COVID hit us hard and the working model has shifted significantly. Most of us had to work from home in order to avoid contracting it and as a developer (yes – I am still coding), I was happy to not be around humans. With things getting back to normal – a few companies have already made changes to either return to in-person work or take on a hybrid model. I recently joined a new company which has a “once a week in the office” policy. There are pros and cons to each model, whether working from work or going to the office as a techie. The two years of using Zoom and Microsoft Teams have taught us that we don’t need to be in the same physical space to communicate with other workers and get work done. So why use petrol to travel to work when you can get everything done from home?
Remote working focuses on individual tasks and allows one to be flexible when it comes to work hours. I learnt from varsity that I work better in the early hours so around 03h00 is the best time for me to be productive. I thrive on all nighters and pushing code in before the sun rises. Working from home also allows you to be more productive and efficient because there are no distractions and interruptions in your work flow (although some might disagree). You have complete control over when and where you do things, which means that even if someone calls or texts to ask questions, you don’t have to give them any attention until you ready. A favorite benefit of mine is the ability to work from anywhere – it proves difficult when you are asked to come in once a week but the option/ability to work while on an island gives me goosebumps. However, like everything in life – working from home has its downsides.
Working from home is a great option for some developers. But there are some drawbacks to working from home that can make it difficult to succeed. It’s not easy to stay focused when you’re not in an office with other people around keeping things interesting and fun, though many programs are available on the internet that allow remote workers to meet up with friends or colleagues at local coffee shops and restaurants (and even bars). Some developers want to be around others in order to bounce ideas and working from home doesn’t allow them that. I recently moved and having to set up a work station has been a mission which unfortunately needs to be done at some point. I need multiple screens to code and have been struggling to code on just the work provided PC. Load shedding is also adding to the problems of working from home because my apartment does not have generators and I still have not gotten a UPS (despite many people telling me to) so I am consistently experiencing delays or lags. Essentially working from home has it’s complications which is why some people like working from an office space.
Working in office is important for connecting with your fellow workers – most of my team is UK based and there’s a slight struggle with a sense of belonging. It is not a huge factor for me cause I can work independently but it does lead to issues like decisions being made without you because you are not physically there and not having a social connection with the team. Technology helps us connect, but it means we can’t read nonverbal ques that would show in person. Being in the office also provides good opportunity for creating relationships that help with career growth although I believe it is not as huge for developers. As long as my code works – I have a good relationship with people. Presence does help with familiarity and acceptance which is important for working environments.
Temperature control is a huge reason for me to not go to the office. Imagine trying to debug while freezing your fingers off. This is not always the case but it definitely is a con for working from the office. The amount of time wasted with the commuting and getting ready is another reason I prefer working from home. COVID meant I was working in my PJs (which is not always good) and now I have to take 1.5 hours to get ready to go to the office – I could be doing a workout or doing a morning routine which would increase my productivity. Petrol has become luxury and traveling to work seems like a waste given that the work can be done from home.
Everyone works differently and has their own needs in a job. Some people prefer online and others learn from peers or even a combination. Realizing what works for you is important in picking the company you want to work for or negotiating in your current one.