Remote vs. co–location: The data
Remote work is a young method, and not much research has been done so far. So, both the advantages and disadvantages of this type of work are mostly suggested. Open offices, from the other side, have distinct research done, most related to the noise impact on human’s health, productivity, thinking process, and depression level. The mentioned researchers consider no software development related type of work.
Chris Parnin wrote a blog post, called ‘Programmers Interrupted’, where he contemplated the link of interruption and inefficient results of work. Parnin took the data from 10 thousand programming periods. The result was impressive; the average programmer needs from 10 to 15 minutes to come back to normal work after any interruption.
The hidden side of working remotely
The authors of the book ‘REMOTE: Office Not Required’ Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson (Basecamp founders) praise the advantages of remote work and advise this work type to all managers. They have more than fifty employees working remotely and explain the adventures of the managers who work with such people. They disclose things that can hardly be imagined by people who work in co-located groups.
Common sense tells us that remote workers work less as there is no strict supervision over them. However, the book explains there is a larger issue nobody thinks of, and it is workaholics that come to the edge of exhaustion, and nobody can track it. The authors state, instead of asking people to measure their work in hours, it is better to make them ask themselves every day whether they have done a good day’s work. Some research has proven that unsupervised work is usually higher in quality.
Thoughts about the productivity of remote developers are usually based on the proper balance of collaboration techniques and development strategies; however, other factors also exist and remote work includes distraction of the other type.
Commuting hours regained
A software developer at Diio, who works remotely, says remote workers also experience distraction at home, but it cannot be compared to the distraction of the office, noise, and coworkers, and the absence of commuting time and efforts is precious.
Workers who live in densely populated areas, where the long commute is a common thing, may want to work an additional hour or two to stay at home and not commute. Most people work 40 hours a week, and if the commuting time is included, these people are away from home for more than 50 hours a week. If employers can offer remote work and employees are ready to take this extra time – this is a step towards more efficient results.
Companies who hire remote workers usually describe it as one way to help their employees be more available to their family and encourage them to feel better and work better. GitLab published ‘The Remote Manifesto’ with 8 essential points to be practiced by remote workers, and one is about being right beside people you love.
GitLab generally practices remote work, as some valuable professionals must commute 4 hours a day to get to work, and it only decreases the overall morale. They understand big cities are the places most filled with work, but not everyone lives in a big city, so they are ready to hire remote workers. GitLab understands family is as important as work and helps employees keep priorities in harmony.
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