Two thirds of developers work remotely at least some of the time, and this number is highly correlated with job satisfaction.

walker profile image Walker Harrison ・2 min read

The status of remote work, or work-from-home (WFH) in more casual terms, is currently uncertain. While such freedom is nearly assumed within the start-up environment, several titans of tech have done away with the practice in recent years.

In particular, making employees come into a physical office seems to be a way for giant companies to shake their way out of stagnation: Marissa Mayer famously banned WFH when she took over as Yahoo! chief in 2013, and as of last week IBM's marketing branch officially requires their workers to report to one of six central locations.

These shifts sit in direct opposition to the preferences of most developers, according to Stack Overflow's yearly survey. Two thirds of respondents reported working remotely at least some of the time:

There's much to be said in support of remote work. It's environmentally friendly, saves companies time and money establishing and maintaining large physical facilities, and makes work more accessible for people who are disabled or distantly located:

Stack Overflow's survey also offers some initial indication that work satisfaction is correlated with the remote option:

It's no surprise then that the option to work from home is an important consideration for developers when sizing up a job's compensation. After vacation, it was the highest valued benefit cited by the survey's respondents:

Every company has their own cultural and organizational idiosyncrasies to examine when deciding whether to allow their employees to WFH. It's possible that Yahoo! and IBM's recent actions against the trend of increasing remote options will prove to be wise decisions. But if we're to take this survey's results as any indication of wider patterns, they may be alienating potential hires by requiring employees to come into the office:

Of course there are some pitfalls of working from home. Unless you live alone, you always run the risk of being interrupted by your housemates, which can happen at the worst of times...


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silwing profile image

Having the possibility to work remotely is quite different from working remotely as your primary workspace.
For me being able to work from home is important because it gives me flexibility. But coming in to the office, being with my coworkers enable knowledge sharing and close teamwork which wouldn't be possible otherwise. And also adds an important social aspect which makes work more fun and satisfying.
I work from home less than once a month currently despite a 1 hours commute to work because of the important aspects of being in the same physical space as my team.

walker profile image
Walker Harrison Author

I agree -- much of the value of working from home is understanding that it's an option even if you don't exercise it very often. I too work in our team's office most days of the month, but will sometimes take day at home to recharge mentally.

words4eternity profile image

Good article - hopefully the data included can be used by other teams or managers to justify WFH. We started slow and did it as a team. The biggest challenge is when you have a critical meeting where some people are not in the office and it does not go as well. We started with 1 day a week where the whole team worked from home together and then moved it to more often. This put us in a very good groove and really helped it work and get accepted.

the_hme profile image
Brenda 🐱

I absolutely love having the ability to work from home and would not change it for anything. I think we should all push for companies to have flexible work from home policies that anyone can take advantage of, regardless of specialty, and that also work for the specific team. If important meetings need to happen on certain days, then it's nice to know that you can wfh other days that don't conflict with these events and do it on a regular basis. This is specially important if you have families, because both parents need to take time to be a parent and commuting usually takes up a lot of the "free time" needed to be present in the children's lives. Thanks for the article, it helped me find the numbers I needed. I hope Stackoverflow continues to ask this question in every survey, but I will be sure to comment in the open ended part of the survey.

gautamkrishnar profile image
Gautam krishna R

DuckDuckGo has almost all of its employees working remotely...

Good article... The Gif at the end is just priceless..

walker profile image
Walker Harrison Author

Thanks...and I just had to figure out some way to work that video in...