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

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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.