual response being "Ok, no problem" but then a few months later seeing someone looking visibility drained wasn't good. Helped them find an alternative role. And some loved it, especially the reduced traffic and sense of community.
During this handover period everyone had a webcam on their OC, a fair amount of travel between sites which all participants were excited for on and three US-China marriages happened over the years.
Great for some. Terrible for others.
I’m sure there are people who’d work 13-22 but I’d bet a substantial sum employee churn would be consistently higher.
Wife used to work for a company with an office in Yorkshire where working hours finished at 2pm (7-2 no lunch). Horses for courses.
HN does seem to bias towards morning based extrovert urbanites in its group think. It’s nowhere near as universal as you might think.
- 5 weeks paid vacation per year(6-7 if we skip regional holidays)
- 13th month salary (that is independent from other bonuses)
- Paid overtime the minute it goes above the agreed upon working hours. 1.5x pay for night or weekend work.
- Maximum hours per week the must not be exceeded.
- Protection from the employer wanting to constantly monitor me, do drug, medical, lie detector test and such nonsense.
- Co-Paid pension, health. disability, unemployment etc. insurances
- Minimum contract termination notice periods and unjust termination protection
- Paid sick and paternal leave
- That other employees, who might not happen to have a as sought after job and thus negotiation power as me get largely the same basic benefits as me nonetheless.
I'd never work for an US company for a 100k given all the stuff I'd have to compensate.
Practically, the American companies usually employ Europeans through their European subsidiaries/branches (which to local government look exactly like local companies).
You didn't make it clear in your post, though I think that must be the angle you're coming from.
Five weeks vacation is a legal minimum. Most companies I worked for here in Denmark will give you six. It’s technically not five weeks, but 25 days.
Also many bills are due on the first of January for the whole next year e.g. insurance. So it was kinda like a holiday and large bill windfall, but it wasn't additional to salary.
That was just one company, maybe other countries or employers are different.
- 14 payments (extras in June and December)
- 12+1 in December
- 12 + 2 x 0.5 (one extra in June and the other In December)
I believe dates were pick to match Xmas and Summer Holidays, two big spending anomalies
Anyhow you always negotiate yearly gross.
No, it's not. It might be in some European countries, though.
Likewise, mandatory pension contributions (employee and employer) in most of Western Europe exceed 20% of income (upwards of 30% in some cases), as contrasted to 12% in the U.S.: https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/docserver/pension_glance-2017-... Who in the U.S. contributes 10-20% to their IRA or 401(k) on top of FICA payments? It's not even legal to make such large contributions pre-tax. (Some of us are privileged enough to make up the difference with higher salaries; a smaller fraction of a higher salary let's us contribute more to retirement.) Note that employer contributions aren't generally reflected in salary figures, and in some European countries employer contributions exceed 20%.
Also, not all of those apply to Norway at least and some are provided by the government.
It is not like the possibility to work remotely for US companies that in absolute numbers pay more than the local ones is completely novel. But at least in my circles pretty much no one is interested in doing so.
Me making 150, 200 or 300k actually has fairly limited impact on my life. Everyone else getting the same benefits or not has, in a way not easily compensated by salary.
the point is you get all these benefits and on top of this you get several times higher salary (I'm from Europe myself originally for what it worth).
I have absolutely no doubt that if you want to maximize personal compensation and benefits, the US is the place to be. Nothing else comes close
But originally this threat was about "Why compete with FAANG trying to pay new grads $300k when you can pay an experienced developer from Europe $100k? I honestly never understood it."
I doubt that a statistically significant amount of new grads get 300k in compensation plus those kind of benefits. I haven't spent a whole time researching but I couldn't find anything backing this up. E.g. it seems that you need to stay at Google 5 years to get 25 days vacation and entery level total compensation at FAANG being more in the 150k - 200k range.
On the other hand as an experienced developer making more than a 100k in just salary plus at least these benefits is not that hard in Europe if you are willing to move or find a remote job.
From all I heard or read, outside FAANG, the financial industry, and certain hotspot, the compensation and benefits within the US go down quite considerably and the difference to Europe is still big, but less exorbitant.
So sure, if you come in with full FAANG (many / all? of which have had engineering teams in Europe for a long time) style compensation packages plus benefits you will be able to attract many Europeans, especially if they don't have to move. But then we are quickly back to square one: Why compete with FAANG?
And again, I'd argue a big part of the reason why US companies can offer these much higher compensation package to positions like software engineers is because they save it on lower end jobs and there are fewer regulations for the common good in place that would cost them money. For some, this makes US companies a non-starter independent from the individual offer.
I make right about $100k, which is pretty competitive for the area from what I can tell. It's possible I'm just getting completely fleeced, but I think that's unlikely.
But then again, I guess you can just play the "No true Scotsman" game and argue that I don't count as a truly great developer.
That being said, I was speaking to my CTO about hiring and I asked him, why doesn’t he hire in the Nebraska office, it would be a lot cheaper. His reply was “not really”. I know in my metro area, salaries for your standard experienced software as a service CRUD developers (no insult intended - as a developer that’s what I am), were making between $125K-$155K pre-Covid. I can only assume they were making about the same in Kearney and Omaha Nebraska.
Whether you agree with it or not (and I don’t), companies looking for great developers usually want them to be able to pass an algorithm style interview. Can you do it?
Personally, I consider myself to be a pretty good enterprise developer/architect but I wouldn’t get past the first round of an algorithm heavy technical interview without lots of practice.
Considering I tutored people in college that went on to work at the FAANGS of the world, I would guess so.
But also I guess it doesn't terribly matter. I got off that treadmill a long time ago.
I moved from SmallTown southern United States four hours away to Metro City southern US for increased opportunities almost 25 years ago.
Gotta be happy where you are. Otherwise I guess you could go join the rat race and make the big bucks.
Beginning of 2020, I was 45 years old making A little more than the average senior SaaS CRUD developer made locally because of $bad_career_decisions. It was about $50K -$80K less than a CS grad would make a couple of years out of school working for a FAANG or even a second tier software company on the west coast.
Then Covid hit and the company I worked for had an across the board 10% pay cut.
Just dumb luck and being at the right place at the right time - I happened to have a combination of skills that let me slide into a remote position as a cloud consultant for BigTech.
Now I’m 46 working (virtuallly) along side 26 year olds making more than I do. Win??
I'm 31 making 3-4x what my father ever did.
And I get to sit in an office instead of busting my ass doing repetitive labor on an assembly line day in day out.
It's all about perspective I guess.
But, my mom retired from teaching after 30 years at 55 and my Dad retired from his factory job at 57. When they were 62, they were both getting pensions and social security checks. They’ve been married for 50+ years and retired for 20+ years.
I won’t be retiring before 67...
My dad was a member of the steelworker's union for 25 years and then they closed down the plant he worked at and moved the production line to Mexico. He got to train his replacements. Then he delivered propane for a couple years, and ended up getting a job at Cargill on a line that made eggs for McDonald's breakfast burritos and Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches.
He worked there for 5 or 6 years, finally scored a nice job as the custodian at the rec center in town and planned to ride that out until retirement.
Shortly after his 57th birthday he started acting funny and was diagnosed with Glioblastoma , probably better known as "that cancer John McCain had". Died a year and a half later.
I don't think either or us is really adding much to the original conversation, but I am enjoying swapping stories nonetheless. Hopefully some of the bystanders are as well...
Of course, top talent does exist in Europe but there's way less than the US.
Most are basically forced to. We're not US citizens, we don't have a right to work in the US.
I specifically mean EU countries by the way, Switzerland and London are the only exceptions -- and even then the US is better.
You don't. You spend those "millions" of dollars on ridiculously expensive medical care, on ridiculously expensive education, on car ownership, on... And in return you get worse infrastructure, worse medical care, worse ecology etc.
As for medical care, all half decent tech employers provide comprehensive healthcare coverage.
I don't know what you've been reading, but unless healthcare costs $200,000 a year (it doesn't cost 1/10th of that), you're better off in the US.
As for "worse infrastructure", you'll have to be specific. There's crumbling infrastructure all over the US and Europe.
Worse medical care is also a stretch. In fact, in some areas (heart attacks and strokes, for example) the US is a world leader. 
I'll remind you that new grads in the US are often paid substantially more than senior level developers in the EU.
Yeah, ain't that right. I've been programming for 20 years, worked as a lead developer/architect and have usually been among the most highly compensated technical people in companies I've worked for. And yet I have never seen anything close to the kind of money fresh grads get at FAANG.
On the other hand, if I landed a job paying 300k-400k USD a year, I'd probably just retire after 4-5 years.
I am pretty sure even FAANG dont pay $300K for fresh grad.
Also $200K is on a higher end and depends on other offers, etc. Average is around $180K.
Because $300K vs $100K makes very little difference to them when they're printing money. One idea from a top dev can make the whole thing pay itself and then some, for years.
It’s a flywheel. Investors give preferential to local teams, which leads to teams having to hire local, which reinforces the prices. The big tech that can’t really move or adapt to a more remote workforce pushes the salaries up, local cost of living rises, and the cycle continues. The cost to move from that culture is extremely high, so the salary differences end up being “justifiable”
I do this, but from New Zealand: 5am (in winter) is 10am in SF, so I wake up at 4:50am. I'm usually online by about 5:15am. I manage a software team, who are distributed across North and South America.
It works fine. There's more than enough overlap between all our timezones (some of my South America team have adjusted towards SF time, too, though I haven't asked them to). Many of my colleagues don't even know what time it is for me, which is kind of the idea - it makes it easier if I just stick to west coast office hours, then no-one else has to think about it.
The early starts do drag as winter goes on, but I have the first daylight savings coming up in about 6 weeks - that'll mean 6am starts - then another DST shift will make it 7am (but I'll probably do 6:30am).
I am a morning person, and though I wouldn't usually wake up at 5am by choice, I wake up and become fully alert quickly enough that it's fine.
Having a big contiguous block of time in the afternoon / evening is amazing. Even in the middle of winter I finish work at 1pm and I have ~4 hours of daylight left to do whatever. In summer I'll finish around 2pm and have 7 hours of daylight. It's like having a full day to do stuff, every day - provided I have the energy.
I know someone who did this. If you're a morning person already, the 5am wake-up isn't terrible, and finishing work at 2pm means you get prime surfing time every day. Not a bad way to go.
I have a lot of calls that are mostly people in eastern time and central European time. It mostly works pretty well. We schedule calls typically between about 8:30 and 11 ET. Sometimes those of us in ET have a bit earlier calls than we prefer and the Europeans have calls a bit later than they'd prefer but it works pretty well. And we just don't expect Europeans to get back to us on the same day if we send them an email in the afternoon and they don't expect us to respond to emails in their morning.
Of course, if you're contracting the client may well want a more synchronized schedule.
ISPs and wireless carriers are the most profitable companies in the USA all with 60% gross profit margin if you look and any of the financials.
When my friend was younger he worked for a cable company, where he did installs. He said the capital costs were usually covered in the first month of service, and everything was gravy after that.
So. What if in another country instead of extracting the profit, they put 5% of it back into the infrastructure. I suspect you would have what a lot of europeans have - fast internet. And what if you didn't take as much profit? You would have the other thing europeans have, cheap internet.
I mean, I like capitalism. It works! But I think there are some things that are out of whack.
Could you explain what you mean by this argument?
Let's not imagine that widening a hiring pool is going to change top-down company cultures.
Companies that hire young driven workers and have a good environment can get a similar amount of overtime and the work all the time attitude.
The place I just left had a wonderful rooftop terrace, overlooking central Helsinki, complete with an amazing sauna, a foam-pit, and gaming spaces too. That's a bit of an outlier, but there are a lot of amazing spaces across the whole of Europe.
No chairs. This was in vast contrast to my employer at the time where lunch was a practical siesta.
Ok.. "so you take this back to desk?" I asked someone.
For context this was early 2000s.
Join a company in London. They have no seats. I'm not talking about free food or a company restaurant. Just having a place to sit with a table.
Thanks a lot for your perspective!
I'd sooner work the curb while living in a coal bunker
I've certainly pulled my hair out a million times with Jira, but TBH I'm extremely impressed with their redesign. They've really scaled back the complexity IMO while still giving my team the customizability we need (we started on Trello and quickly hit roadblocks).
You want to split stories and leave sub-tasks behind? Sorry, that's not Agile, so we're not going to make it easy.
You want to Subtask estimates to accrue to the Story estimate? Sorry, that's not Agile, so we're not going to make it easy.
You want to customize the sprint report based on custom labels? Nope, probably not Agile.
You want to plan the capacity of your team to see how much work you should take into an iteration taking into account vacations and partial availability? Sorry, that's not Agile, so we're not going to make it easy.
And on and on, with very basic needs...
I was responsible for bring Jira into my team at 'megabank' not long after it launched around 2003/4, because the alternatives were horrific to set up and use. That was pretty much it.
Every engineering org has things like this – features that they know the customer rightfully wants and should have, and seem to the customer to be simple, but in reality bring your eng org to its knees.
That's the best way of putting that I've ever heard. Stealing it.
Having said all that, I really hate Jira and Confluence and would not like being a developer working on them. The front end is such a mess, I hate to think what the back end looks like.
“Turn the HN angry mob mode off - it’s not helpful. We’re all in this together.”
When asked by non technical people “Should I install this app? Is my data / privacy safe? Is it true it doesn’t track my location?” - say “Yes” and help them understand”
And here’s an article:
“Australian tech darling Atlassian is among the five private companies that helped the federal government build its COVID-19 contact tracing app.”
The fact that they didn’t wait for Apple and Google’s contract tracking API and instead went for an app that needs the phone turned on and in the foreground for it to work properly is the reason why nobody is using it :headdesk:
I’m shocked how naive people seem to be in these threads about remote work. There is tons of remote work. There already has been for decades. It’s called outsourcing. The reason you can’t find remote jobs in high wage countries is because no one would be crazy enough to pay those wages for remote workers when they can find the same level of talent for less than half the price.
So that person, even if they are highly skilled, will instead have to work at a low skill job for low wages . Not because they have lower skills, but because their government is looking out for the wealthy asset class as opposed to the working class and those other countries(like India) do not legally allow US citizens to live and work in their lower cost of living country.
I know of many companies with outsourced talent, that have a local office in the US where clerical workers and the janitors of the building make higher wages than the overseas outsourced engineers. And those clerical workers and janitors do not make enough income in the US to have decent housing or health care. They are forced, by the laws of the lower cost of living countries, to stay in the US and live poorly.
I'm sure right now, lots of people who dreamed of wfh and couldn't have tried it and learned that it might not be the right arrangement for them.
Also, I find it hard to accept that people who pick certain jobs out of preference (not made to chose out of circumstances) like "blue collar jobs" would expect working from home. What does it mean for a steel worker to be working from home? A warehouse worker? A painter? A housekeeper? A cook?
I do agree with the rest of the sentiment you shared though... The sense that some people who are enjoying the current state of affairs want others to return to normalcy while they are living the exception.
Hot desking is your CEO standing up and saying "I got nothing" when asked how to increase profitability.
a cute one liner, Regularly scheduled video chat meetings are anti pattern for remote work.
That's my feeling at the moment. trying to schedule people around the world to do video chats is a lost cause. Its also trying to cram the office experience into remote work. Video chats are a waste, no one is engaged, probably because most meetings are useless. Like stand ups, who's listening? We were only engaged becasue its socially awkward to not be in person. Now, I can turn my camera and mic off and stretch until I hear my name or just do my work. There's my stream of thought and slight rant.
That would be messed up, but what is actually being said is “Given that you need to go out into the danger, its good for you that I don't go out and needlessly increase that danger.”
In fact, I've heard the exact argument made from the side of workers that have to go out into the danger—whether to deal with it directly because thet are in healthcare, or because they work in retail in essential sectors, or whatever—that out of respect for their safety, people who don't need to be out magnifying the danger shouldn't be.
Let's hope everyone can choose the job they want and have the benefits that come with it.
I know plenty of blue collar workers that would never want to work behind a desk, and also know plenty who started earning a lot of money at 18.
I find your "blue collar victims" mentality very strange.
I'm pretty sure this is what is regarded as "progress" these days... :)
And since most of those jobs aren't usually salaried, I think they'd all welcome being able to go to work and continue to earn.
The fewer people out and about, the less opportunities for the virus to spread.
Yes, it's messed up, but it's better than the alternative: Everyone going about their lives like normal and spreading it even more.
I honestly don't see any better alternative.
Given that some people are not working from home, surely it's strictly better for them if the spread of the virus is reduced?
This isn't a decision that could be rolled back easily or without significant capex. Companies that are doing this must be thinking it's a long term thing.
Or they were thinking along these lines anyway and this was the push to get them over the line. Or they're putting real estate expansion plans on indefinite hold in the case of "you don't need to come back in the office but you can."
Similarly, I suspect that the people moving out of NYC aren't those with a mindset of "I could never live anyplace else on account of the opera." In many cases, they're probably people who were toying with idea already and this accelerated the process.
Perhaps even some kind of comfortable spacesuit you can just live in all day will help the blue collar workers.
I'm only half joking. I would like to think there will be a strong push for a much more hygienic society in the future. A corona vaccine will never completely solve the problem, and who wants to even get a traditional flu. I suspect these social distancing measures are just how we live now.
I work in hardware development, and moved an entire lab to my house. I could think about what it's costing me to maintain this space and pay taxes on it, or think about the fact that I still have a job. And it would be hard to imagine this work being done in a lower cost region.
We had 4 people working from home until the school year ended. But the kids are old enough to be reasonably self sufficient during the day. It's actually been pretty easy.
Younger colleagues who are living in starter homes, or apartments, and have small kids, are having to figure out more compromises. Places with extremely expensive real estate also have higher salaries, at least for tech workers, so those folks may still be ahead of us Midwesterners.
Even before the COVID, there was a trend towards people buying a bit of extra space to set aside just in case their careers turned towards consulting or other similar work.
It's anybody's guess what the future holds.
On the other hand, if you're in a studio city apartment, don't want to leave the city, and can normally walk to work, renting a co-working space or a larger apartment obviously isn't a great financial deal relative to going into an office. That said, I doubt many companies will eliminate their offices for people who want to go in. But it may be a while. And I know people moving out of the city--at least some permanently.
It's not going so far as to pay us enough to offset the rent of a dedicated home office room, but they're still quite nice perks. The Australian government is helping out quite a bit too - there are many additional benefits this tax season for those who are working from home.
That's time I can't get back or do anything with - compared to the remote position I just accepted (on higher pay ironically) I'll take the nominal increase in costs of working from home over that, intention was to buy a house next year and convert the garage into one half motorcycle workshop, one half office so I'll just accelerate those plans potentially.
Also you might think "my company doesn't cut salaries", or "I just won't say I've moved". That might work if you stay at the same company for the rest of your life, but if you move jobs there's no way you'd get the same deal.
Often times, there's plenty of places that are _totally_ within commuting distance, but really aren't. Do you think Facebook would lower someone's wages for living in Davis rather than Palo Alto or San Jose?
Yes of course. You only think that would be surprising because until now companies can tailor salaries to the office location, based on the reasonable assumption that most people will live nearby, and the annoyance of commuting long distances will roughly cancel out the lower cost of living.
As soon as the annoyance of commuting is removed they will definitely take into account your cost of living.
Edit: this comment was a bit sarcastic, just in case somebody didn't get that.
Btw, currently my job is a 25 minutes subway ride away, so... So and so. Not a lot, to be honest, I don't have to drive and the monthly public transport subscription is fairly cheap (~39€/month).
My office is 12 minutes "run-commuting", there are a couple of good restaurants there, if I make a mess on my desk in the office, my desk at home is still clean, I got four whiteboards, I am not bothered by the neighbor's Amazon package, nor coworkers as they are all working from home.
Now granted, if I had to come 2x1 hour by car, I wouldn't do it, but a 30 min walk in the morning is actually pretty nice
It's been _rough_. I knew going in that I hadn't joined a new company in 5 years, so it'd be difficult. But this has been a whole different level.
Nearly 6 months in now and I still don't feel like I've meshed with the majority of my team, only one or two people who are just extra friendly, and forget knowing anybody outside of my team at all.
I rarely get pings from anyone asking how things are going; I usually wind up needing to do that myself.
I've never been a very extroverted person, but I'd definitely prefer working from an office (in obviously better circumstances) during this period of on-boarding and readjustment. I feel so isolated right now, which is completely opposite of how I think I would have been if I were still at my last role but during this environment.
I really miss real whiteboards.
The only thing worse that being on a software team that has no whiteboards, is being the only remote person on a team that has whiteboards in the office.
You can get an entry-level Wacom for < $100, and it scratches the whiteboarding itch for me in a lot of situations.
I’m also not convinced that there is a tool that when mastered can provide the same fluidity, but I can claim that, and to the contrary I’d love a recommendation.
It’s definitely not the same as drawing on a whiteboard, but I’ve found it useful for explaining abstractions.
(That said, if whiteboards are important to a team, I would imagine there's software for sharing tablet drawing. I've heard there is. I just haven't investigated.)
I think in 6, 12 or 24 months possibly longer for some. Many will regret when they look back they didn't realise what was really going on with the company. They just heard from their contacts and also heard what people wanted them to. They got stuck in a silio.
The new section of the office where a team was parachuted in which somehow has an impact.
How do people expect to form casual but often extremely useful contacts with the people who really know what's going on in other teams, department, divisions or other locations?
You won't hear the gossip from your workmate who works early or late, the postroom, the security guard or receptionist about that out of hours meeting the management team had or whatever.
How will you really know of you haven't been offered a poisoned promotion?
To a degree your rely on being told the full picture by those with the overview. Which is likely to be the management. Which no doubt may happen in many places the majority of times until the one time it really affected you or your team.
For example a group of us headed in to the Riverside sub office on the outskirts of London by the Thames yesterday. For aircon offices and a r oriverside pint at lunchtime as the UK had its hottest August day in 17 years.
Straight away those who caught on a group of us had met up in the office started to wonder why? With a number of messages and calls wondering what we were up to.
While we bonded and had a change of scenery. Some of those at home, for no reason got paranoid.
The reality is that there is a real advantage in working in person. Whether it’s increased trust, communication, or lower friction. We could see it pre-COVID in a he fact that there are barely any successful remote offices (let alone individuals).
This means that employees would see advantages to coming to work, and those that don’t would fare worse in promo and productivity on average, bringing the equilibrium state back to the office.
I'm curious as to what you base this statement on. Game theory is modeling of strategic interaction between two or more players in a situation containing set rules and outcomes. Did you create the actual model? Is there an insight you mind sharing?
it depends what their goals are. having worked in-office and remote for the same company, it's way easier to get shit done in the office. at least if you're reasonably extroverted/persuasive/bold. there are so many times I was able to walk up to someone's desk and spend ten minutes to save multiple weeks of protocol and runaround. partly because it's easier to apply pressure, but also partly because communicating face-to-face is so much higher bandwidth. but if you're remote you're easier to ignore, and a lot of office workers are very good at ignoring people who want to create more work for them
but the flip side is it's way easier for remote workers to fade into the background and hardly do anything. a skilled developer can emulate a mediocre developer while working a fraction of the hours. a skilled manipulator can "work" a fraction of the hours managing expectations and barely produce much of anything. plenty of people will figure out how to automate their jobs and just never tell anyone
there's this idea that remote will benefit introvert/aspie types because it's so word-focused. you have few face-to-face conversations but you write tons and tons. but really, apsie types will produce reams of literal-minded descriptive and often very helpful documentation and discussion, while people-people types will manipulate their image to appear very legibly valuable and come out ahead more often than not
my honest opinion for awhile is that remote is going to a massive efficieny drain on big tech companies and startups doing stuff that's easy to phone in like webdev/saas/whatever, such that if you founded a small committed colo team you could probably outcompete them in whatever domain you want even without any special edge
Let's ignore how you interrupting someone cost them potentially hours of productivity.
I agree face-to-face is higher bandwidth for easy/simple topics. "Bob, what's the mainframe password" is easier shouted than written, and the reply likewise (assuming Bob knows it by heart).
It gets tricky when the topic is complicated or when Bob is distracted and confused. You might get a half-assed dismissive and incomplete answer (which you may or may not notice), or it might take Bob much longer to figure the answer out than if you had messaged it to him.
The quality of your communication depends on many factors, and your perception may not necessarily match reality.
there were more than a few times when the schedule slipped by months because someone outside the project delayed something by weeks. those kinds of issues I never had when I was in the office because I could get what we needed through force of personality. but outside, you have to go through process, and process is inefficient
seasoned remote workers might counter the org was dysfunctional (a charge I will not deny, hence why I left) but they don't have solutions other than more process. because remote depersonalizes work interactions, they have to layer on policies and documents. it's fundamentally a bureaucratizing force
Similar to the studies with brainstorming where people doing it in a group come up with fewer and less diverse ideas than people brainstorming individually and collating the results.
There is no inherent advantage to "working in person." Lower trust or communication or higher friction are not inherent to working remotely, they are the product of poor and overconfident management (at least in tech, given our forum here) and can be seen in any number of environments. You can replace "working in person" with various other specious truisms like "having an organized workspace" or "having weekly status meetings" or "using agile methodologies" and the two sentences above will be likewise banal and true only in specific instances.
Most technology work can be done remotely, and I'd argue should be done both remotely and asynchronously (many companies recently forced to do the remote piece are still are holding dearly to 9-5 and constant meetings), unless there are specific use cases that require more in person synchronous efforts (and to be sure this is the case in some cases, especially when specific hardware must be used for instance). The perception that there is something "better" about 9-5 in-office work is more a product of tradition and resistant over-management than inherent advantages to either setup.
I really miss whiteboard sessions and and being able to chat without lag.
I wish there was a way I could make a bet that 100% remote will NOT become the norm. Given how contrarian this opinion seems to be, surely there must be some way to profit if I am right?
I think it's pretty obvious that 100% will not become the norm. But maybe 50% for some types of jobs? And some number of smaller companies will go 100%? Those seem plausible.
And that presents a long term problem.