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Ben Halpern
Ben Halpern

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What is the future of remote work in software development?

The world went primarily remote in the height of the pandemic. With things returning to "normal" in a lot of the world, where do you think the software industry will settle in terms of remote work popularity and overall expectations?

Top comments (69)

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tracygjg profile image
Tracy Gilmore • Edited

For me, the last two years have demonstrated remote software development can work very well and I think this model will persist for a while. However, I am concerned about new developers and the impact of not being able to working along-side experienced developer might have on their learning and experience. I think peer-programming will become more important than every before to bridge that gap.

I think Leonid has an important point especially for young developers. The lack of in-office interaction needs to be replaced with extra social-life interaction - who knows it might work out better.

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princerugby15 profile image
James Prince

I started as a Junior 2 months before we were locked down over 2 years ago. I miss incredibly the quick informal chats about new tech and what my other colleagues were working on outside of work. Also the quick "Are you getting on OK?" chats I would get from the seniors.

I managed OK, I studied hard on my own and let the likes of; podcasts and discord channels for the tech I was using teach me instead.

It was different but sort of worked. However now I am back in the office, in my opinion there's no contest between office interaction and remote. Office always wins, my progress accelerated again.

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victorchukwuemeka profile image
victorchukwuemeka

Honest truth ... I will love to have a full time job on web development

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fish1 profile image
Jacob Enders

I found peer programming to work better remotely... as long as I had two or more monitors.

I can put my partners view on one monitor, and my view on the other monitor and seamlessly work alongside them. But in person, it's difficult to get a good view because I need to physically look over the persons shoulder or get out of my seat just to get a good view of what is happening.

Even when I do work in person with someone, we just work remotely from our cubicles lol

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mochsner profile image
mochsner

What solution do you use? Currently using teams & this isn't natively possible (ifaik, but maybe a meeting + direct chat together could achieve this?)

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fish1 profile image
Jacob Enders

I'm not quite sure what you mean by "isn't natively possible".

I think the only downside to teams is it being limited to a single screen share. We've used google meets and we were able to do multi-share.

At the moment though, I only have one partner, so meets is able to serve our needs. And of course we do use voice chat while sharing screens.

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Ingo Steinke

I expect everyone to let me work 100% remotely for regular work, and please don't bother me with daily video calls where everyone will repeat what is clear to see on GitHub or a Kanban board. I am able to deliver good work (front-end web development most of the time) without ever meeting anybody in person and some things don't even need a single meeting or phone call.

That being said, I still enjoy meeting people in real life from time to time, especially for collaborative work on tricky or inspirational stuff, sketching, talking, and I enjoy meetups and conferences as in-person events as they offer so much more inspiration and room for hallway talks compared to online events, and I don' t want to stare at a screen unless I'm coding or in cinema.

As several people already added to the disussion, learning and onboarding of junior team members is probably another aspect that is much easier to achive when actually being in the same place together.

But for regular daily work, the old "normal" is nothing that I have been missing ever since I started remote work (even before the pandemic, thanks to Germany's shitty railway system which allowed me to skip some commuter days every week when I was still an employee). And don't expect me to go back to working 5 days x 8 hours every week either. The old "normal" has never been normal, and it's about time to make people realize that life is not supposed to be a 9-to-5 in a corporate office.

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paratron profile image
Christian Engel

Are you working as an employee, or contractor/freelancer?

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ingosteinke profile image
Ingo Steinke

I'm free now.

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grahamthedev profile image
GrahamTheDev • Edited

I think a lot of development work will stay remote, we are an industry with hundreds of tools that are already reasonably mature such as GitHub, Slack etc. that make remote work easy.

Where it becomes even easier is with things like virtual offices, such as gather town (which we use at daily.dev), making it almost like you are "at the office" and, when used properly, allowing for adhoc interactions, and fun games with your team.

gather town quick aside

They recently introduced go-karts on gather town. Here is my personal one sat at my desk waiting for me:

go kart in gathertown by my customised desk

When they were introduced it was a fun 20 minutes of silliness similar to what you would get in the office when someone discovers a new site or game and you just have an "unproductive" few minutes with your team mates for laughs.

Now we have a little parking lot in the corner of the virtual office where we keep our go-karts and we occasionally zip past each other's desks throughout the week!:

go karts in gather town in corner of office

And because I am just silly, I had to add a car park to gather town and overlay a certain song to make this (need sound on):

I just wanted to share that little bit of silliness!

With all of that being said, I hope you get the idea - 90% of the office environment and random interactions can be maintained with solutions like gathertown!

Conclusion

So I think remote work and multi-national teams with people from all different backgrounds are going to become the norm, and that can only be a good thing surely!

One thing I think that will need to happen (as it made a huge difference to our team dynamic) is "company gatherings".

No matter how good the tools become there is nothing like meeting in person:

daily.dev team photo all wearing daily.dev shirts

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atulcodex profile image
๐Ÿšฉ Atul Prajapati ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ

I agree with your thought "Leonid"

But still we don't have proper systems and software's to manage work from remote.

One big problem i have faced during last lockdown that there is lot's miss communications while we are working remotely with few team members.

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joelbonetr profile image
JoelBonetR ๐Ÿฅ‡

That's curious because when you write things down it's all clear but when you speak with someone they forgot details and thus those communication issues shine most.

Maybe you need to recap the meetings to ensure all involved people is aligned and send this sort of "TL;DR" through the chat for people to double-check :)

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hoshiharetsu profile image
Rebecca DuPont

I think this is the right direction and I agree with you, Joel. It might be overkill, but often in meetings I end up taking minutes and notes and at the end will recap with the action items. If it's my meeting I called I will send out an email to the team with the summary of the talking points and action items.

However if it's another person's meeting, while I will take notes for myself, I will still email the group and clarify what we are doing and what my action items are.

Did I do this before having to be working remotely? Nope. However, this is half communication but also half covering my behind.

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joelbonetr profile image
JoelBonetR ๐Ÿฅ‡

Its a technique widely used as well in face-to-face meetings since... always.
It's not just about "communication issues", sometimes people tend to do what they want instead what they are suposed to do.

Creating and sharing meeting summaries is a key point, not only to make things clear but also to ensure you all are in the right, or at least the same direction. ๐Ÿ˜„

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atulcodex profile image
๐Ÿšฉ Atul Prajapati ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ

Wow Joel your thoughts are very clear

I'm impressed with your clever remote working experience

I will surely apply these ideas at our team meetings

thanks dear, thank you very much!

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joelbonetr profile image
JoelBonetR ๐Ÿฅ‡

You always need to protect yourself and those things make organising a job/project/team more... let's say straightforward. If you need to check that everyone is doing it's thing each few hours something is wrong ๐Ÿ˜†
So let the things written down into a group usually helps on that.

Share your experiences when you use that! :)

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moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

What things do you think we can't manage properly remotely?

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atulcodex profile image
๐Ÿšฉ Atul Prajapati ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ

Ummmmm, Junior developers

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fjones profile image
FJones

I'm probably gonna be the big dissenter here: Remote is less productive in a team. Especially in agile-oriented teams, remote makes important in-person communication difficult enough that the individual gains are outweighed.

A balance needs to be found (we're currently running a 3+2 model, where two days of remote work per week are permitted), but even then the team goals take a small hit. If everyone can work in isolation and achieve overall goals, it works. But that's rarely the case, and often immediate communication with stakeholders is key.

Similarly, training is more difficult when done remotely, because we lack the in-person interaction that transfers much more in much shorter time.

Remote work is not the future. Hybrid models may be, but I'm a staunch believer in integrated on-site work - especially once stakeholders are involved.

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Christian Engel

Well, I must admit - it works really great in our team. We are currently 6 (next month 7) developers in my team and our productivity increased a lot when the pandemic lockdowns began.

We are currently at "lets meet once a week in the office"-mode and granted, its fun to see the people face-to-face, but productivity-wise, working remote is the better option for us.

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moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

Why do you think remote work hampers immediate communication?

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moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

To elaborate, the only people I can imagine you have immediate communication with that's faster than remote are people sitting at the same desks.

As soon as you need to speak to someone farther away, you either use the same system as remote, or you get up and walk over to them. In that case, you might find they're not there, or they're busy right now, or someone else tries to talk to you on the way. In half the cases, you're going to take longer to talk to them and it's going to be a more frustrating experience.

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tracygjg profile image
Tracy Gilmore

I think maybe it's the casual/unplanned "bump in the corridor" conversations that we might miss out on. I know I miss not having coffee/lunch breaks with my team and chatting about things other than work. Getting to know more about your colleagues that their technical capabilities is important. Working from home it is all too easy to ignore the breaks you should be taking. It is not so easy when your teammates are pulling you out of your chair. Fun times.

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komyg profile image
Felipe Armoni

I agree. I've been working remote since before the pandemic and I don't want ever to go back to working in an office.

In my view, working remotely is very effective, since it minimizes distractions and interruptions and this is very important in software development.

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atulcodex profile image
๐Ÿšฉ Atul Prajapati ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ

Yes I agree

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wiseai profile image
Mahmoud Harmouch

Any software company that doesn't embrace remote work is definitely going to be disrupted. This is the opinion of a lot of people, including me. I have been working remotely for quite a while now, and I have never looked back.

My future is absolutely remote work. There are a lot of benefits to this, such as the ability to work from any location and the flexibility to balance family life with work. It has changed the way I live my life and it has made me happier than ever before.

However, there are drawbacks to this type of environment that need to be considered as well. The major ones include but are not limited to constant suffering from burnout because of the unlimited number of tasks to be done, loneliness at home, and a social disconnect.

More and more companies are embracing remote work and hiring employees who can work from anywhere in the world thanks to the internet connection they have at home.

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fokusman profile image
Ferit ๐ŸŒŸ๐Ÿ•Œ

My hope is:

  • Remote-work by default.
  • Hybrid offerings, e.g. bigger companies having "Hubs", not huge HQs but multiple smaller locations, Monthly / Quarterly F2F Events, Roadmap Plans, Brainstorming/ Ideation being more in office.

Reality is that many companies seem to be invested in their "cool HQs" and therefore push people for these hybrid work frameworks where you have to be 40-50% of your time in the office.

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Johnnn

So, here we are. I asked you to imagine a future where software development has become a truly remote job, and the whole world is your office. You donโ€™t have to commute to the office, you don t have to attend meetings or ask permission from your boss. You just wake up in the morning, open your laptop and start working. mamc

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Ahtisham ul haq

Thank you john Nice information

Regard: Regal Marketing

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johnnnnnnn profile image
Johnnn

Thank you very much.
Regard: mamc

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John Peters

I've worked long enough (20 years) in the office and 10 years remote. I will stay remote for as long as possible. With Teams, Azure Devops, Visual Studio the collaboration is available 24/7. My team uses Kanban and we have daily stand-up meetings. Everything is visible including my login and logoff times. Not an issue for me because I love my job.

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Diego (Relatable Code)

I think remote will become the overwhelming popular choice. There is just too many benefits. Employee satisfaction, more potential hires, reduced office cost, etc.

But something i feel is starting to gain more traction are possible hybrid options where you go 1-2 days max.

Something to note as this is fairly new is that there are still a lot of things not solved yet when it comes to remote work. It'll come with time I believe.

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Constantin

How to make friends outside of work 30+?

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Emil

In my company it worked pretty well to work completely remote. Furthermore there are a lot of cool things like Live Coding extensions for most common IDEs. That is great.
But by the time I started to miss being in the office. Meaning having small talks with non dev related co-workers and furthermore seeing people. Especially on conflicts (which everyone has...its software development) its way better to clear the air with face to face talks. Or mostly conflicts don't arise when things are discussed within one room.

But still from home its easier to handle family stuff. Its great not to be away for too long and yet still work really concentrated.

The worst thing from my point of view is that my flat is really small so I don't have a dedicated workspace. I work from my kitchen table with only a laptop. Moving is mostly not an option since you need to pay more for more space and you only move because you need office space

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Eric di Domenico

I am in my 40s making friends now is a very different experience from making friends in my 20s at work. I've enjoyed working from home for a decade and with a family it's great. But I loved working in an office and going out to lunch and for drinks with colleagues before I had a family.

The camaraderie you get from grabbing a drink with colleagues and bitching about work can't easily be reproduced remotely.

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๐Ÿฉฐ The Flying Shooter โค๏ธโ€๐Ÿ”ฅ

As a jr developer who've just entered this world, I'd say that a hybrid solution it's what is working best for me. I started my internship 3 months ago and the first two months I was going to the office everyday, but the commuting time (6hrs - 3 going and others 3 coming home) was exhausting and draining every energy I had in my body. From this month I'm going to the office 3 times a week and my life-work balance has improved a lot. I still keep the interactions with my seniors and I can do some pair programming "live" but at the same time when I work from home I can get more than 5hrs sleeping and that helps with my health.

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