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...