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Hannu-Daniel Goiss
Hannu-Daniel Goiss

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Dev jobs: on-site or remote? Work from office or work from home?

Some of us developers have been working remotely long before Covid hit the world, but the pandemic proved that most positions can be performed from home.
But is it actually more productive to work from home? I would argue that depending on your exact job descriptions, some things get better through face-to-face interaction.

A few things come to mind, which in my opinion are better done from the office:

  • for those interacting with customers working from the office brings the opportunity to build closer personal relationships. In my opinion, this will increase chances for future opportunities as well.

  • While it is possible to discuss anything in an online meeting, some spontaneous questions can be resolved faster, if you can just walk up to someone and discuss them.

  • Team building and synergy effects between team members are better in person.

  • There is the chance to exchange ideas over an unplanned talk in a break. I have not seen this working out in a remote setup.

  • Less disturbance from working (for those living with family) and social interaction in the office (for those living alone).

On the other side:

  • Any programming task can be done from any location in the world unless you are working on specific location-bound hardware devices. Do you have any tasks, which must be performed from the office?

  • With regular stand-up meetings, Kanban boards,..., it is possible to keep track of what all of your team members are doing. And if you additionally schedule in-person activities, you'll also get the networking and team-building effects.

What do you think? Do you prefer to work from home or do you prefer to work from the office? Does your individual productivity increase while working from home?

Top comments (2)

moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

I massively prefer working from home. I've gone from considering it a privilege to considering working from an office to be the privileged position.

Think about it, if you're in the office you need more money for commuting, babysitting, dogwalking, etc. If you need to work late for some emergency, your dog goes without food for an extra couple of hours.

Theoretically you should get paid more because the company saves money on office costs. Remote working discourages using physical office supplies like printing and photocopying, so it's less wasteful in that regard as well.

At my job, we make quick ad-hoc meetings between 2-5 of us whenever we feel like it and we have a general morning team catchup to see how everyone's doing anyway.

There are fewer misunderstandings, because instead of saying, "Bob told me to do it that way last week" everything's written down in a ticket, or at worst in Slack (or Slack's better alternatives, but it's a genericised trademark, innit).

Zoom (or Zoom's better alternatives, but it's a genericised trademark, innit) meetings that include someone from the office invariably have them having to mute because one of the other three people who thought it was a good idea to turn up to the 100-seat open plan warehouse have voices that echo like they're playing at the canyon.

I can have my own nice food, when I want to, rather than rely on packing something cold for the office fridge, or going to a coffee shop and paying ten times as much for a sandwich to someone who still doesn't understand what, "no mayo" means.

I certainly don't get less done at home, and I often get more done. I don't necessarily work office hours, I fit work around my life rather than the other way around.

It's not even close.

hannudaniel profile image
Hannu-Daniel Goiss

Hi Ben. Thanks you definitely give a great argument for working at home.