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Discussion on: The Perils of Remote Work

190245 profile image

Great article, though I disagree (based purely on anecdotal evidence) on some parts.

Lets start with introverts.

Normally, I'm pretty introverted. Onsite in the office, for at least the last decade now, and especially in meetings, I'm pretty damn extroverted. If I have an opinion I'm going to say it and not give a damn. I'll happily fight my corner.

Then Covid was a "thing" and suddenly, my employer mandated that we all work from home, 100%. I bought myself a new hammock & a few creature comforts, and happily setup an office in the back garden. I couldn't be happier, and probably counter intuitively, I've gone from being a Senior Dev to a Dev Manager while working from home (so, promotions are indeed possible).

Now, since I've come from being a Developer to being a Manager, I've dabbled with being a PM in the past, and I've worked in one form of Agile or another for around a decade or so... I understand how to look at the data so I can tell if we're delivering value or not, and simultaneously look to see if anyone is "gaming" the story points, and look for signals that the guys might need more training in certain areas. I have no need to ask someone what they've been doing, I can see it all in Jira and git (but obviously, if they take 2 weeks to change 1 line of code, then I'll be a little concerned about their work-life balance).

Note here though, that as you imply, the whole company is now remote, so things like "watercooler chats" happen online.

You see, even though I routinely advocate for remote work, I'd be the first to tell you that you can't force an onsite-centric employer to suddenly embrace remote work.

People can't, I agree, but governments & viruses seemingly can.

My employer was 100% "bums on seats" before Covid. I live in the UK, and the government started Covid lockdowns with "if you can work from home, you must/should"... and legally, my employer could have still said "you have to come to the office" - but the en-mass resignation revolt that would have happened, made them take a different approach.

Now, we're 100% remote, have been since around mid Feb 2020 and have "no concrete plans to ask anyone back to the office much before June 2021." After that, they're already talking about some mix of remote & office work, for all roles.

Finally, I honestly don't think the issues you've seen with remote adaptation are company specific. I think it's more management specific. Maybe that's a semantic debate, since the management effectively set the corporate culture.

bytebodger profile image
Adam Nathaniel Davis Author

The pandemic has absolutely forced many organizations to utilize remote work - whether they wanted to or not. But while the pandemic can force an employer's hand, it won't necessarily make them good at managing remote work(ers). Some will embrace it. Others will stubbornly "get through it" - biding their time until they can call everyone back into the office.

I've already heard lots of stories from both sides of this. Some talk about how the pandemic actually led their company to switch to remote work. Others talk about how badly the company handled the situation and how they're all gonna be called back into a physical location as soon as it's feasible.

190245 profile image

I suppose, in a way, we were "forced" - and yes, there have certainly been "ill-informed" choices made higher up the food chain.

But ultimately, we were told 1 week before the lockdown was officially announced "Go home", and while we will be going back to the office, we're also told not to worry about it for the better part of another 6 months, and we'll have some WFH ability that wasn't there before.

So I think we fall somewhere in the middle of the good<->bad spectrum.