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Let me explain how I personally got out of this situation: I became a software consultant. For sure, it's not something you can become overnight, because you need clients, but it's a good way to get out quickly versus the ivory tower of starting your own profitable product offering. Heck, 37 signals and Fog Creek started out as consulting firms.
I took any random job that came up. First it was updating the website for my friend's art gallery getting paid $20 an hour in trade out when I was in college. Next it was helping out a friend who was doing a larger contracting project, then I did a project for someone who I randomly met at a friend's party. Before I knew it, I'd been doing little contracting projects on the side for 10 years.
That's when I decided to make the jump into full time. I didn't have the client base to do that, but I had the experience and confidence that I could present a professional front. I had business cards and invoice systems, time trackers, etc. I then did a similar thing to what rfnslyr described doing when starving: Find a product that companies need and you can build with your skills. Then it's just a matter of knocking on doors. Last year I cold called a company with a proposal on how I could augment their business. A month later they signed a $40,000 contract with me to implement stage one. Since then, they followed on with two additional contracts and now I have an open ended contract with them to work "As many hours as I have time for." The important question is to ask yourself what you can offer that will add value to a company. There are opportunities all around you for that. You just have to think a little bit outside the box. The really traditional and obvious ones are SEO type stuff and building websites, so those will in most cases have the least rewards and the most competition, but there are so many more out there.
Well, find a job somewhere, preferably a large corporation. Lots of people run their own consulting gigs on the side. Talk to them.
I found out a few people, just around my cubicles, run a consultancy on the side with a few people hired.
I started working part time for their consultancies as we're always in the office together, then once my contract at the company finished, I knew abut 5-10 people that consulted so I got a few gigs with them. Boom, now you're a consultant.
Best way is in person. The easiest gigs I ever had was when I was nearly starving and needed money. I went out, went to every business I could find that could possibly use a website with a proper backend (so I can take more time and bill more, don't want to do just frontend work). I got about 20 gigs that day, only completed a few over the course of the next year.
Two ways: talk to people you work with, or really go out there and STOP Googling and reading. There is no magic path, just do it.
OR, find an existing consultancy and either try taking out employees to lunch and talking about it, or work for a consultancy for awhile and take notes on how everything operates. How clients are landed, billed, how talent is acquired, etc.
It's also better if there is a back end. Usually means they will want some specific feature that you can charge to build and cash in on maintenance costs. A proper backend takes way more time than frontend too, and people like to be in control of their data ;)
Most of the time I'm just writing a custom WYSIWYG editor for custom written blog software. Reinventing the wheel every time.
A caveat is that you'll almost certainly be working with Java rather than iOS, but not necessarily. Just get your name out there and talk to a few places.
I know this approach works because it's what I did. I don't even live in the US (western Canada) and it's worked out fine. I have to fly down and hang with the client once a quarter and that's about it.
Hewlett Packard, Intel, AMD, Avago, National Semiconductor, LSI, and Wolf Robotics all have offices in Fort Collins.
Fort Collins-Loveland was rated 2nd in the "Top 10 Metro Areas for High-Tech Startup Density" in the United States (with Boulder at #1). 
We even have an incubator, Rocky Mountain Innosphere , if that tickles your fancy.
In short, I don't think you'd have a problem here despite it not being a "tech city".
disclaimer: I'm a senior at Colorado State and have no intention of leaving Colorado.
this seemed to work so well for Portland it also arose in other nice places to live and work - Denver apparently being a winner in that respect internationally too.
Any particular companies you can recommend?
We make it work through solid communication, and I'm sure like us there are many opportunities for you to get a great remote position. Would the HN admin team consider adding a 3rd Who's Hiring entry, dedicated to remote positions?
When it comes to looking for work, telecommute is a non-negotiable item for me. I am happy to visit the office, which to me means "go onsite for one week every quarter" (as in-person time _does_ matter, just not on a day to day basis). But if someone says they require me to work onsite, it's a reason to walk away, in the same way that a lot of other people say, "No way would I relocate."
Plus, I see a refusal to permit telecommuting (for appropriate work, especially creative/innovation) as a sign of the company culture... and not in a good way. Do you really trust your employees so little that you have to have them under your watchful eye?
We're 100% remote, and work hard to keep things fun. I'd encourage you to apply.
Let me know if you would like to know more I saw you were in Atlanta (we are not downtown).
But it made a vast difference to my life - I went from a miserable commute eating three or four hours a day in a car, doing "management" work at a large company that did not get it to working in my own office twenty minutes walk from home hacking in open source code for Rice University in Texas.
It's not some over night, all is perfect now story, I have not treated myself as a proper business, I have not done the right things - but the big stuff, that's in place and I hope to stay the right side of the tax collector and produce not awful code for paying clients - it's a good road I am on. Join me. seriously, just start putting the word out and be prepared for some pain to start with.
They have a set of beliefs that they tell powerful stories about, in various mediums, to people who already believe or want to believe these same beliefs.
And in this context they also offer products that make things like remote work collaboration easier. But you're not even bothered by that, because they are clearly experts at doing this well (they wrote a book about it and are doing it themselves) so it all just fits together.
It's thought-leadership in a very practical way. A lot of good lessons to be learnt.
When remote work starts to fall apart is when there is a dedicated office where 75% of the team works.
In these cases the remote workers miss the critical "Let's grab a room meetings" where decisions are made. I think the reason is that its much easier to make decisions with people when you can see them face to face rather than in group chat.
Rather work on making your employees loyal to the company by being loyal to them. A happy and well paid employee is not going to steal your data, ever. An unhappy and smart employee will steal your data regardless of any silly obstacles you try to put up.
I do remember feeling a little squeamish about the idea of hosting our code on github when we made the decision a few years ago, but now that seems silly. The benefits have definitely outweighed the drawbacks by a very large margin.
The employee trust question is interesting. If anything, I think I could argue that my access to resources is more easily controlled and audited when I'm remote.. Everything requires a secure authenticated connection, as opposed to some of the office environments I've worked in where I suppose lots of assets could have walked off relatively easily.
We all work remotely. Every developer and QA tester has his own laptop, they have set up a VM to run the application locally, with a fake database.
No one ever goes into prod for anything.
Companies have to trust their employees - else they wouldn't hire any. You can't really blindfold a developer from the code he's creating, can you?
Interestingly enough, my company's wifi in their office is just a normal public internet connection (does not go onto the corporate network), so if you are on Wifi, you still have to VPN in. Its their way of allowing visitors to get proper wifi access anywhere in the building (plus they trust VPN encryption more than Wifi security).
As far as leaking data: anyone with a laptop can leak data. You should have good IT practices to prevent this type of thing. All laptops should have their harddisks encrypted and password protected. Now if the employee is being malicious, a local employee could steal data just as easily (see NSA and Snowden).
Good IT practices when you have a lot of computers on your network: (1) don't trust any device on your network, so you should have an IDS/IPS for tracking activity. (2) for VPN people, you want all traffic going through your network, so you can monitor the users network traffic with your IDS/IPS. (3) try to log as much activity as you can in-case you need to do post-mortem analysis once you've been hacked. (there is a lot more, but that's what you hire a good IT person/team for).
If you are working for a startup of < 50 people, you probably won't be the target of hackers. But if you are a large company or have sensitive data, you are a target. Having sound IT practices are important for your company's data.
We have a policy that unless you declare you're "out of the office" (i.e., vacation), you should be generally available between the hours of 9-to-5, should someone need to contact you. In practice, though, to avoid being disturbed like that, we've found that we've all become excellent communicators and will set expectations appropriately for our co-workers. To date, not one of my co-workers has called me if I've been out during 9-to-5 because they needed me.
What about the support staff? Not too many people using a SaaS SSH instance, or SAAS RDP service.
For example, individuals engaged in highly creative multi-disciplinary endeavors -- like the writers, artists, and technicians who together make a Pixar film -- seem to produce great results when they are regularly interacting with each other face-to-face. Steve Jobs, in fact, forced a redesign of Pixar's headquarters to promote face-to-face encounters and unplanned collaborations.
Of course. The problem is that many (most?) companies will not even consider the possibility that remote work would be suitable for their employees because they have a fundamental lack of trust for those employees. Furthermore, they are managed by baby boomers who still believe in outdated mantras like "show up early and leave late to show your dedication."
I'd say that 20 years from now remote work will have become the norm, at least in software.
I can take a break when I need to and be in my comfortable space. I don't have a commute. I can open my door and see my daughter when I go downstairs for a coffee. I can take a walk to the local coffee shop and sit down with the other freelancers and remote workers and catch up on local happenings. If I need a break or I'm done for the day I'm not just watching the clock and waiting for a few other people to leave first.
I contribute regularly to open source projects and so I know what it takes to collaborate remotely. We're experimenting with sqwiggle, screenhero, and use github and pivotal. We email each other constantly keeping the teams up to date. We have a VPN and use our ssh-keys for as much as we can. It works really well and I think the tools have come a long way.
It's good to see that the world we were promised in the 60's is finally coming to fruition.
Great that you're trying out Sqwiggle. I'm actually one of the co-founders so please let me know if there's anything we can do to improve your experience. Also any feedback you have is super helpful!
In my case, I traded the city for a modest home on a beautiful lake in rural Minnesota. It also lets me be near my autistic son who attends online public school (school at home is another digression, but off topic).
Yes, there are challenges, like deciding if today is a shave day or not.
All kidding aside, working at home is tool that great companies with great employees can wield effectively to obtain excellent results and acquire talent they can't find locally. Companies, like Yahoo, that don't understand this are not great companies and probably never will be.
Long live working at home!
I find the remote space is rapidly advancing and expanding. The tools are getting much better, and the diversity of companies offering remote work is as well. It's definitely sustainable to choose to work only remotely, and even if I were to move to a city with better tech jobs I would have a hard time going back to full-time working in an office.
And her action then kicked off many others to read way too much into it, usually to springboard off for their own interests. Mediocre managers who have no clue what their charges are doing, and can only manage suffering, for instance, all cheered and forwarded and linked.
Once I entered Silicon Valley, I learned that the above is the exception rather than the rule. And I think that's where all the horror stories arise. For I no longer get to choose my co-workers, and there's all sorts of pointy-haired edicts that come down the pipe from various Peter Principals(tm) inflicting their view of reality upon the collective they oversee. Just forget trying to run a remote team this way - it's incurably broken - and from this perspective, I agree with Marissa Mayer's tough choice to eliminate telecommuting as an option. Sadly, this movement is wreaking havoc on the daily commutes of everyone here.
My own solution however has been to seek work where I'm an IC and I have someone immediately above me covering my back. That's hard to find, and you're going to be perceived as a job hopper during the hunt, but it's worth the temporary downside IMO.
Or even better, just start your own shop with people you trust...
I really, really wish I could do this. I feel like there needs to be some sort of guild structure for programming that would enable this.
* How about same-time communication? E.g. I need to discuss things with my designer, oh wait, he's gardening at the moment, or he works at night.
* How do you know when to start/stop your day? E.g. In "normal" office, it's usually 9 to 5.
* How do you schedule projects? Fixed time simplifies scheduling ("This project is 5 man-days").
* Who pays for supporting equipments (desk, LCD, internet, nice coffee) if I work from home?
* Specific to 37signals: How did they make the video? Did the video guy traveled to each and every employee in the video to tape them?
> How about same-time communication? E.g. I need to discuss things with my designer, oh wait, he's gardening at the moment, or he works at night.
On the whole you avoid it. So much of what people think needs an immediate response really doesn't, and can be dealt with much more effectively with a well written email. If you really do need to speak to someone real time then you schedule a time which is convenient, rather than disrupting the other party by dropping by their desk.
> How do you know when to start/stop your day? E.g. In "normal" office, it's usually 9 to 5.
This was the hardest thing for me when I stopped working in an office, but eventually you get into a rhythm, much as you would in a "normal" job. Sometimes it might vary a bit, but in the end we're creatures of habit.
> How do you schedule projects? Fixed time simplifies scheduling ("This project is 5 man-days").
You still have an idea of how many productive hours you'll get in a typical day, you're just working in a different place. Knowing how much you actually work is a big win for estimation, since you're not playing the game of pretending everyone gets 8 hours a day every day.
> Who pays for supporting equipments (desk, LCD, internet, nice coffee) if I work from home?
In my case, I had it all set up from when I was contracting anyway, so the kit is mine, but it depends on the company. Any company worth their salt would pick up the tab for equipment you need for your job (although you may have to pay for your own coffee).
He did! It was kind of cool to spend a day with a coworker in my town.
* The expectation is to be available during business hours for the local time zone, unless something very weird is going on. However, I will generally block a couple hours in the afternoon so I can go work out or help my daughter with her math homework (whatever hours I take off are made up at some point later that evening or later that week)
* Project scheduling doesn't change. The expectation is still to work about 8 hours a day, unless there is vacation is in the mix, but that's no different than people who work in an office.
* My employer provides all the electronics (computer, LCD, etc). It is also company policy to pick up the cost of an IP phone and high-speed internet (50MB/s down/15MB/s up where I'm at). When I was negotiating my salary for the position I took into consideration that I would be paying for my own "perks" (coffee, etc). I have friends who work at companies like Palantir that are paid a stipend for "forward-deployed" engineers that covers the perks that other employees receive in the office (catered lunch, coffee, etc).
I've just started working remotely at a new company. I asked my previous employer if I could, and they said no, which is why I am no longer with them. I think this was one of their biggest concerns to having a team working remotely - if you need to discuss something you can't just grab everyone in the team for half an hour to discuss it.
Personally this was one of my biggest gripes of working in an office, if someone wants to discuss something, instead of arranging it, they just disturb everyone else whenever it is convenient for them. Developers always talk about being in the zone, but when it comes to respecting others we don't seem bothered about it.
So in regards to your issue, I don't see it as a problem. If I really need to talk to someone I can pick up the phone and call them, but if it isn't urgent I just send them an IM or email and wait for them to get back to me.
For shops that allow/ or just work asynchronously, other arrangements need to be made to allow that. Usually more and more stuff is written and stored, so everyone can join and leave any moment.
There is a similar book being worked on by other ruby-remote working company: Arkency, http://blog.arkency.com/2013/09/arkency-survival-guide-to-ef...
Start-stop: Whenever you feel like it. I start around 10, work until 4 or so, and usually run a couple hours later in the day (11-2 at night often)
Schedule projects: Stop thinking about hours on the clock, start thinking about iterations on a calendar. Look at past work, consider the difficulty, extrapolate to the future with a hedge factor.
Supporting equipment: I do, it's a tax writeoff and I get to pick what I want. I've worked at companies that paid for everything - that's fine too.
2. We do 9-6, 1hr lunch sometime between 11:30 and 1:30, releases after 6, which isn't too bad you're already home when it's done.
3. No different than regular, work breakdown structure, 6hrs/man of actual work in day (email, skype, etc. doesn't count)
4. I use my home computer, this way I don't have to set up two envs, but software is reimbursed, they would buy computer if I asked though.
start/stop: if you find time a useful way to plan things, just set yourself a "work time" and stick to it. it might require a bit of self-discipline that office work doesn't, but after a while you'll get used to thinking of that block of time as work. the nice bit is that it can be, e.g. 7-12, siesta, 3-5 if you prefer that to a straight 9-5.
schedule: you can still plan things out in man-days. people are responsible for arranging their time so that they put in that much work; it just doesn't need to be 9-5 every day.
supporting equipment: there are companies that will let you expense some of your equipment and internet bills; others see providing your own equipment as a tradeoff for not having to come in to the office.
We already use chat rooms, individual chats, tickets, video conferencing, email, dashboards, whatever.
But sometimes the bandwidth of just sitting with someone and looking at a problem together is so much higher that you can solve big issues in a very short time.
I think some psychologists could study this, it's right up their alley - what is lacking in remote co-operation devices. I personally think it's partly that you need to see what the other person is looking at and also you must be able to observe their body language. A way to do "Look here, this is important in about 0.1 seconds." But I have no evidence.
In the second case, those people were very often left out of the most communication that was happening in the office, and for them it must have been not very good situation to be in. There was no general plan for handling this situation and trying to include them in meetings and decision making process.
But when whole company is working remotely, the situation is completely different, everyone is at the same level, and you really can make it work.
My main problem is when I need to interact with office culture. People in large conference rooms with a shitty speaker in the middle of it. When more than one person talks at once, it all becomes totally inaudible. Accents also become much harder to discern under the fuzzy sound quality that this kind of environment produces. I never have these problems with predominantly remote teams.
How to bridge that culture gap? Does the office world just need better speaker phones?
Is the target audience employees who work remote or want to, or is the target market managers who need to understand remote employees?
I'm usually an advocate for this kind of approach, but in my experience they are leaving out the part when you really need to get stuff done and work together, which can be really rough.
At the end when the one guy says "If you have the right tools, the right trust, and the right team, you can work wherever you want..." Those are huge caveats, and 37signals is secure and stable enough to have those in excess, which isn't the case with most businesses.
While there were certainly benefits, I experienced a few downsides that also drove me crazy.
As a product manager, I was in the sticky situation of needing to coordinate with a bunch of different people, and hit certain deadlines that the rest of the company may or may not have aligned with. I felt like I lost much my day-to-day ability to get-shit-done, especially as I was competing for time & resources with other projects.
I also found it easier to stop caring as much, since the emotions & passion weren't as readily communicated remotely.
Definitely some personal shortcoming in there as well, but, there's definitely issues to watch for if working remotely.
To be noted, but not as the basis for a new world order.
Anecdotal evidence of my own:
- Stop thinking about labor in a capital-intensive business
- I can't do a damn thing with collaboration without a real whiteboard
- I don't work well with too much technology.
- Time zones make things tricky: half of "our" team is in Europe, but deals with a different group of companies. FTSE vs NYSE trading hours make things difficult.
- The one work-from-home person on "our" team was let go due to inconsistent quality of output
- Living in a city is a part of work/life balance for pretty much anyone under age 30
If anybody has links to research (rather than anecdote) around the topic I'd love to have additions Especially any that show distributed teams performing to the same levels (or better) than co-located ones. Thanks ;-)
Working remotely, as I understand it, means, that you have to transform the company employer relationship in a way that it works using rather abstract or technical infrastructure or interface. The company has to know or to learn, and define, what kind of services or deliverable it can expect from its employees. Also the employee has to learn how to present his service or deliverables in a way that they get noticed and impress someone very far away.
It is sort of an bidirectional API that both have to serve and use.
My question now is, what is the reason for a company to have employees if the service they need is so well defined and could be offered by anyone capeable of serving that API? Why have employes if you can have contractors? The same question holds for the employees, if capable of offering that service in such a well defined way, why not turn into a company themselves and offer that service to anyone willing to pay?
The initial transition to remote working is especially hard - you require infrastructural and organisational changes to accommodate remote workers, and there's an up-front cost (not just financial) to that that dissuades getting started.
I previously worked in an environment that had a culture of face-to-face meetings, informal chats and the like, and it really would have required a total change in culture to implement frequent remote working. By contrast, about 25% of my current engineering colleagues frequently work from home - we've got Google Hangouts and the appropriate equipment and infrastructure to pull it off.
There are real upsides and downsides though - obviously a remote worker saves on a commute, but they do tend to miss out on the more social aspects of an office. Like, "Let's go get lunch," or "It's Matt's birthday, let's all have some cake." Those are definitely some of the perks of working with pleasant colleagues.
I do a genomics start-up, with two offices, one in Europe, one on the East Coast. #1 wishlist item is only if there was a way the two offices could be physically together.
Remote works as well as a long-distance relationship. It may work in a mature environment, 5-10 years into your relationship. Not Day #1. Start-ups battle many odds, remote is not one you want to tackle from the get go.
I've ended up thinking that remote working is for people who are traveling a lot or people with a family they would like to stay at home and spend time with.
I.e. not being able to move because of family doesn't necessarily equate to wanting to spend more time than normal with the family.
There is a huge market of highly talented people that are unwilling to move into the country (or part of the country) where you choose to set up your business. Remote working has it's costs, but it can be offset by a larger pool of experienced and enthusiast candidates.
Have you tried working with home without a family? I'm getting good gigs but they are all remote. It's has been a rough time since I socialize really little.
I'd love to know what pain-points you found.
The only bummer for me was that I was a contracted employee so basically I was paid for the hours I worked (my full-time job is salaried so it's nice to know I'm going to expect X dollars each month) and since I was doing it in my free time it started to get difficult to balance the extra work time with family time since I ended up no longer having much free time.
If a company offered a $90,000+/yr salary + health and retirement benefits to work remotely then I think a lot more people might be interested, but in some cases (when you're working simply as a remote contractor) that's definitely not nearly as good.
I've worked with remote developers (via video) before, and it didn't come close to the interactions I have in-person with people at the office. Would be interesting to hear some comments from remote developers. Related (from a blog post of mine): http://henrikwarne.com/2013/04/02/programmer-productivity-in...
On the other hand, zero face time is problematic in other ways. Even 37signals has an all-employee get-together a couple of times a year (read back through svn, they describe this).
But also, from talking to a lot of Silicon Valley friends, they don't have much work from home either....unless you're a sales rep, sales engineer, or a consultant who likely has to spend most of the time on-sight (away from corp office)...
One thing I'm hoping to accomplish at my new company is a culture of work-hard/play-hard remote workers. Those who want to live in say mountain towns, but who want a real career as they get older...I'd not even have a problem with the idea of a "Powder Day" and they don't login until noon. WIth the right happy workers...
The big question is how much does this scale? I hope this is addressed in the new book.
Having less than 50 employees allows the flexibility of doing many things differently. I would argue that this is one of them.
I don't know what the magical number is for size of a company where working remotely becomes a negative investment.
The bias with 37signals is very strong. They actively seek talent and find people that are not only able to work remotely but enjoy doing so. It also works well to have staff that can work 24 hours across time zones.
How relevant is this to a company with 1000 employees that is not technology related? I can't really answer that definitely but to say that based on my experience, not too much.
BTW, if anoyone is looking for remote iOS/RoR developer drop me a line ;)
- Give yourself a dedicated space (very preferably behind a door that closes if you don't live alone)
- Give it a few weeks. It takes getting used to, so avoid entertaining "This just isn't working out" feelings for a while. Took me a bit to get used to the quiet for one thing!
- Be social! Visit the office when you can, don't be afraid to talk about not-work in chat rooms, etc. Office chit-chat and lunches together have value, they enrich your relationship with colleagues and keep humanity levels high in work debates. I find I can find myself with shorter patience if I haven't been "hanging out" with coworkers for a while.
- Work for a remote team. Being the one-remote-guy on a team is a challenge. Remote working works best when the team is committed to working asynchronously, when the chat-room is the office, etc.
The last bit is key. Most of the stories I've heard about it not working out had a lot more to do with the team not actually being committed to remote working than some fundamental flaw in remoteness.
IMO, this is one of the best pieces of advice you can give. This is also one of the things that I got very wrong for a while.
Don't work where you decompress. Don't decompress where you work. Otherwise the two start blending together and both suffer.
If your living situation isn't suited for a dedicated workspace, don't fall in the trap of working from your couch or kitchen table every day. I've had days where I worked from a coffee shop in the morning, drove to a park and sat under a tree when I could work completely offline, and finished the evening at a pub typing over a pint or two. And I still accomplished more than the days I'd sit on my couch and "work" while marathoning Star Trek.
* They miss the casual social interaction
* If, like us you're in an environment where some people home work but most don't you can find some ways of working can disadvantage home workers - standups are a good example - for remote workers to really be part of it you need the board to either be visible by camera (or virtualised) and you need good audio so they can hear and be heard
On the last point: home working requires the company to invest money and time in working out how to get the best from the home workers. Be wary about anyone who allows it having not done this.
I've been working remotely again for the past 3 years, with good success. It's been a boon to me since I've had to move twice, but was able to keep the same job.
I love working remotely for all the reasons 37signals hit on the their video, but there are some downsides:
1. loneliness - This may still be preferable to some office situations, but it can wear on you. Web chat, coffee shops, and coworking spaces combat this, but still.
2. distractions - You can also waste a whole day at work if you are in an office (and offices have their own distractions), but I still think greater self discipline is needed to stay on task working from home.
3. poor work/life division - Contradicting #2, it can be hard to STOP working. I find myself working while I eat dinner, on weekends, and late in to the night.
4. "out of the loop" - Especially if the whole company isn't remote, you can quickly become "out of the loop". Even if the company makes a big effort to have frequent virtual meetings and CC you on discussions, you will miss out on random office discussions/overheard phone conversations/etc.
Also, while this may be a somewhat touchy subject, I can work when there is actually work to be done, and do something else when there isn't. I think that's the best part. There is actually incentive to get things done as quickly and efficiently as possible. I know when I get done what I need to I can stop for the day, but if I was in a typical office, I would need to be there all day regardless of how much work needed to be done that day.
One is overwork, because you are remote it's easy to work more hours than necessary trying to fix a problem. To fix this set a convenient and flexible work schedule for yourself. Try to maintain those hours, so you know you are off work anytime after those hours. You can also mix it up, work long hours some days and less hours on other days.
Another downside is friends and family will think you have all the time in the world, even though they mean well, they will often try to fit some favor into your schedule, like pick up the niece, the friend from the airport, help me move etc. You need to know how much you can help your friends and still be productive.
2. It's hard to feel like I have the true freedom of working from home due to people being in an office. It's a lot harder for them to see I'm away from the desk. This may have been exaggerated a bit by the fact remote workers were all EST while officer workers were PST. In this video it's clear everyone is all over so stricter hours are harder to enforce.
If you're a developer and want to work remotely, we're backed by great investors and hiring! We also use the latest tech like WebRTC for our video conferencing.
If you need handholding, you're hiring and working with B-players. Not everyone is going to be able to hold its own initially, but after a few weeks on a team, you should be independent enough that people don't need to look over your shoulder.
And man, if your new employees need 6 months of hand-holding, you're hiring the wrong employees.
I know we want every one of the 1000 employees to work 100% even when working remotely, but anecdotes don't necessarily translate into what actually works efficiently.
"we want every one of the 1000 employees to work 100% "
What you're confused about is that you equate being at work with working. I hate to break it to you, but none of your 1000 employees are not working at 100 capacity, even if you can see that they are sitting in their ugly little cubicle. It doens't mean they're working, or that they're productive.
>I'm just saying it doesn't work for everyone and it's harder even for motivated people like me
>for many I'm sure there's a noticeable difference between productivity in the office (due to a variety of factors) vs. working from home.
So the only anecdotes you'll entertain are the ones that support the decision you've already made. Got it.
Snark aside, I strongly believe the parent was right - people should be judged on the results they bring to the company, not how effective they are at turning the office's oxygen into carbon dioxide and their merit at weighing down their company assigned chair.
Even if a company with one thousand employees doesn't have all A-players, why should we assume that even the B or C players can't effectively bring their B or C game outside the office? Shouldn't we structure the companies policies around the assumption that your employees are trustworthy and deserving of flexibility, and if they aren't maybe they shouldn't be an employee?
I often see great remote employees, I just think it's important to note that we often view things in too binary a way. As in remote = good and we should hate everyone who doesn't allow it. If someone's not pulling their weight then they shouldn't be on the team. But when I work in an office, there are conversations I have that would have never happened if I worked remotely.
Not everything is so black and white and I honestly think in tech there are many roles that would suffer without the collaboration of an office environment. That doesn't mean we shouldn't have remote employees when the context is right and it helps getting A players who don't want to work in an office, but I don't think we should put remote as the holy grail of things like I often see on HN.
I think this is a very fair point to make.
>Not everything is so black and white and I honestly think in tech there are many roles that would suffer without the collaboration of an office environment.
This one too, but I think there's a big caveat there - these are roles that would suffer if the company doesn't adapt.
I can't speak for every company, but the ones I've seen & have experience with that have adopted some form of pro-"work from home" policy all fall into two groups: companies that adopt the policy in order to save money on infrastructure, and companies that want to encourage employee flexibility.
I've never seen the first group try to adapt: meetings are still held in conference rooms between the hours of 9:30 and 4:30, most discussion happens in hallways, managers judge employees on presence...
I think it's very possible for companies to design roles to encourage collaboration outside of offices; that said it's not necessarily easy or inexpensive. There are absolutely trade-offs that must be made.
But I fear that if you look at remote work only through the lens of saving money on office space -- or attracting top talent -- your company probably won't be one of the ones that does it well.
The point being, we are a successful startup that has made the lack of a central office a part of our culture. This is my first foray into a virtual company like this, and it's been eye-opening.
There are several efficiencies that come with remote work:
1. Our team members are thrilled. We have folks in basically every stage of their working lives. From fresh college graduates to parents of kids in college.. and everything in between. Everyone has expressed satisfaction with how our setup has given them the ability to easily balance their personal lives with work.
I know that for me, simply eliminating the commute I have an extra hour or two in my day to spend time with my family. That alone makes me intensely loyal to the company.
2. It's the best hiring hack ever. Did you know that there are insanely talented engineers living in Boise Idaho? Milwaukee? Conway Arkansas? It turns out that when you are allowed to cast a very wide hiring net, the level of talent available to you simply goes through the roof. Instead of sniping talent from local companies and participating in the hiring arms-race you're seeing in the valley and in other startup hubs, we get to hire amazing people that those companies simply never consider.
3. We save real money. Since we don't have an office, we save on one of the biggest expenses a company can have. We do pay for co-working spaces, but most of our employees choose to work at home. It leaves money in the budget for us to have amazing quarterly meet-ups. Every three months we get together and work on the company, but we get to have an amazing time while doing so.
4. Management efficiencies abound as well. You learn to really trust other people when you can't look over their shoulder all of the time. Which creates a brilliant culture of self-managing teams.
There are challenges. When do you have standup (DO you do standups)? How do you communicate? Thankfully tools like Google Hangouts, hipchat, and a variety of others help us cross that gap. I think the most surprising thing to me has been that our virtual company operates more like a traditional officed one than I would have thought. We still have meetings when necessary. We still collaborate. Hell we still whiteboard things out. Just the venue has changed and the manner in which we do things slightly altered.
tldr; It can most definitely work.
Many people in our company like the flexibility of choosing to work remotely or in the office. However, when we on-boarded a new hire recently, he struggled with this level of flexibility. He took advantage of it in unprofessional ways. When confronted, he indicated that he might do better if he was always working in the office with the rest of the team.
Management suddenly made it a requirement for everyone to come into the office. This had severe and immediate impacts on morale and on employees' focus on the mission.
Some people need to work in an office. Some people need to work remotely. Some people can be flexible. The reason it's so contentious is because it is hard to accommodate all 3 of those types. So far, the solution is to alienate at least 1 of those 3 types. Hopefully the contention will result in progress.
"Change is never easy. But we’re willing to do whatever it takes to be the most efficient company we can be. Now please excuse us, we’re off to get more productive. And secure. And dressed the same."
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