Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Atlassian tells employees they can work from home forever (cnbc.com)
567 points by el_duderino 83 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 448 comments

One thing that is not often mentioned is these threads is how this is particularly beneficial for European workers. They live in cities that are already small and dense, generally don't depend on the office for their socialization, internet speeds are good (due to density probably) and family life is balanced. Plus a lot of them are already accustomed to working remotely. They 'll probably be able to compete for a lot more jobs now.

My company forced me back into a windowless massive open office back in June, I handed in my notice yesterday to take a better paid 100% remote position with a company that has been 100% remote for years before this crisis.

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.

Had to look this up, "haemorrhage" meaning blood loss.

It's a good word isn't it.

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.

Windowless is the worse! Good on ya. We are human dammit.

I once worked in an office with fake windows---just some blinds hung over a small recess in the wall.

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.

Previous employer I was given the choice of been in the main open office or taking over an old out of the way (huge) meeting room that had no windows to myself.

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.

Which is hilarious to me as someone that has hired devs from Europe for a while now.

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’m a big remote work advocate and have worked with some amazing European engineers. That said, having worked as an engineer in the US office of a early stage startup with a European office, the 5-9 hour time difference is a not-insignificant impediment when you’re resource constrained and moving fast.

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’s worked better for me in teams that work on open source. Such projects tend to be intrinsically asynchronous and conducted via email, chat etc which is what you need to make a distributed team work well.

Yeah, there's actually some Linux kernel research that looked at what mattered for collaboration and time zones wasn't one of the factors. My counter would be that the Linux kernel community is a very mature one that's very accustomed to working asynchronously so I'd be cautious about generalizing.

Yes, asynchronous communication is the key. The synchronous communication is conducted sparingly in opensource projects. Say, once per month (video conference).

At my last company (US on the east coast) I was the only remote member of the team, and the 5 hour time difference, although relatively small, and with significant work-day overlap, was still very difficult. Having to wait until the afternoon for a code review, staying online to support my team later.

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.

It can work, but not necessarily for all people.

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.

It worked.

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.

Why do people who are remote need to stick with 9-5 hours? Plenty of people hate those times, and would rather work later/earlier, which could well lead to more congruent schedules.

Because it’s useful to actually talk to people even if it’s over video chat.

The point being if someone in NY works 9-17, someone in UK May be happy working 13-22

Working different hours from all your friends and family gets old fast. It gets old fast even if your family is on another continent and all your friends are on the same schedule. Most English teachers who come to China start in training centres where they work three evenings and two full weekend days a week. Everyone either leaves China or gets a job with more normal hours eventually.

I’m sure there are people who’d work 13-22 but I’d bet a substantial sum employee churn would be consistently higher.

I have fried st hat have worked shift patterns (some 24/7, some more like 4x10 hours “unsociable”) for decades and are fine with it. I have one colleague who works 4-12 5 days a week for the last 6 years and wouldn’t change it for the world. Another does 11-23 or 11-19 3 or 4 days a week. Personally I get more done between 18 and 21 than most of the day, hence I work 10-15 then 18-21.

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.

I think it would be rare to find someone in the UK that would be happy to work when at the time that everyone else is going to be in the pub.

Yeah, especially given the fact that literally nothing is open out of hours in the UK (with exceptions - but you wouldn’t be able to base your life on that).

Most shops are open in mornings, so I don’t get your point. Indeed almost everywhere is closed outside 9-5.

Not this someone.

In Singapore we are working from home due to the Wuhan Virus. I shifted my hours to start around 1pm to better align with our London office. I think it’s much better as I’m not a morning person so I feel far more productive.

Having kids going to school, having spouses and other people in your life that also have the same schedule.

It depends on how you manage the workload I think. I am based in California (and so is my client) and we have a team in Hanoi, Vietnam. We get a lot done as many tasks are done asynchronously. Plus we can deploy when the users in US are sleeping :)

So here is couple of things, not a complete list, I would expect working for an US company:

- 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.

Wouldn't any company hiring workers in Europe need to provide the same benefits as any European company, roughly the ones listed above? Or can an American company just hire remotely and offer American benefits directly to employees (not talking about independent contractors of course)? It would seem like the former no? Or is there a possibility of the latter? Say I'm remote and would like to work in Europe. I think this is the big problem with trying to keep a remote American job there without becoming a consultant and getting paid Corp to Corp. Is remote work for an American company even possible if that company doesn't have a European presence in the country the work would be conducted in or would they need to get such presence first before it was legal? If it's the latter (seems like it would be) it could really limit the companies willing to hire in Europe.

I suspect that since the act of working happens physically in an European country, both the employee and the employer need to obey the labor law of that country.

Practically, the American companies usually employ Europeans through their European subsidiaries/branches (which to local government look exactly like local companies).

Or they ask you to setup a single person company

At a minimum a company hiring in Europe (or anywhere else) needs to offer at least the legal minimum of benefits. And they may offer additional benefits to be locally competitive. Of course, salaries may be lower than in many US locations as well. And, yes, companies usually have to establish some sort of legal presence in a country. This is an obstacle for smaller firms, less so for larger ones.

Are you saying these are standard benefits in Europe?

You didn't make it clear in your post, though I think that must be the angle you're coming from.

Except for the 13th month bonus, I’d say it’s pretty basic. You’d get those benefits working at a supermarket.

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.

I worked in Switzerland, the 13th month wasn't a bonus, they simply took your salary, divided that by 13, that was your monthly payment and you got 2 of them in December.

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.

This. You know your yearly salary (gross and net). Then you get it in different schemes depending on country and company. Some I now are:

- 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.

Not in the Netherlands. I always negotiated monthly gross. Then your 13th month and summer bonus suddenly actually feel like bonuses, even if the company includes it in the full yearly amount.

Even the '13th month' is standard, too, in Denmark, it is called 'vacation pay' and is accrued as a 12% added pay on top of your salary, but paid into a separate account, to be paid out when you go on vacation.

> Five weeks vacation is a legal minimum

No, it's not. It might be in some European countries, though.

I'm not European, but to a degree it seems so, yes. For example, minimum paid vacation by law is 21 days in almost all of Europe: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_minimum_annual_leave_b... And judging by common statements and anecdotes here on HN, I think the number of paid vacation days tend to exceed the legal minimum, especially in Western Europe, just as they do in the U.S.--typically 2 weeks for salaried employees even though Federal law mandates 0.

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%.

Benefits and regulations vary from country to country. I don't know details about eastern Europe, but all those are fairly common to different degrees in large parts of the continent.

It's mostly the same in Eastern Europe (Romania at least), with the exception of paid overtime (though technically legally required, it is often not enforced), and the 13th monthly salary only being common in some industries.

Not everything standard, but quite common. Varies per country I guess. I'm thinking Netherlands.

Sure, but what about 300k, or 500k?

Also, not all of those apply to Norway at least and some are provided by the government.

Sure, maybe. My point is that US companies have to pay more because more things need to be taken care of by the individual instead of it being socialized to different degrees. Also there is very little in terms or labor rights in the US. So it is a bit more complicated, than just taking some amount you think any European would just line up for work, without considering the conditions they are used to.

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.

You have to update your knowledge about working for the software companies in US. You get $150-$300K plus almost all the benefits you mentioned on top of that.

You might have missed my point in the original post, that I care about everyone getting these or similar benefits, not just me in a higher salaried positions or after years of staying in a company. It indirectly improves my own quality of life and affects cost of things.

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.

I answered this line: >>> My point is that US companies have to pay more because more things need to be taken care of by the individual instead of it being socialized to different degrees.

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).

Because that is what pretty every US American independently from political affiliation i talked with about this told me. They need to spent their own money on things that is covered via taxation in many parts of Europe. Whether this is good or bad, is a bit a matter of opinion.

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.

Contract? What contract?

There are a lot of experienced developers in the U.S. you can hire for 100k too, outside the large metropolitan areas.

$100k USD is $133k CAD and will get one some pretty decent talent in Canada -- especially outside of Toronto where rates are higher -- with the advantage of being in the same time zones, same linguistic-cultural nexus, and you won't have expensive American medical insurance benefits etc. Even better if you can offer annual bonuses and stock options.

I can’t think of a single great developer that you could hire in the US for $100K. The few jobs in non metropolitan areas for software developers are going to be WordPress Developers. Everyone else is going to at least leave for the closest metropolitan area.

As someone in the Midwest, this seems pretty biased to me.

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.

I worked at a company that was officially based in Nebraska because they received some type of grant for hiring locally. They expanded to my larger metropolitan area in the south east to find reasonably priced developers but a larger pool.

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.

> 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?

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 am in a similar boat and all these rich developers in the SV web bubble fill me with self doubt.

I’m not in Silicon Valley - I’m on the opposite coast. I’m not talking about the difference between small town and SV. I’m more referring to moving from SmallTown, Nebraska to Omaha Nebraska where experienced developers wouldn’t usually accept $100K.

I moved from SmallTown southern United States four hours away to Metro City southern US for increased opportunities almost 25 years ago.

I find it's better to just ignore it. But sometimes it does get hard. My friends make similar amounts of money as me, which is generally what I try to think about.

Gotta be happy where you are. Otherwise I guess you could go join the rat race and make the big bucks.

I’m all sorts of conflicted.

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??

> 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.

Well, even inflation adjusted I was making more than my parents did combined when they were 45.

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...

Again perspective...

My mom retired a couple years ago from the hospital in town and gets a pension from that. I agree that people with pensions have a completely different outlook on money than those without.

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 [1], 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...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glioblastoma

Not my experience. 4 years ago I offered 3 people in the US a job. All declined it. They were looking north of $175k. All were in very low cost of living places. They would live like a king or queen on that salary there. I was offering $125k. It was a very quick conversation, too. Once they knew that, they bailed.

You should compensate employees based on the value their work provides you, not based on the particulars of their personal life. An engineer's frugality is not an excuse to lowball him or her.

Not sure exactly how to ask this, but since $125k is well above US market rate in low cost of living areas: have you considered the possibility that they asked for more because other aspects of the work seemed extremely unattractive?

2 of the 3 were ready to accept the job. Salary was the only issue. The 3rd, I'm not sure of. The job was writing Lisp code, so you can gauge the unattractiveness of that yourself. (It's what they were looking for, they said.)

Hire me instead :) You just didn't poll the queue enough.

The US is the recipient of all of the world's top talent. Why would any extremely experienced developer willingly choose to earn 1/6th of the money in the Europe or less unless forced to?

Of course, top talent does exist in Europe but there's way less than the US.

Because people like other things than just money? Once you have the safety network of a european state, have upper middle class income, there is very little to gain in quality of life by increase in pay.

I moved back to Europe from SV for a lesser paying job (not 1/6th though) because I thoroughly hated the bay area / US. I got a way better quality of life here (Belgium).

> or less unless forced to?

Most are basically forced to. We're not US citizens, we don't have a right to work in the US.

Because they want to live in Europe?

My comment never suggested there are none who don't live there by choice. Of course, by choosing Europe, you surrender literally millions of dollars (in compounding retirement investments over decades).

I specifically mean EU countries by the way, Switzerland and London are the only exceptions -- and even then the US is better.

> you surrender literally millions of dollars

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.

Education is a choice in our industry. I'm self taught and I'm paid the same as colleagues with PhDs.

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. [1]

I'll remind you that new grads in the US are often paid substantially more than senior level developers in the EU.

[1] https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/22/the-real-reason-medical-care...

> 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.

>Why compete with FAANG trying to pay new grads $300k

I am pretty sure even FAANG dont pay $300K for fresh grad.

Yeah they don’t pay $300K for a good undergrad who just graduated. More like $200K I would say (base + equity). It varies of course. But $300k would be a hell of a good offer.

> More like $200K I would say (base + equity).

Also $200K is on a higher end and depends on other offers, etc. Average is around $180K.

And even that $200K is not cash income, but includes restricted stock.

RTS and similar sites usually say $250-$300k all in for SWE new grad. Are those sites not reliable?

>>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.

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.

Surely you’re not implying devs in Europe are somehow inferior to devs in the US?

(Not sure if your question is rhetorical, apologies if so)

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”

Why would a good European dev work for $100k when they could get $300k?

FAANG doesn’t support remote work. If they do have a local EU office then they adjust for local wages, so you’re still competitive.

Because next to them is another good European dev who would be happy with $100k.

And next to the Western-European dev is one from the East of Europe, say Ukraine, that again takes half of that.

Te only people who still stay in EE/UA are those without options to move and even there their salaries approach WEU.

From what I have seen, its hard to make a fluid team without an extraordinary amount of effort in communication. This is quite tiring for a lot of people and they need specific training.

Timezones are challenging between US West Coast and Europe. But, at my company, we do a lot of collaboration between US East Coast and Central Europe--which seems manageable synchronously but is probably approaching the limit where it's fairly straightforward (on a frequent basis).

I'm US east coast working for a US west coast client, and that's complicated enough. I've got a few hours before and after work to myself, which is nice, but the workday is smack in the middle. On the upside, I can sleep in and stay up late if I want. On the downside, I often miss family dinners (less of a concern with covid) and there's no long block of time for more than errands during the week. Overall, I like it. A bigger shift would be hard. I may move to Hawaii when the plague passes, and then my day would start at 6am. That'd be rough.

> I may move to Hawaii when the plague passes, and then my day would start at 6am. That'd be rough

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 may move to Hawaii when the plague passes, and then my day would start at 6am. That'd be rough.

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.

Literally did this all the way through the bay areas SIP order. Was going to head back but things are worse in Hawaii now, they just shut down the beaches...

I actually know someone who is a one-woman PR agency in Hawaii with mostly (all?) West Coast clients. Yes, she gets up at like 5AM.

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.

What makes it truly hard (speaking from US location) is having a team in both directions. If you’re an Eastward team, or Westward team, but not attempting both, there is enough overlap that with some flexibility you can have meetings when everyone is awake.

Its worth noting Atlassian's roots in Australia mean they have had a long history of working across borders. Both the founders just bought the two most expensive houses in Sydney adjacent to each other so presumably they don't want to be bound by geography in running their business either.

> internet speeds are good (due to density probably)

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.

Because much of the US doesn't have capitalism for ISPs. It's largely monopolies and oligopolies all around. And not the nonprofit, regulated utility type.

That's exactly the end result of capitalism, at least in America, due to lack of proper regulations. There's nothing more capitalistic than a monopoly or duopoly. Oligopoly at worst. This is the goal every single capitalistic organization in the world strives for. From Google to Apple to drug dealers and slavers they all want monopoly or close to it. To claim that monopoly is not capitalistic is delusional. It's the most capitalistic situation possible and the most desired and sought after universally. It earns the winner the most capital. America has really perfected this system in its legal markets, although on the black market many other countries have too.

Technically you may be correct. I meant capitalism, small 'c', as understood in the post-Standard-Oil era. If there is no competition then it's not truly a free market. So perhaps I should have written free-market capitalism.

Hiring and operating out of a whole new country (or several) is a bigger leap for a company to make than just "anywhere in the same country" - the places I've talked to are considering making the latter change permanent, but aren't looking at starting to hire internationally.

> don't depend on the office for their socialization

Could you explain what you mean by this argument?

By and large, Europe does not have Silicon Valley's culture of crazy overtime, living at the office, and spending your remaining free time with your colleagues.

Of course, a company that currently depends on crazy overtime, etc, isn't suddenly going to be looking to hire people who aren't going to do that just because they are hiring remote.

Let's not imagine that widening a hiring pool is going to change top-down company cultures.

I work in Silicon Valley at a FAANG and that doesn’t describe the culture I experience at all.

You’re the minority. That mirrors what I observe pretty well.

Which FAANG probably makes a big difference. When I was at Google, most people were out of the office by 5-6.

European companies don't have equally nice office, free snacks or pay as top American companies.

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.

European salaries are lower, for sure. But nice offices and free snacks are everywhere in the IT-field.

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.

Not so sure about that. I know plenty offices in Stockholm with free food, drinks and entertainment for employees.

Visited the Bloomberg office in London. If you rent a Bloomberg terminal they gave free training on multiple features. Encouraged to visit the cafeteria, all free for staff and clients with visitor pass. Good stuff. Salads, fruit, cakes, sandwiches.

Looked around.

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.


QED that.

For context this was early 2000s.

That was the most shocking thing for me too.

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.

This is a total tangent, but I'm an American with a partner from Stockholm, and we're interested in maybe moving over there when that is possible again. Do you have any suggestions or resources for getting to understand the tech scene around Stockholm, especially AI/computer vision stuff? Thanks!

I'm not really sure that I would be the best person to answer but if you would like to ask anything please do. I've work with over 250 clients and agencies over the years mostly in stockholm. Why not make it an Ask HN?

Good point! I can try but it's hit or miss whether it'll get any traction. I guess a couple questions you could help with are (1) are there any good resources for scoping the job market beyond putting "[whatever] jobs stockholm" into search engines, and (2) do you have any do's or don'ts for applying as an American not currently living in Sweden?

Thanks a lot for your perspective!

Same in London, UK. And you need to overwork yourself to eat then.

And they stay in office after 5pm to take advantage of the perks?

Possibly, but the ‘young driven worker’ dynamic in Europe is just completely different, where you do not need to compete all that hard to have a comfortable life.

Free snacks would put me off, it's a terrible idea from a health perspective.

Snacks could mean e.g. fruit, which doesn't sound too bad.

The first thing that went through my head when I saw this headline was: "Huh, maybe I should send them a resume." I'm hype if this trend continues.

You'd honestly work for the folk responsible for the BitBucket redesign, or the 6 billion lines of dynamic JS loaded for every Jira page?

I'd sooner work the curb while living in a coal bunker

I know bashing on Jira is a popular pastime on HN, but I'm always surprised folks are not more introspective around why it's still so popular in the enterprise. It's because there are a million and one ways that teams like to work, and any one project has lots of different stakeholders with competing needs, and there really isn't any other tool that can scale out to this many use cases.

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).

I was amazed at how rigid Jira is when I started using it (we used a heavily in-house customized version of Sabrina before, and Rally as well). Sure, if you have loads of time you can work with an admin to write custom code for it, but at the level of what one of many teams can do with it directly, it offers virtually no options.

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...

> why it's still so popular in the enterprise.

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.

Maybe he can close out this 9 year old feature request to add custom domains to cloud apps: https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/CLOUD-6999

Just seeing that JIRA url gave me PTSD-4242

The lack of this feature is probably intentional

Did you click the link? There's a Group Product Manager explaining that it's a huge amount of work, they want to do it, and can't do it now. After the lead eng on the feature gave a detailed description of the work involved (20 teams were sucked into 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.

I didn't say that was my well researched opinion/plan!

You made me laugh because same thought when through my head

Maybe he thinks he can improve it or that things change. I've worked for MS in the past, it's not a dumpster fire like a lot of open source advocates would have you think. It was a fairly neutral experience, but they certainly have a lot of smart people working for them.

Maybe he's the guy that can turn that around.

Lapses on that scale are not an engineering issue, they're likely a culture issue. Atlassian are a successful business that sell to engineering businesses, but that doesn't mean their leadership know or care about engineering. I'd stake a large bet on the reality he could not turn it around. Atlassian are basically the Oracle of ticket trackers

> Atlassian are basically the Oracle of ticket trackers

That's the best way of putting that I've ever heard. Stealing it.

Atlassian undoubtedly has very smart people working there, but the absolute cluster mess of JIRA and their other flagships indicates deep management incompetence that favors shiny new feature over cleaning up the mountains of jQuery debt.

Atlassian has the Google problem: buying and half-ass integrating a competitor, shipping new features, that gives promotions to the people involved, but "menial maintenance" is not seen as necessary anywhere...

Ha, I curse Jira daily and I am glad to see I am not alone. So many baffling performance problems or design choices.

I mean, maybe he can help fine tune GPT-4 to dynamically output the dynamic JS every time Jira page is loaded. Probably would have less bugs/more features. Also, depending on how they sample the code it could be a new experience every time you load a page! Exciting!

Well this is a bleak world view.

Same boat, founders seem level headed and the company seems heading in the right direction. For me a plus is the office locations in Australia. I wonder what the next companies to do this will be?

Everything I read about the founders makes me think they are great guys, I think they value the same things I do. They are also obviously smart and great business people too because they have very successful business. They also have a habit of acquiring products I like using. I was a user of both source tree and trello when they were acquired.

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.

Counterpoint: working on infrastructure teams at Atlassian are significantly more pleasant than the product teams.

Hello to you too, fellow Cloud Foundations team member

He was also here on HN comments telling everyone not to criticise the Australian Government’s COVIDSafe App while not disclosing Atlassian had a contract as part of the app’s development

Really? I'm Australian and that's the first I had heard of it (either the fact that Atlassian had a contract, or that he commented on HN about it).

Here’s the comment:

“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” https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22986426

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:

Isn't atlassian the most gung ho proponent of doing everything, everything through event streams and Kafka?

Haven’t seen Kafka yet. Source: I work infra eng at Atlassian

Make sure you visit Sydney specifically though, it's a bit different from the rest of Australia. It's not everyone's cup of tea, though you may well end up loving it.

Hope you like working India(Bengaluru) timezone and working for India wages. Like most that are higher percentage remote, the vast majority of development is done outside of higher wage countries and due to government currency policies are out of reach for those in country with a higher cost of living.

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.

My experience working for the last ten years as a remote engineer couldn't be further from the way this is described. Just a single data point, ymmv.

There is a ton of demand for top talent and India is not going to fulfill that. India may have higher number of engineers but the ratio of decent talent at NON-FAANG companies is very low. The reason for this is in India Engineering education is forced by the parents and that's why there are too many engineers but good ones are very few.

You say that like it's a bad thing! Async work is a solvable problem. I want a fairer world.

But is it fairer when a person lives in a country that intentionally has monetary policy that causes them to not be able to work for those lower wages? A person in the US is not legally allowed to move to one of those lower wage countries and cannot afford to house or feed themselves if they worked for those wages. A person in one of those lower wage countries can afford many luxuries on that lower salary due to cost of living differences.

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 have a feeling this is going to end up similar to the "open office" fad. Lots of companies are going to go 100% on "forever work from home". Then in a year it's going to be not so much. That being said, I do believe "work from home" will become more of an option and far less frowned upon by employers. Then again, this is a white-collar problem. Blue collar and a few other industries still have to go to work. But who cares about them, right? It's only the white collar jobs that matter and should have a form of change and evolution to how they work. Those lowly blue collars and service industry peasants need to get back to work. It's far more vital for the important industries to hide away from the outside world, from its horrors and look down at the rest.

I think the perspective of "who cares about blue collar worker" is assuming that wfh is always a choice, a preference and ideal for non-blue-collar workers.

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.

The open office “fad” is pretty much the only office arrangement for more than a decade now, so what you’re saying is this will be the de facto going forward?

De-facto, but actually counter to productivity, just like open-office. Companies that choose to not do this, will have a per employee efficiency advantage. Big companies may not care just like in open office because the per employee advantage is outweighed by the ability to reduce costs for the space

Not too long after this discussion, a similar thought from PG: https://twitter.com/paulg/status/1295788954353111040. "Possible scenario: It's 2025. The epidemic is over, but most big tech cos are still significantly remote, because powerful employees moved to Jackson Hole and don't want to move back. A startup emerges that's intensely not-remote, and beats one of the incumbents by moving faster."

Open office is the second to last act of desperation.

Hot desking is your CEO standing up and saying "I got nothing" when asked how to increase profitability.

In software, remote work is way more productive in my experience working remotely for the last almost seven years. It's a win win. More productivity and way better working conditions (home office, nice desk etc.). Less hours needed to finish. Easier to concentrate. Easier to deal with bad bosses or co-workers or take time out and breaks during the day. More flexible schedule. Much less stress. The pros go on and on. The only negative for work is promotions and visibility, but when everyone's remote, even that works itself out.

How big are the teams you've worked with? I agree it's productive for deep work and when design is already worked out for large changes or additions, but I've had many people on my team complain that they can't work through a hard problem on a whiteboard with peers or quickly sync up on a design and require more time in meetings to get things done across components/team members/teams. Also not everyone has a dedicated office space at home, those people are hurting and having a hard time focusing in many cases.

We don't need to endlessly increase productivity. The US been increasing productivity faster than wages for decades and it hasn't been good for most people.

I'm not arguing either way for whether "we" need to as a whole, but if you want to get the most out of your team and company (and you should if you're running a startup) I think you should look at in person options again once things are somewhat normal if you want an advantage. Some sort of hybrid office(with dedicated per employee offices)+WFH flexibility is probably your best option.

Is there any evidence to support this?

No. There's not a lot of research into it yet because the ability to work from home is relatively new, but this is literally my wife's area of academic expertise and the research that does exist generally shows that given the proper conditions and environment, working from home can be vastly more productive.

Where has the "open office" fad ended? It seems like companies say it's a great idea even when presented with evidence to the contrary and they never back down or reverse course

The fad ended and became the norm. Like Agile/Scrum.

hoping wfh/remote kills the cargo culted agile/scrum stuff.

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.

We keep our standups to less than 1 minute per person. 5 minutes in and out.

If all of the white collar workers who are able to work from home and limit exposure to and spread of covid-19, doesn't that help everyone else who can't work from home?

You don't see the "It's good for you that I hide from the danger and you go out in it" and how incredibly messed up that is?

> You don't see the "It's good for you that I hide from the danger and you go out in it" and how incredibly messed up that is?

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.

What are you actually saying? That white colar workers cannot have certain benefits that come with the job because blue collar workers cannot have them?

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.

> What are you actually saying? That white colar workers cannot have certain benefits that come with the job because blue collar workers cannot have them?

I'm pretty sure this is what is regarded as "progress" these days... :)

Because only Sith think in absolutes. It's objectively positive because there are a lot fewer people out there to get infected and lowers the overall case load for health and other essential workers. Unfortunately it hurts other. There will always be winners and losers.

There are a number of blue-collar jobs that don't require close indoor proximity. That's almost the differentiating factor. A landscaper, welder, framer, forester aren't sitting in conference rooms breathing each other's exhalations for 8 hours a day.

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.

Until we solve AGI (if we ever do), someone is still going to have to go out to do a wide range of jobs that just can't be done remotely.

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.

How are those related? I don't understand why you think that some people working from home means that others will be less able to, or that those who can WFH don't care about those who can't WFH.

Given that some people are not working from home, surely it's strictly better for them if the spread of the virus is reduced?

I don't get how WFH is related to not caring(or caring) about blue collar employees. If anything the demand for housing reduces and the rent goes down.

Doctors have to go to work every day too. tons of WFH people are the lowest paid. It's not so clear cut.

Why would companies keep their offices if no one comes in to work there? Why wouldn't they sell all the furniture? Get rid of the infrastructure? Etc, etc.

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.

>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.

I think there is a massive business opportunity for somebody to develop a system that will help big businesses turn cube farms into bubble farms, where every employee has an airtight box to sit in with their own air supply, filters, and exhaust.

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.

Open office is still super popular

I feel like permanent WFH is outsourcing real estate costs to the worker. This isn’t a big deal for some, since one may live alone or already have a home office, but it gets burdensome if there is more than one home worker in a household.

I suspect this is one of those cases where there are temporary winners and losers. In places where housing was less expensive, such as much of the Midwest, a lot of people over-bought, so we have space that we didn't really need anyway, and that was idle during the entire work / school day.

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.

I was almost entirely WFH before but, yes, if I were still commuting, this would be a big savings of both time and cost. And I don't even have a bad commute--about 30 mins each way. On the other side, I have a house with a dedicated office that would be well equipped whether I used it for a work office or not. I did have to replace my good home office chair after this started, but I would have wanted to do that anyway.

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.

If my employer told me, that I could do the same, work from home, but have to buy my IT stuff and other things myself, I'd gladly do that, up to the point of approximately 1/6 of my wage, perhaps more. The point is, that it would save me so much time, that the cost is easily justified. In Covid-19 times I don't need to wear a mask at home and I don't need to be worried about not wearing one. I can have lunch in peace, without worrying about aerosols hitting my food.

FWIW Atlassian has been giving us a bunch of perks to account for this since the COVID-wfh started. We've had extra days off to account for the stress of a different lifestyle and home office budgets to purchase things we need.

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.

If we count putting the gear on/taking it off my motorcycle commute costs me 10hrs a week on top of my 40hrs (currently).

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.

In Canada you can get income tax breaks if you use part of your home as an office.

I'm OK with this. WFH means I can cut my mortgage costs by 50%.

Or not buy / maintain a car and spend hours a week commuting.

Its a large chunk of your life they're giving back to you. It will help cut carbon too.


Move somewhere cheaper I suspect.

Then your pay will be cut too. Lots of people think that is unfair because you are doing the same work, but those people just don't understand that salaries are market based.

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.

I believe that depends on the company. Facebook? Sure, I think I saw an article about that for Facebook. Other places? Maybe not.

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?

> 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.

The really cool outcome for me would be if all my coworkers get to work from home and I could snatch a whole office just for me (there's a binding rent contract for the next X years still, we might as well use it :P)

Edit: this comment was a bit sarcastic, just in case somebody didn't get that.

Somehow I imagine that if I and four other co-workers decided to be the only five to come back into the office, they'd still make the five of us sit next to each other elbow to elbow and leave the rest of the building completely empty.

Ah yes, the perfect horror movie scenario. Honestly, if the office was pretty close to my home, I wouldn't mind going there every week on one or two days, just to break the routine of sitting at home. But happy to see the 5-day mandatory "go talk to your coworkers and sit in a cubicle" regime slowly being phased out.

I'd love to have my own cubicle. I fu--ing hate open spaces.

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).

I actually do what you described.

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

I'm noticing we're about 40/60 with more wanting to go back to the office at my midsize company. I'm happily with the 40, but the company is just using this time to spruce up the office just waiting for our return. I find communication and the work being better now then when we're in the office. All the cliques and hallway talk is more online, so I have a better clue what's going on. I wish it would stay that way.

I'd be curious to know the split between newer / more tenured employees. As someone who has just started a new job, the process of building relationships across the company has been much harder than at previous jobs. Even with things like donut and social slack channels, it seems like theres no easy substitution for the types of casual interaction you get while working in the same location.

Agreed with this. I started 2 weeks before my company began the SIP, which itself was a few weeks earlier than the government mandate.

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.

it depends a lot on company culture. I see more private conversations in slack happening as opposed to group chat. FOMO is as high as stock market.

I've worked remotely for 4 years now. We try extremely hard to avoid talking in private chats. Each person has their own channel which we try to use over DMs - this works really well although a few people seem to default to DM.

Our company has the policy of deleting all DMs after a couple weeks which helps push people towards using the channels as people generally like having a history of their communications for reference.

I've worked from home for ~6 years and 2 companies.

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.

If you miss the physical act of writing on a whiteboard, then I would suggest looking into getting a drawing tablet (which you can use with any collaborative whiteboard app, or just screenshare a regular drawing program if you don't need to collaborate).

You can get an entry-level Wacom for < $100, and it scratches the whiteboarding itch for me in a lot of situations.

I got one just for that reason, what about the whiteboard software though?

What's wrong with Google docs or any of the myriad online whiteboard apps?

Unless you’ve mastered one of those tools, it’s impossible to match the fluidity of thought to text or visualization that a standard whiteboard provides you.

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.

I’ve been trying to build a really simple only boxes and arrows whiteboard at https://whiteboard.systems

It’s definitely not the same as drawing on a whiteboard, but I’ve found it useful for explaining abstractions.

What is there to master? It's drawing or typing on a board.

Not to mention the simplicity of a chalk/marker and a board.

The ability to callously walk up to the whiteboard and erase what your coworker was doing and telling him to go back to his cube and repent for his sins is also sorely missed

I'm admittedly not a developer but I used to think that the lack of expansive whiteboards was one of the real failings of remote communication. And it still can be. But I've also find that shared Google Docs work better in a lot of situations than whiteboards and post-its all over the place in a big conference room.

(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 have a whiteboard and web cam

Can you explain what you mean by this? I'm not sure I really understand. Are you saying you create a public channel for each person (ie, their name)? If so, how come?

Probably to prevent people from saying things to co-workers that they would not want to say publicly.

This is going to be the issue those in groups or made relationships with those often in person are at present fine with. But those who haven't or as new teams and personnel come on board they will possibly not make that same real bond.

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.

Unfortunately, game theory says that remote work will not stay once people can go back to work from the office safely.

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.

> game theory says

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?

>The reality is that there is a real advantage in working in person.

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

> 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

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.

I don't mean asking technical questions, which I agree is often easier to do over text, not least because you can cite line numbers and include code snippets etc. I mean getting favors, demanding concessions, strategizing, comparing notes, etc. especially if you're running a project (as I was) and need buy-in and deliverables from people in different reporting lines (I was eng with an asterisk, depending heavily on people in qa and ops), the ability to walk up to their desk and convince them is priceless

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

It sounds like what you are saying is that it is easier to be either a bullying management type or a charismatic persusasive type. Both of which I have seen lead to some of the stupidest corporate decisions in my career. So while both of those types might have a much easier time in an office setting, I'm not convinced that is a competitive advantage for the company as a whole.

Game theory doesn't know everything. History tells us that when people are exposed to new ideas they will often adapt. After managers see that working from home isn't necessarily the devil they will allow more of it. However, it's not going to be wholesale shift to home, unless there is a big monetary advantage (say rent was insane to be in the middle of the city) companies will meet with the idea somewhere in the middle, especially in tech jobs.

Anecdotal, but I've worked remotely for over a decade and been able to advance and grow at 2 companies. It may be luck or happenstance. It isn't always easy, I think that remote can allow one to be more productive. Sometimes you do need to do more than if you weren't in the office and you need to communicate, a lot.

Normally yes, but we have one major difference with Atlassian - our teams are split between SF and Sydney (for the most part, we have other offices but those are the major ones). Even before COVID we had a pretty strong remote culture. We were doing video chat based meetings where everyone dials in separately even before COVID hit. We also acquired Trello, which was a remote-first company. There's a LOT of push internally to make sure remote people are first party citizens in the company.

I don't think there's any real evidence that remote work is any worse (or better) for productivity than in person work.

I actually thought it was a forgone conclusion that remote work is _more_ productive (for IC work) but the problem is ideation and serendipitous interactions leading to novel IP is more likely to happen when people are physically near each other. Hence the aversion at a corp. level to remote work.

Is there any evidence for lower rate of IP generation? The same argument was made for open offices as well and has proven false.

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's a plausible story that is told here about spontaneous interactions producing new and interesting ideas, but what I don't know is if there is any actual evidence to believe this is the case. As contrasted to having regular planning meetings over zoom and then mulling over ideas in private (which I find to be a very fruitful way of coming up with solutions to problems, much more than "brainstorming" or whatever in a group)

> The reality is that there is a real advantage in working in person. Whether it’s increased trust, communication, or lower friction.

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.

People are different and they have different needs and skills. Working in meatspace is different from working remotely so those needs and skills may better match one model or the other. That is, SWEs aren't bug tracking robots that only need to communicate online using emotionless text.

To be sure different models fit different situations, and there are other needs people have aside from getting shit done, namely social interaction (which is at its root the biggest cause of resistance). If you don't get those needs meet elsewhere, the workplace is historically a good place to do so. But of course there are all sorts of ways outside a traditional office to optimize for this.

>There is no inherent advantage to "working in person."

I really miss whiteboard sessions and and being able to chat without lag.

yeah, that 80ms lag for DMs to go through really cuts on productivity

I'm more referring to natural conversation in group video calls. The cross talk caused by lag can get pretty grating.

I mostly agree with you, but is it not possible that we were stuck in a local minima, and Covid might have shocked us out of that?


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?

>bet that 100% remote will NOT become the norm

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.

Invest in commercial real estate? WeWork? Start a janitorial supply company?

But the real game changer would be if the managers stayed remote, evaporating the 'facetime' detriment typically faced by remote workers.

I love remote work. But yeah, I have also realized that if I didn’t show up for a few days, nobody would notice.

And that presents a long term problem.

Whether or not you show up shouldn't matter. Whether your work gets done should.

If you didn't do any work for a few days no one would notice? That does not compute. What do you do for a living? If I didn't show up for even a couple of days they would send out the police and possibly the state militia due to there being a lot of "village knowledge" at my company.

If I didn't have meetings scheduled or didn't have particular deliverables due? No. No one would notice if I didn't "do any work" for a few days. They would probably start to notice if I wasn't responding to chats or emails. But it probably wouldn't reach critical mass until after a few days.

We do work in two week sprints, so that is when work is noticed. I am a software engineer.

There are plenty of examples of successful fully remote teams and companies. Not sure why you are saying there aren't.

Because I’m not referring to fully remote teams but to the weird hybrid situation.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact