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Ben Halpern
Ben Halpern

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Is it possible that the software industry could become nearly 100% remote?

Not to say that remote work is a flawless solution, but it is certainly a trend gaining in popularity.

I imagine there will always be a purpose for offices and hubs to an extent, but could we see a reality where the normal way software is built is from wherever the developer happens to be located and meeting up IRL is not an everyday norm?

Top comments (46)

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cjbrooks12 profile image
Casey Brooks

Personally, I don't want the industry to go fully-remote. I like the experience of working in the same physical space as my team members. Coworking spaces aren't bad, but they're still not the same, socially, as working in the same room as members of your own company/team.

At one point in my life, I thought I would enjoy working remotely. But in the years since, I've come to realize that I just wouldn't be happy working fully remotely. Flexibility to work remotely when needed is pretty much a must for me, but even the benefit of getting 2+ hours of commute time back isn't enough for me to do it full-time.

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tnypxl profile image
tnypxl

I did remote work for 2 years and eventually came to a similar conclusion. I like the passive ambience of an office space of people getting work done. But sometimes I need to get deep work done and the office is just not conducive for that (unless you're given an office with a door).

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Frank Font

Similar experience. After a year of living the dream of going to work unshaven in my underwear I realized that dream sucked; for me. “The Perfect Work Commute” by Frank Font link.medium.com/ZQ6bUOdOr4

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roka profile image
Robert Katzki

Same here. Never worked fully remote, but one day a week was already enough for me. I like to meet people in the office, have a chat and go out for lunch with others.

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leob profile image
leob

Give people a choice, the ones who want remote let them do remote, the ones who prefer to work in an office let them do so. And a mix is of course also very well possible.

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sigmapie8 profile image
Manav

I don't think it can go 100%. But yes it's certainly on the rise.

Many people (a substantial number I'd say) still believe that people don't work unless you make them. I guess that ideology alone makes thousands of people go to office everyday.

Then there's also the kind which believe in the very foundation of offices as institutions. They'd go in every day regardless of productivity and expect others to come too.

May be things might change when millenial population gains leadership or upper management positions.

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jankapunkt profile image
Jan Küster

This. I agree here, the core issue is rather the work ethics and that productiveness is individual.

For example, I work two days of the week at home and three at the office. This is how I found myself best to balance productivity with my personal demands.

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jankapunkt profile image
Jan Küster

Now everyday due to corona and I already get performance decrease :-(

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baskarmib profile image
Baskarrao Dandlamudi

When organizations leave the culture of micromanagement that is when the industry will be 100% ready to become remote friendly. Real Estate will get a hit for sure if IT embraces 100% remote culture. So existing orgs who have invested in their infrastructure will tend support in-office culture. It is good one for upcoming organizations.

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leob profile image
leob

Yeah real estate agents for sure won't be happy with remote ...

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gualtierofr profile image
Gualtiero Frigerio

I think it is important to give your employee a choice.
Remote work is not for everyone, I'd be happy to work from home and avoid my daily commute but some of my colleagues prefer an office environment. Some of them may enjoy a coworking space, but other may prefer working with their team at the same office.
I don't think the entire industry will become remote first, but I expect the majority of companies to allow some kind of remote work in the near future, maybe just once or twice a week, or giving the choice between fully remote or office.
I'll base my future career decision on that, trying to exclude companies hostile to remote work.

In order to contain the spreading of corona virus many firms in Italy are allowing people to work from home this days, in some cases people are forced to work remotely as some cities are in lockdown.
Let's see how it goes, unfortunately I'm still coming to the office but trains are almost empty and there is way less traffic than usual.
I'm trying to see the glass half full, I hope firms will start considering remote work after this experimentation period in order to improve their employee's lives and to reduce pollution.

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steveblue profile image
Stephen Belovarich • Edited

While there are a lot of people against this idea or think it won’t happen, I would like to provide some counterpoints.

  • corporations can drive down operational costs by closing satellite offices. This is usually the case when times are rough, revenue is down. That doesn’t have to be the only case though. Decisions to allow 100% remote are not altruistic and probably have more to do with the corporation’s balance sheet.

  • when working remote, I had to fill my schedule with meetups to get that in person connectivity I was yearning for. There are other ways.

  • at one point most web software was tied to locale, like the mythical server in a closet. Nowadays not so much with the cloud.

  • flu spreads in office environments.

  • as cities become more adept at coping with climate change, they can incentivize remote work. Turns out it never was a good idea for everyone to drive to the office at the same time 🤷‍♂️. Corporations are incentivized to purchase realty by local governments though, so many are correct it will never be 100% remote.

  • SpaceX Starlink bas been in the headlines recently for being the bane of every astromer’s existence, but eventually there will be satellite internet everywhere at reliable enough speeds to develop.

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frankszendzielarz profile image
Frank Szendzielarz

I love remote work. Been working this way for years now. Kids come home from school early, so I can spend time with them. Work when I feel productive, not according to a pointless 9-5 regimen. I don't get monthly colds or flus. I can dress how I feel. I pop out in the summer afternoons to the nearby lake for a swim, or walk in the pine forests. And office chat goes on as normal....via email and IM.

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jamenamcinteer profile image
Jamena McInteer

I think 100% remote is certainly possible, but not ideal. I would hope the office environment would be available for a portion of the workforce that really thrives in the office, and available for part-time in-office work, but that a remote-first culture would become the normal (no water-cooler decisions). Other means of getting people together should be employed as well, maybe quarterly or biannually. Maybe monthly team lunches when teams are in the same city, while working remote.

I see a bright future for remote-first work:

  • People could live where it's ideal for them, rather than ideal for getting a job. More people could move away from cities and into the countryside or far out in the suburbs where buying a home could actually be achievable.
  • It could be huge for keeping mothers in the workforce and improve gender diversity. New mothers have a huge uphill battle to maintain a career and care for a young baby, and remote work, especially with flex-time, could help make that easier. No matter how much we may want equality, biologically, mothers are the ones breastfeeding and pumping, day and night.
  • It would improve accessibility for disabled people, again improving diversity.
  • It would decrease the loss of productivity due to illness. Not only would there be less spread of illness, but some people may opt to work through a mild to moderate case of illness if they can work from home and not risk going into an office and spread it to co-workers or have to go through the additional commute time that can be physically tiring and cuts into illness-fighting sleep. I worked fully remote for three years, got moderately sick once, and worked through it. This meant my PTO was spent on emotionally and physically restorative time rather than sick time.
  • It would be better for the environment and lead to cleaner air with fewer cars on the road. Two-income households may be able to go down to one car to save money.
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padakipavan profile image
padaki-pavan

This is something I really wanted to hear from community.
In countries like India, specially for interns and junior developers, what usually happens is smaller companies in countries like USA, hire these young chaps who have no idea of validating a genuine job/company, underpay them, and in most cases don't pay at all and instead promise an experience certificate and in some cases they're being promised an on-site job with all expenses included after the completion of 6 to 12 months of work experience , and are eventually ghosted.

In some cases, they were employees of big companies in the US who were getting their work done for free from these poor chaps.

This my dear friends, is the dark side of remote jobs.

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v6 profile image
🦄N B🛡

This is really saddening to read. I hope you can find some way to help prevent this or help these chaps avoid getting all exploited like that. For my part, we've long been aware of the potential strains of remote work, especially international remote work, and I've been thinking hard about how to ameliorate them.

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padakipavan profile image
padaki-pavan

For the most part freshers aren't aware of these scams. And the labour laws are at times very vague around remote jobs. Freshers understanding the legal requirements for the same is next to none. Thus making it very easy for scammers.

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Stephanie Morillo

I don’t think it will go 100% remote and I don’t think it should. I’ve worked remotely for 4 years and it’s a solution that works really well for me as someone who doesn’t live in a major city. Remote work is great for companies who want to tap into larger talent pools and for workers who want to work at amazing companies without needing to uproot their lives. Remote is also great from an accessibility standpoint and remote friendly companies tend to offer in-office colleagues flexibility when they need it, too.

Remote work isn’t for everyone and the reasons why people may prefer in-office work are very valid! I think what matters is that we see more companies to attract people who prefer remote work versus force in-office employees to adopt a remote work situation that doesn’t fit with their wants or needs. 😊

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shaunagordon profile image
Shauna Gordon • Edited

Technologically? Yep. No question. In fact, there are solid business cases for why there has to be a certain amount of remote capability for pretty much all companies.

What would stop it is the human factor and culture. Many people don't want to work remotely, and that's okay. Many managers don't want people to work remotely, because they don't like the loss of control (that's not okay).

Does this mean that companies won't have offices? Not necessarily. You can still be nearly 100% remote and still have some offices, especially if your niche has a large hardware component. "Remote" doesn't mean "only ever meet over video chat."

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mteheran profile image
Miguel Teheran

A nearshore company selling services around the world could have all the employees working remotely.
In nearsure.net/ all the employees work remotely.
but if you are talking about a startup or a company selling their own product, this changes. I think it's very important to create a synergy between the Teams and build bridges between people and you only can achieve this working face to face at least some days per week.

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v6 profile image
🦄N B🛡 • Edited

South American devs are hard core and underrated. Propers to you and yours.

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mteheran profile image
Miguel Teheran

I am glad to hear that. I really enjoy working with devs from Ukraine and Eastern Europe I think they underrated as well.
Currently, we have enough tools and documentation to improve our skills no matters where you are living.

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Bahaa Zidan • Edited

When the Covid-19 situation started and the company i work for went remote, I thought that it was going to be a nightmare for me. I thought I wouldn't be able to be as productive as working in a working space. I was wrong. It took some time getting used to. But I can say that i'm definitely MORE productive and creative than ever before. At least for me, Working in a quiet environment was like a charm. There's also the two hours of commute that I got back.

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Zachary Stone

Not to get all doomsday cultish like..

But I think we will soon get a glimpse of what that will look like when the Coronavirus spreads in the US.

Not even being sarcastic. It's a matter of when it will happen, rather than if.

Thankfully most jobs have the ability to work remotely, especially our industry. So it will be interesting to see how it all plays out

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rhymes profile image
rhymes • Edited

But I think we will soon get a glimpse of what that will look like when the Coronavirus spreads in the US.

It is literally what's going on right now here in Milan, most of my friends working at companies that can do remote work have been asked to work from home even though normally they wouldn't be allowed to do it if not with specific agreements and on a very infrequent schedule. Now magically everyone is home and the companies are still functioning...

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banksdada profile image
banks

if the mindsets of c level management can get around micromanaging and the fact that not seeing me physically does not mean being productive - then yes
As a business analyst of several years -my most productive times have been in my WFH basement.
No lengthy commutes, cigarette smell (don't smoke), and a blend of all sorts of perfumes from hugging strangers in a fully packed London underground train.
Its possible but will take a while. Covid 19 has shown us that it is doable but men are always stubborn ad will revert to old habits of micro managing

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lukethomas14 profile image
Luke Thomas

I believe the distribution curve will continue to shift more towards remote/flexible work (you can see how things are moving in this Gallup report).

With that being said, I have a hard time believing that the industry will become 100% remote-first. The nugget of the remote work movement that is worth paying attention to is the notion of flexibility. You should be able to leave work early to pick up your kid from daycare. You should be able to work from home 1-2 days a week if you want.

Instead of demanding that everyone be in the same location between certain hours, the workplace of the future will be built to adapt to this new mode of working. Peter Drucker talked quite a bit about this idea in one of his papers.

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v6 profile image
🦄N B🛡

Better men than Peter Drucker have proven the disastrous error of the legacy of Taylor's "Scientific Management."

But proof is not persuasion.