About 72% of their companies’ total global workforce is currently working remotely, according to the CIOs."
Honestly I would expect it to remain at more than 34%. Who would want to go back to daily commutes of >1h?
If we're able to do our jobs remotely it would be in our interests as human beings to resist losing 5-10 hours a week commuting.
Personally as a single young adult I like living in the city with lots of amenities nearby. I would hate being forced to WFH, the same way some hated being forced to go into the office.
For example, I don't care about having a big garden but I don't necessarily enjoy living in a dense city. If I could WFH at least three days a week for the foreseeable future, I would gladly move to a town in the suburbs where I could have a bigger apartment for the price of my studio apartment. I bet a lot of people would do the same. This would lessen the pressure on housing in the city center, so people like you who actually prefer living in the big city for reasons other than work could afford larger apartments.
My main reason for living where I do is so that my commute is less than 30 minutes each way.
I guess the point is that as the constraint of everyone working in the same place is reduced, there will be less people wanting to live in the city allowing better conditions for those who do.
I just don't find it very surprising that ~60-70% of people don't particularly like permanent remote, since it's 1. a departure from the norm and 2. people usually build their home-work separation with the commute, and I would say people expressing missing the commute separation at least some of the time represent a majority, if not a plurality, of my direct coworkers. But we are also at a company that let people do partial WFH pre-COVID.
In these times, I'm renting a small one person private office a few minutes away (by bike) from home. It's the best of all worlds. Quiet space to work, it is outside of the house for separation, but very close so the commute is minimal on a bike and don't need to drive.
I don't love having to pay for the space but objectively it is less than the cost of fuel I was spending every month on the commute so I'm still saving money. And my commute is ~7 minutes on a bike instead of 60 minutes driving. And I'm so close to home I can come back mid-day to see my son. Win-win-win.
So yes, I'm planning for permanent remote, life is so much better.
You get what you incentivize. See that number in the corner? That's why the solution for everything gets turned into lowest common denominator five world sentences.
The important thing is that you find activities to do outside the house because it doesn’t matter how big your space is; you need to get away from it sometimes.
What's great is the flexibility and customization for each individual employee.
For many remote work involves less take home pay.
An example from my own circumstances, I was paying $1800/month for a 1 bedroom in Toronto but now for a little bit less I have a 3 bedroom house with a small yard.
I am reaping the $200/month transit pass that I no longer need. As a Canadian I'm able to ask my employer for a T2200 to write some of my expenses off even as an employee.
I'm also saving ~5 hours a week in less commute time.
I'm still socializing with those coworkers in our daily water coolers, weekly syncs, Monday & Friday fireside chat.
A nice chair, a desk, a monitor. (Not that I have space for a nice chair at home!)
But an office? No way.
Perhaps it's because renting an office costs similar to renting a flat where I live (even though you get less space when renting an office).
I have had positive signals towards paying for a desk in a shared workspace... But wait, aren't we working at home to avoid sharing workspaces at the moment?
I personally want more free WFH gear, but I think our execs are clever. "Oh, you don't have a desk? Nobody is in the office, so we can give you a socially-distanced 15x15' space for free if you drive in."
Not only that, for some people the commute is 1h each way and for others it's 10 minutes. So some people don't see the issue with going into the office every day.
And unless everyone is going to work from home, if you're someone working from home but most other people are in the office then that can stifle your career development for internal promotions. Like it or not, the managers and higher ups will be in the office, it's easier to get to know someone in the office, it's easier to get inside knowledge on what's going on, what projects are happening, etc. I work for a company who has remote developers and none of them are leading anything or have any sort of significant power to influence decisions. They are just man power to get work done, even if that is wrong, that's how it is and I don't see it changing.
For as long as this is the case I don't see fully remote working as a viable career choice. I would only do it for a company which is all remote or all software dev is remote.
My preference is to WFH most of the time, but not all the time. When WFH for awhile, I can much more easily get into a zen-like state of concentration after an hour or so that is extremely difficult to get in an office. At the office I have to contend with constant sources of distractions and interruptions (people walking up on foot, phone ringing, non-work related discussion, ...) which has often made me feel like the only time I can push through a hard problem is during off-hours when no one is around. Most importantly, being in a zen-like state while working and getting stuff done is what makes work enjoyable for me.
That said, whenever there is a significant amount of collaboration or a need for a lot of round-trip communication with someone (new employee, need to bring someone up to speed, ...) it's better in person - but I find this to be only an occasional need.
> if you do want to "get ahead" you'll need to put in face time. Period.
You've just prescribed a one-size-fits-all solution, in the same phrase as saying that it doesn't work. How are you resolving the cognitive dissonance?
The second point I was trying to say was that if you only WFH, the same type of career opportunities that come from mastering soft-skills that build rapport will be unavailable. And where I was trying to go was to call out people who whine about this.
I agree I wasn't as clear as I could have been.
I'm never going to push for everyone working from home, or everyone working from the office. It should be flexible, it should be easy to make that choice when it suits you.
Some weeks I'll go into work every day, some weeks I'll have a few days work from home. That's how I want to work. I still put in the face time, I still get to see most people. I just get to have a more relaxing time working from home now and then.
I could never be a fully remote worker right now. But I'd always advocate for more flexibility. And I'll be honest, I like seeing my work colleagues, we have a laugh, and I'd miss that in a permanent work from home setting.
Obviously others have a different take, but I can see myself never going into the office regularly again.
It is probably a good idea to have office days even with remote teams. Half a day every other week or what ever.
Some things just are faster when you're all face to face, no amount of remote tooling or processes can change that.
I'm pretty sure our future will be a hybrid of remote/office work, depending on the state of the project and company. Plan stuff in person, then spend a few weeks remotely executing the plan with your team.
The problem here in India, when I brought up "WFH is future", all the experienced manager above 10yrs were not happy with idea. Why? Probably because they are paying EMIs for hefty loans they took for buying flats. People like me who are relatively less experienced don't want to take that risk at all. Moreover I intend to move to my hometown permanently. Needless to say, my ideas don't sit well with managers.
This does not have anything to do with meeting with people f2f, one can use tech tools and maintain policies. Of course having coffee with people all day is easier :)
Yep. One way forward is to move "middle" to other leaf node tasks in organisation. I have restructured a bunch of organisations towards globally distributed remote work since early 2000s. Every time: Unless I have strong investors' support I _MUST_ find a way to get the "middle" excited to move away from traditional management and coordination tasks into other things. Often this is back tech or sales where they originated. If you do it right most are happy and you get great improvements in productivity, staff retention, decision making. Do it wrong and you get mired down or sabotaged.
Although maybe he would have tried it, because the impersonator called into meetings and everyone noticed that he sounded completely different (had much better English) and the work was different (less skilled)! If it was me, I would be checking the sub-sub-contractors work and at a minimum calling into meetings myself ;)
"The software developer, in his 40s, is thought to have spent his workdays surfing the web, watching cat videos on YouTube and browsing Reddit and eBay.
He reportedly paid just a fifth of his six-figure salary to a company based in Shenyang to do his job."
"Authentication was no problem. He physically FedExed his RSA [security] token to China so that the third-party contractor could log-in under his credentials during the workday. It would appear that he was working an average nine-to-five work day," he added."
That and socializing, getting away from kids/stressful homes.
I think it's quite a personal thing. I can't wait to be back in an office; I really need to be around people. The last eight months has been a miserable experience.
Mind you, my commute in the before-times was a 15 minute walk.
Concretely, when salary employees WFH, all hours have become working hours for them. I've read accounts where people are having mental issues due to the dystopic new reality where they are always at work. They end up working around the clock, because they are constantly distracted by family and domestic issues intruding during the work day. To add to their demoralization, no more office perks either. Free coffee, snacks, lunches, after work get togethers, a chance to chat with a cute co-worker, etc are all gone.
Decreasing wage is also considered a productivity increase, because same now work for less pay. As people WFH more permanently, there are many receiving salary cuts as they migrate to areas with lower cost of living.
The "new normal" seems pretty hellish for some.
I can work in the morning, make some lunch, work a while after lunch. Then the kids come home, I can help with their homework and keep working for a bit more.
I can even assist colleagues in different time zones, since my computer is near me at all times. Just a quick chat during my evening (their morning) will speed things up immensely by unblocking their tasks right away.
I've even spent parts of the week at the family cabin and at my in-laws. No one cared, my productivity didn't change a bit.
But I think I'm privileged since my company only tracks my productivity and are smart enough to not overwork anyone on purpose. And I've had one burnout already, so I can see the symptoms of overworking and relax well before I run into any issues.
Normally I'd leave for my commute at 0700 to get to the office at 8, and again leave around 1600 and be at home around 1700.
When remote, most of my work gets done between 0800 and 1700. There are a few late-night calls (15-30 minutes) due to time zones and maybe a handful of times I need to consult a team on the other side of the planet during the evening.
Basically I get to sleep an hour longer, since my commute is 60 seconds and doesn't require me to be dressed. Also I get to take breaks during the day any way I like - that's how I played through Spider-man on PS4 :D
Instead of all hours being work hours, once I'm done with the tasks I've outlined for the day and see that there's not enough time to pick up something new - I just wrap the work day up with some time to spare.
If I was in the office, I would've been forced to sit in front of a computer, even if I'm mentally clocked out.
You still need to be at the computer, same as in the office.
If I'm at the office, I can still just walk out when I'm done, but I can't get back to work as quickly if I'm needed. So it's just polite to be physically present for the full work day.
So your phone alerts you about every work email?
If it's after hours I tend not to pay much attention to my phone, maybe glance at it when I have to look at it for something anyway. My boss knows to call me if there's an emergency after hours.
And that happens because we're now a tiny department within a large corporation that supports multiple call centers, and there's periodically network issues we have to help diagnose and fix or we risk breaking our contracts with our clients.
It's been a challenge at times, I've spent some long nights trying to get the right people from other departments on the call to fix the problems, since I don't have full access to everything in our data center (corporate likes to keep things siloed), but when that happens I just do my best to give myself the time back over the next couple of weeks during the work days. On balance I'm probably still only working 40 hour weeks (maybe even less some weeks).
We've been full remote for two and a half years though. We've been doing this since before the pandemic started.
Slack messages come through when I want to - usually when I'm on the clock. I can quickly check them from my watch of phone and decide if I need to react to it or if it can wait until the next day.
Yeah, personally I'm definitely working longer hours, though I'm pretty sure I'm less productive per hour, due to the psychological effects (I pretty much constantly feel awful).
A few colleagues use their commute time to take a walk around the block, that gets them in "work mode". And after they clock out they do the same in reverse.
I live in a house, so I can just take a seat on the patio out back (as long as it's not cold or raining like it is today), but there should be some equivalent. Do that for an hour then go back into your apartment and sign in for work.
I used to commute by train basically 2.5h daily, so I could spend that on e.g reading books
But on the other hand vision of waking up around 8:30 instead of 7, and then being at home around 16:30 instead of 18 is so good.
I just need to improve my work ethics(personal, not an actual work)
I think the best trade off is like 2-3 days of WFH and the rest on site.
What's the externalities here? Why has 2 hours downtime turned into 2 hours more work, rather than 2 hours of downtime at home?
I admit the OP was blunt, but it's not a ridiculous question - where has the time gone?
It's not at all a ridiculous question, no. It's a completely fair one. It's a dick move on my part to react like that without any context as to why. Suffice to say in my case it's akin to asking a drug addict why don't you just not take the drugs?
I'm very "field dependent" meaning my behavior is influenced by my environment to an outsized degree. It's not all under my voluntary control. The absolute best, and sometimes only, way to get myself to what I want/need to do is to create an environment that doesn't give me the option not to do it. Having a bus that is leaving soon and won't be one for another hour gives me the kick in the pants I need to tear myself away from what I'm doing and head home. The bus gives me nothing else to do, so I read. When it was WFH my environment didn't force me to do anything, so with those guard rails gone I lost control, which is pretty natural for me.
2020 has been a tough year.
I find this really hard to relate to though, I know the lines do get blurred and overworking by a bit is easier (personally, I maybe close the lid at 6:10pm rather than 5:59pm), but I can't see how (in any non-toxic work environment) the boundaries can get so blurred in such a short space of time to extend the working hours in a day by 25%.
If it was perfectly acceptable to log off at 6pm when you were in the office, I don't see how it's "the fault" of homeworking that's pushing that to 7pm. Likewise - if you were in the office for 9am, why log on at 8am at home?
If the only thing stopping some people from overworking themselves are simple environmental cues, that sounds like something that needs to be solved, and solved quickly for homeworking (and by any non-asshole manager). It's unlikely it's not going to be a major part of knowledge working in the future. For a lot of us, we're already months into doing this full time by now, and likely, months away from even venturing back into the office part time.
One of the reasons which is strong at the moment is legitimately fear of losing your job, losing other work, being demoted or at least stuck, and that you're not being judged on vague presence any more, so you're being judged more strongly on what visibly shows remotely.
You think you are doing lower quality work while at home. Maybe you are. Perhaps home has extra distractions, like other people, or your mind can't stay focused as easily as it could at the office. Certainly for those with children at home it's a big problem.
So you feel you need to make up for it by working a bit longer.
Especially because your boss can't see you working.
Maybe you think you are working, but you worry your boss doesn't think so. You have a lingering doubt that maybe your boss thinks you're "clocked in" but you're not really working, you're browsing Facebook or HN or whatever half the day.
Actually, if you had measured it objectively, you spent a surprisingly large amount of time at the office browsing Facebook or HN or whatever before. Your boss did know, but it wasn't a problem, as long as you kept up enough good work to keep things going. As long as the standard set by your coworkers was something you lived up to. The benchmark was set in the office and by your coworkers.
But now, you're wondering if your output still looks good. Because your presence is more doubtful, competitive feelings about productive output and visibility signals sit in the back of your mind.
You're not used to working at home enough yet. So you start to think like an over-conscientious freelancer. Paying attention to your output more. Worked 9-5 with a lunch break, and realised you only "really" did 4 hours good work that day. Feeling like you should probably clock in 8am-7pm to make sure you're seen to be present at least, and maybe you'll end up "really" doing 5 good hours and it will be ok when the performance assessment arrives.
Your boss tells everyone to work normal hours as before. That they don't want burnout or stress.
But you have seen both sides of HR by now; you know friendly platitudes like that are quickly forgotten when the company makes an executive decision to let people go.
Most would be present were you in a regional office and "corporate" were calling the shots, or your manager's manager is in your New York office and doesn't see what their skip levels are doing locally.
A lot of them are even present when your desk is only a row over from the rest of your colleagues, and you're at a tangent with the flow them.
The problem here isn't so much working from home, it's going from visibility to non-visibility. Open plan offices to, essentially, private offices. These feelings would begin to manifest themselves if they simply rejigged the office design, and mitigating and building resilience of this is needed whether in the office or otherwise.
That being said, having children at home is hard. And a lack of appreciation of the impacts of those I feel falls under my point about toxic environments.
Have you tried having downtime at home in a lively home?
It doesn't make sense to trivialise it, it's a real and significant problem. What makes sense is to understand it and come up with ways to change it.
Brains have a lot to answer for. So do social pressures inside homes.
Maybe your brain needs 2 x 1 hour chunks every day, staring out of a window with nothing you have to do, nobody to talk with, no pressure whatsoever, supported even by an effortless coffee and snack that magically arrive, to reset your brain between major contexts.
But in some homes, taking 2 hours of "downtime" will result in conflict on a regular basis, and it will escalate.
Maybe you'll get asked to do more chores. Fix things on the household backlog. Talk through things on the household backlog. Maybe you'll find yourself in conversations that prevent you getting essential brain-rest that you were used to before WFH.
There's a big difference in practice in domestic interactions between being physically unavailable because you're on the train or in a car for 2 hours, versus looking to others like you're doing "nothing" for 2 hours.
This is not a problem which can be solved by some little conversation. Even when other people understand, they don't feel at ease. It's a lingering point of conflict in many households, previously resolved by leaving the house and "having to go".
If you don't have other people at home, that are different issues at play, but a lot of people are reporting similar brain boundary issues with pandemic WFH when living alone too.
With WFH I generally don't respond at all off hours. I keep track of my hours on a pad of paper for the week for both my timecard and for my sanity, so when I get to 8 hours I am DONE!
1) Remote work does not necessarily mean WFH. It means work where is most effective for you instead of going to some office. These days there are many different kinds of solutions for having office space if you want/need it. It also becomes more of a commodity that you can simply use when needed (e.g. a final push before release, a workshop preparing for a big new project, etc.).
2) Companies who recognise this and get rid of their local offices may experience a cost advantage because having offices costs more than just the building. There are a lot of utility costs involved, you need people who manage the facilities, etc., etc.
3) If we're really serious about the environment, avoiding people having to commute to work should be a serious goal. Companies tend to talk about reducing how much they fly around but what is the Co2 footprint of flying in total compared to commuting?
Anyway, fearing getting replaced by outsourcing is like fearing to get replaced by robots. Maybe it will happen in the end but if so, we never could have stopped it anyway. If it's the right direction and we should pursue it.
As a programmer this year has been great in regard to work; while working from home. Slack or Zoom for video chats when needed, solves all situations I would've been next to someone in-person and if it wasn't for the pandemic.
I don't fear being outsourced as well, since companies still want their employees to be near and I doubt video conference will ever change that desire.
I am not going to hire an accountant from Vietnam to do my taxes even if I would be able to pay him $1 instead of $100. Accountant from Vietnam is not going to learn US or some EU country tax code if he has customers in Vietnam. In case something goes wrong, like you would have to go to court to settle things, good luck on getting someone from other side of globe to the court and setting things straight.
Local regulations, local language plays huge role in a lot of jobs that can be done remotely. But they will be done 'local' remotely so you still compete locally not globally.
New manager comes in. Hires team in India. He designs his metrics in a way to be greatly improved. Higher ups impressed...guy now in charge of department does the same. Org is now mostly outsourced.
5 years later, oh shit this was a horrible idea the company is dying.
However to that manager and his bosses, they just didn’t care. These ppl all saw their stock appreciate and left before it got bad.
Wall Street and public companies are often rewarded for short term gain at cost of long term future. It’s why startups are able to disrupt an established market.
What I'm seeing is people from low cost locations which traditionally migrated as soon as they could to get western salaries are not getting those western salaries without having to leave. I would say if you were at the highest compensation level you may see a decrease but it will remain that the best command large salaries as now. The difference will probably be that some who were the best and underpaid will have an easier time getting reasonable compensation and some people who were taking advantage of locality factors will now approach a more reasonable salary for their actual contribution.
even for the same level role and expertise and assumed same productivity the east europe one will get a smaller compensation, thus costing the company less.
Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander and all that.
I'm just pointing out some of the potential consequences.
Some positions, such as junior dev, may have reduced pay since there are millions of international lower skilled devs.
Personally, I think the biggest thing my team discovered was how much of our work was actually able to be done remotely. We were all averaging roughly one day a week work from home, but I expect to be more like 2-3 long-term.
I was looking for a minimal, simple and user-friendly app for daily task management, so I developed Renoj.
Fast to-do task management in Desktop for ultimate productivity.
I don't know how many years we will be on this increased remote thing. Hopefully for some time.
But imagine a few years from now when there is no pandemic. Say someone creates a futuristic smart city with good density, lots of parks, and 100% autonomous cars. In that situation you may find that working from home becomes uncool.
Or another totally different possibility. Virtual and augmented reality become so good that whether you are actually in your home or not does not really determine much about your working situation. It's down to software configuration, such as whether you place your avatar in the shared virtual space or your virtual office.