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Programming IT Technology

For Programmers, the Ultimate Office Perk is Avoiding the Office Entirely (qz.com) 207

From a report on Quartz: Over the past decade, designers and engineers have invented dozens of new tools to keep us connected to the office without actually going there. Unsurprisingly, those same engineers have been among the first to start using them in large numbers. More programmers are working from home than ever and, among the most experienced, some are even beginning to demand it. In 2015, an estimated 300,000 full-time employees in computer science jobs worked from home in the US. Although not the largest group of remote employees in absolute numbers, that's about 8% of all programmers, which is a significantly larger share than in any other job category, and well above the average for all jobs of just under 3%. [...] Programmers not only work from home more often than other employees, when they do they are more likely to work all day at home. From 2012 to 2015, the average full-time programmer who worked from home said they spent an average of five and a half hours doing so. That's an 92% increase in the average time spent at home from 2003 to 2005, and nearly double the average for all jobs.
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For Programmers, the Ultimate Office Perk is Avoiding the Office Entirely

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  • by computational super ( 740265 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2017 @02:01PM (#54223157)
    One reason I avoid working from home is that I trust my coworkers in the office to let me work more than I trust my wife and my kids to let me work.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by saintlupus ( 227599 )

      Truth. I work in a very flexible office, and my boss asked me why I don't work from home more often. I told him because it's full of kids.

      • by spiritgreywolf ( 683532 ) * on Wednesday April 12, 2017 @02:21PM (#54223369) Homepage Journal

        In my case I've been working strictly from home as a medical EDI programmer for the last 9 years and couldn't be happier. I just set some ground rules that if I am in my office and door is closed - you do not enter. Text me if you must - but you may not enter. Only unless someone is bleeding profusely, something is leaking or is on fire? Pretend I am miles away at an office.

        It's no different - I ask them "would you drive all the way to my workplace, come to my cube and ask questions?" The answer is usually "No."

        I have a couple friends that actually put a "Tuff Shed" in their back yard, wired it up, put in an AC unit, etc., and that is literally their office. I didn't need to do that, but I certainly see the appeal :-)

        • Yup....

          If you cannot tame your kids or wife enough to adhere to a simple "do not disturb" policy, you're got more problems at home than working from home.

          What happened to a little discipline and control at home....?

    • by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2017 @02:02PM (#54223169)

      One reason I avoid working from home is that I trust my coworkers in the office to let me work more than I trust my wife and my kids to let me work.

      Unfortunately, I trust them far LESS than my young children to leave me the hell alone. Instead it's either bug me at my cube, or if I find a place to hide, call a meeting and bug me there. I produce substantial documentation to ensure they don't need to bug me, but they don't read it, and bug me.

      If I could work from home, I definitely would.

      • by TWX ( 665546 )

        Having a door and having control of the lights is really helpful in this kind of thing. Also, don't have a visitor's chair if you don't need to deal with visitors professionally.

        When I want to be left alone I leave the overhead lights off and only use the freestanding lamp. When I need to be left alone I close the office door. If I worked in a 3.5 sided cubicle I would probably put my woodworking skills to practice and make a gate for myself. Gate closed, don't bother me for social occasions.

        • Having a door and having control of the lights is really helpful in this kind of thing. Also, don't have a visitor's chair if you don't need to deal with visitors professionally.

          When I want to be left alone I leave the overhead lights off and only use the freestanding lamp. When I need to be left alone I close the office door. If I worked in a 3.5 sided cubicle I would probably put my woodworking skills to practice and make a gate for myself. Gate closed, don't bother me for social occasions.

          I find too.

          • People freak out when I turn off the damned IM.
            • People freak out when I turn off the damned IM.

              Tell them to email you if they need an IM session....tell them that for some reason IM isn't working on your machine some times, etc...

              I found my productivity has skyrocketed since I turned IM off....

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )

                People freak out when I turn off the damned IM.

                Tell them to email you if they need an IM session....tell them that for some reason IM isn't working on your machine some times, etc...

                I found my productivity has skyrocketed since I turned IM off....

                Bah, just turn off all the notifications. No sounds, banners, popups, etc. It's there when I want to check it and poof - back to the back it goes. I do the same with email. Just because it says it's instant, doesn't mean you'll get an instant response. (Meetings, bathroom, lunch, boss talking to you, etc....)

      • by mike449 ( 238450 )

        I have two elementary school kids, and completely agree. I find their screaming and fighting less distracting than people in the office coming to my cube and demanding attention to issues which could be resolved in a minute by reading documentation.
        I've found that when I need to do actual coding, the only place and time is at home after kids go to sleep.

    • The reason why I avoid working from home is because in office there is not much to be done other than work, in home I wouldn't trust myself to get anything done, I'm a master procrastinator.
      • If you think I can't procrastinate in the office, you've seriously underestimated my procrastination skills. Like right now, for instance...
      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        It doesn't really happen that way not like homework. There is a real reward for working success, rather than an abstract reward. So you do the work. What you do is adjust you schedule. So wakeup, feel your mood, bright and snappy, put on some shorts and start working whilst considering breakfast, keeping going on a nice cup of tea. When a break moment comes into the work flow, stop and make yourself a nice breakfast, site back relax and enjoy, considering work to be carried out post breakfast. Than back at

      • I can keep focused on work for one day at home, no problem. It gets to be an effort on the second day, and I haven't tried three days straight. YMMV.

    • At Home:
      Wife
      Kids
      Cats that like sitting in front of monitor.
      No private office (we don't have a spare room for an office)
      Remote Desktop means only using one monitor.
      Very sloooooww...seconds between me moving mouse and the cursor moving on screen.

      In short, I hate working from home. Now if I had a bigger house and fewer dependants, and a less laggy environment... sure, I could make that work.

    • One reason I avoid working from home is that I trust my coworkers in the office to let me work more than I trust my wife and my kids to let me work.

      This. They don't understand what it means to leave someone alone so they can focus. At least at work, all my co-workers are either in a different state or a different country.

    • by gatkinso ( 15975 )

      Grow a fucking spine.

    • I've been working at home for over a decade. No doubt you will get interrupted ... so I try to work the hours my family are sleeping. Its getting better now that they are on facebook and youtube so much these days.

      The huge advantage of telecommuting to me is being able to travel. I just need to time my online time - where ever I am - with my companies timezone. That's rarely 9-5 so it allows me to get things done in local business hours.

  • by dmgxmichael ( 1219692 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2017 @02:20PM (#54223355) Homepage
    My worry is that if I took up the offer to work from home I'd start to hermit. I need the social time and to get out and be among other human beings, otherwise I fear I'd stay single forever.
    • by Drethon ( 1445051 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2017 @02:35PM (#54223495)

      Social time and socializing at work never seem to be the same. I can get along fine with coworkers at work, outside work tends to be a different situation, sometimes better, sometimes worse.

      • by farble1670 ( 803356 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2017 @03:18PM (#54223899)

        On that topic, team building events. I generally enjoy all my coworkers, but after spending 8-10 hours a day with them, the last thing I want to do for relaxation spend MORE time with them.

        • On that topic, team building events. I generally enjoy all my coworkers, but after spending 8-10 hours a day with them, the last thing I want to do for relaxation spend MORE time with them.

          The proper event can be good. I liked the time we went to see a showing of Office Space. Most events though seem to be sit around and talk, when I've had enough of that for the day. So I get where you are coming from.

    • My worry is that if I took up the offer to work from home I'd start to hermit.

      If you really started lacking people you can always go work in a coffee shop, or better yet (much better) a shared working space.

    • Not seeing the problem. - Mr Hermit
  • I like remote work because it allows me to work from anywhere. At least in theory, because this format isn't still too popular and there are lots of restrictions. For things like programming, I expect it to gradually become a widely accepted alternative.
  • Pros and Cons (Score:5, Interesting)

    by coolmoose25 ( 1057210 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2017 @02:25PM (#54223401)
    Pros: - less commute time - good for the environment - more flexibility - potentially higher productivity Cons: - Out of sight, out of mind is not good at layoff time - less social interaction - less professional interaction (maybe) Overall, I prefer to work from home, but since I have direct reports that I manage, I'm not allowed to do it full time. I do telecommute every friday though!
  • Networking (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 )
    The office is where you network. If you're a programmer you need to realize you have a shelf life of 40 years. If you haven't moved into management by then you're toast (unless you're a math genius, but you're not a programmer at that point, you're a mathematician who happens to program).

    And give up on age discrimination lawsuits. Remember kiddos: It's not a law if it's not enforce.
    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Depends very much. While I am not a full-time coder (I am also architect, designer, security-expert, technology-consultant, risk-manager, etc.), I am strongly going on 50 and customers are quite happy to pay my consulting rate to have me coding for them (usually from home). Of course, if you do not keep current and do not acquire the additional skills your age and experience should bring with it, then you are indeed toast. The problem is that for older coders, it is far more obvious if they are semi- to inc

  • I, and my direct reports, would get so much more done if we didn't have meeting after meeting called by managers to check on our status and to berate us for not getting things done.

    • Managers telecommute? Are you kidding? You must never have worked from home.

      When I do, I tend to get 8 hrs of work done the first 4-5 hrs, and then start looking for other stuff to do. If a manager did that, office productivity would be destroyed before anyone could figure out what happened.

      I can't imagine the horrors that would be produced if a manager had tons of free time and peace and quiet to think about efficiency and team building. It's far better that they be busy most of the time

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2017 @02:37PM (#54223515)

    Things that improve your efficiency and effectiveness dramatically, are not perks. They are good sense on the side of the employer.

  • by jader3rd ( 2222716 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2017 @02:40PM (#54223549)
    But Home can beat a creative, collaborative open space.
  • Exactly. If you can work from home, you can hire some Asian programmers to do the work for you and enjoy retirement-like leisure time.
    Some people already did in the past, I'm betting there are lots of them.

    • Someone has to watch you 24/7 to make sure that you do everything as you should? Like a kleptomaniac or a small kid? I assume that now there is a person in your office regularly checking that all what you do is fine. OK, in that case I guess that remote work is a bad idea for your company.

      But by assuming workers with no pride in their work and not too solid moral values who need to be forced to do what they should (never met any programmer like this), I see other problems with your theory:
      - Your job has to
  • by Tesen ( 858022 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2017 @03:10PM (#54223831)

    I got my contract written as a minimum of two days a week WfH and wish I had demanded three! I have a nine-year-old boy who loves attention and a wife that does too ;) (how dare she! :P). But here are some basic steps to maintaining professionalism at home:

    1) Closing door. I.e. an office.

    2) People knock and await "come in" before entering unless it is a dire emergency. If it is not an emergency and they do not hear come in, then they can either knock again or come back later.

    3) My office hours are just that. I need to spend time in my office which means no, I cannot help you build a Lego project, no I cannot help load the dish washer. When I take a break, I can help, but only then.

    4) My family needs to keep the noise down.

    5) IM always up and I try to respond almost immediately. If I cannot I mark myself as busy, if I am marked as available then I expect myself to respond in 60 seconds. This also includes soft phone, always on.

    6) If there is a reason to be in the office I come in. I don't resist it. One SIT for a recent project made sense for me to be in the office, so for two weeks I came in, got SIT done and remediation and then back to my normal schedule.

    I personally thrive working from home as my commute time generally becomes a part of my normal day. If I have tight project deadlines, I will tell my mgr. not to expect me in the office for a bit. I still attend meetings remotely, I still beat on project mgrs. to either open a Skype call or a conference line (no excuse not to, even people in the office sometimes take meetings from their desk so they can multitask).

    Communications is the key and delivering what you promised on time is also the key. I collaborate with my fellow developers and we do so quite well and white boarding digitally is a lot nicer than a physical non-smart board.

    Now there are people that do not do well working from home, they either do not get their work done or they become depressed with the lack of human contact. From my observations, I find those that do not work well from home (not the ones that get depressed with lack of human contact) have a pretty poor focus and planning skills in the office and outside of it. So you help them build that ability. You help them to use proper time management skills, you help them prioritize their workload and come up with a plan of attack for the day.

  • by antdude ( 79039 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2017 @04:13PM (#54224371) Homepage Journal

    Other areas like SQA testers. I loved my 1.5 years Cisco contract job to work from home because of my disabilities (e.g., can't drive, speak, hear, etc.). It was perfect!

    • I'm sorry about these disabilities. I'm gradually nearing the point of having vaguely similar ones. Would you mind if I asked how one goes about finding and applying/interviewing for contract positions when it is difficult to communicate in person? Thanks!!
  • by Ozan ( 176854 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2017 @04:22PM (#54224443) Homepage
    I read that as "For Programmers, the Ultimate Office Perk is Avoiding MS Office Entirely" and nodded in agreement.
  • I worked for a big bank, and after a few internal shuffles, most of my team wasn't located where I lived, even though I lived where there was an office. I traveled once a month or so to the E. Coast where my teams were, and it was pretty good. In fact, I was able to move across the country to another state without much interruption at all to my job. In fact it helped because I was closer to the E. Coast so travel time was reduced as well as being a timezone closer for morning meetings!

    I was usually worki

  • As a postgrad student I often worked from home. It meant I never got away from it. Now I deliberately don't have an internet connection at home or a smart phone, so when I leave work I am offline. Much better!
  • I get MORE work done at home than in the office. At home I don't get all the "walk up" "Help me!"'s. I can get through the hole day in the office and not have gotten a DAMN thing done. Working at home I get TONS done! I guess when you have tons of dumb asses in the office and your not IN the office they now have to FEND for themselves.

  • I've been working from home for almost 10 years now, with only occasional visits to the office.

    I love it. I don't have people wandering by my desk and interrupting me, I don't have to deal with the constant noise (open floor plans are evil), no daily commute, I can cook a decent lunch, full control over heating/cooling, etc. Need to get in touch with co-workers? IM, email, conference calls, etc., plenty of ways to contact people if necessary. I get far more done at home than I ever could in the office.

    The o

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