I've been permanently remote since 2014 (with some regular office visits interspersed at a few employers along the way). My take is that working in an office is superior to working at home, so long as employees have short commutes and the office provides an environment which is conducive to productivity (e.g. private offices or well-made full height cubicles). In any other situation than that (e.g. open floor plan being the worst), remote work is massively more productive than time spent in office.
It does require a cultural shift in an organization, and I do find that companies that are half-remote/half-onsite or some mixture tend to do significantly worse than companies that go all-in on remote or all-in on staying in the office because the mix always leads to remote folks being left out of important political nuances handled in the hallway and break-rooms.
I don't see myself ever working for Amazon for a myriad of reasons (or most of the other FAANG companies for that matter), but I do think this issue is more complex in a large organization than many WFH advocates give it credit for. That said, I never intend to go back to an office other than for occasional visits for the remainder of my life/career.
Agree with you, I have no issues with short commutes. However one place I worked at pre-pandemic had a lot of hot desks but unfortunately not enough to sustain the amount of people who worked there (800 employees only 600 desks). This plus a clear desk policy made the place sterile and I regularly had to find some corner somewhere to try and work, usually on a little chair with no desk.
I had a full office and decent chair at home, but despite this, it was always frowned on when someome wfh.
They had 1/3 more employees than desks, but frowned on WFH?
Yep, it was very much an old school company pretending to be agile by saying they were. It came about after a merger of the smaller offices (which had ample parking and seats), so I think the agile may have been code for cost-cutting. We had to battle to get moveable whiteboards.
I work on a trading floor in a large investment bank in Hong Kong and I dont get what you dislike abt open floor. It's so nice to just know what's happening around you, have people rushing to you or you rushing to people, being able to yell or be yelled at.
Sure there are focus phases I d love to have less distractions in, but tbh sometimes your value lies in quick response to big problems rather than long concentration to solve small ones.
I worked in full height cubicles and sometimes you can spend 2 weeks without sharing something with a coworker to a point you end up having spent all you time on a silly assumption you discover made you overengineer something a dude sitting 10 meters away knew you could solve in 5 lines.
Maybe we both program different kind of software and maybe need different environments ?
Trading floor is an entirely different environment from the majority of other open office concepts and related jobs out there.
It’s more akin to an SOC or other Ops centers, where the open floor and resulting info flow is crucial to the perma on-call nature of those work patterns.
> quick response to big problems
Most developers (the kind that actually just sits and codes all day long) are not putting out fires all the time. But, many, many ops (operations) people are. This comment makes a lot of sense if you consider that the author might be in ops.
As a former devops/infrastructure engineer (i.e., my coding was mostly around lighter projects or automation/scripting), I was in some open environments and sometimes they really were a ton of fun. One day I came in and there were server boxes all over my desk... it was funny. We were constantly pranking each other (nothing permanent or painful, of course!) That camaraderie and closeness produced one of the best work environments of my career and I miss it.
However, my job now is serious, head-down coding... I would find that very difficult in the same open office environment, so I think both perspectives can be true depending on the type of job you have.
Somewhat ironically, most of my career has been in Ops myself. I still don't think open floor plan offices are a good thing. While working in Ops I was generally at an organization that was either large enough or geographically dispersed enough that calling me on the phone or messaging me through internal systems would have been faster and more reliable than walking to my desk or yelling, so I still don't really see any plus for open floor plans. Also, I had to stop bringing my vintage IBM keyboards to work when we switched to an open floor plan at my prior office job because /I/ was too noisy for others with my typing.
This sounds like hell. People rushing around and yelling?
Yes, that's what trading floors are like.
> Maybe we both program different kind of software and maybe need different environments ?
That may be true. My dislike for open floor plan offices is actually less about noise and more about visual distractions. I stare off into the distance when thinking and having visual distractions within my field of view can easily interrupt those thoughts. Thanks to my upbringing, I'm pretty good at tuning noises out and I usually am wearing headphones anyway. But the visual distractions lead me to get off whatever train of thought that I'm on. I don't find cubicles to be significantly less noisy than open floor plans, but they do massively (to completely) eliminate visual distractions. One compromise I had at a previous employer that worked well was to "pod" cubicles, so you had your back to your team but could turn around and talk, but you weren't distracted by other teams during the day having nerf fights or whatever the heck they were doing elsewhere.
Also, I do think there's an element of different personalities involved. I think more extroverted people probably enjoy offices and open offices generally, where-as I am introverted and a bit socially anxious, so having privacy and no interruptions for my work is best for my personality.
it might also be a difference in the domain you're working on.
finance/banking tends to be a very different kind of programming then most developers are used to, even though the domain expertise is still CRUD at the heart.
i've been in that industry as well for 4 yrs now. I can kinda see his point, as its hard to not drift off in any other setting. You usually just get BusinessCases to implement, which are rigidly defined and just need to be implemented.
(and tested to a degree some people wouldn't believe on this forum where even TDD is often questioned)
15+ years remote consultant here. I have never stepped into an office for work during this time. All work from home (sometimes cafes). I can confidently say that most of the time, I've been considered one of the most productive workers on the teams I've been involved with. There's nothing that prevents productivity on remote work that can't be handled with the right tools, skills and attitude. More so, once you (and your team) learns to handle it, working from home can be even more productive than working on an office (worked on an office for the first 5 years of my career and those were a lot less productive). Ask me anything.
Ok, I'll ask the big question: How do you deal with politics? Specially when you are the only remote person in the team. Do you feel you have a disadvantage to someone that works in person when it comes to being recognized and growth?
Not OP but will give my uninvited experience. I have also been remote a majority of the last 10+ years of my work life.
Politics is tricky. I have/had to do a lot more public relations. Starting/running book/video clubs, making time for 1:1s with coworkers, I even did a 2+ year stint of starting off the morning slack chats with a dad joke, that was very appreciated. There are many ways to be productive, but I had to find ways to stay noticed, likable, relevant, and appreciated outside the pull requests. As my former manager said, if no one remembers who you are, you will become just a line item on the payroll.
Remote for the last 6 years for me. Pre-pandemic was also the only member of team that was remote.
I do something pretty similar. Friday's I will somewhat regularly send a dad joke or meme. These of course stay non-political and very SFW.
On a somewhat serious side. I try to regularly send "tips". If I learn something that I think is beyond cool I'll send an email teaching that new cool thing. If it can't be done in an email I'll setup small sessions to teach that over Zoom. I prefer Zoom because it's more impactful as far as being "seen" and not just another email.
Relaying what I've learned (even basic things) works really well, at least my regular 1:1's and reviews support this view.
Your experience is certainly invited :)
I think your experience is really interesting, because as a dev our work can be hard to measure, unless you're working on something huge and very visible, so this interpersonal part of the work becomes very important, kinda like your manager said, you have to be remembered for something more than just "that guy we pay to make code".
The nature of the work changes automatically when you’re this remote (I am too). Results start to matter much more than how people experience you (although that’s pretty important as well). You’ll get given work that has clearly defined inputs and outputs, or given goals that have defined or obvious success measures.
This allows you to bypass the politics situation pretty well. Interact professionally with the people you need to, get your work done, and get your social and drama needs met elsewhere, like with real friends and family :-P
Isn't that itself a problem though? My issue with remote working is it feels more like I'm a code factory that doesn't get to have input on big picture/design stuff very often. Maybe some people like that though...
They are a consultant, so they just move on to the next client and let the perms deal with the politics.
Not OP but in case it's interesting:
I was a remote employee (IC) for about 12 years, and this was a recurring problem. I was one of a handful of remotes in a global team across several time zones, so at some level everybody had to deal with this problem: I didn't have a good handle on the office politics in the US, but the people in the US had just as tenuous a grip on the office politics in Singapore, and so on.
Somehow it usually worked out OK, but we had a director who was very good at shielding us from the more distracting stuff, and we were working on a chronically understaffed, mission-critical, unglamorous, profitable product, so it sort of attracted "just do the work" types.
The OP, however, is a consultant, which brings a very different set of political considerations. Last time I did remote consulting, which was a long time ago, the biggest thing you had to worry about was budget.
Was the $2M project going to get $5M next year or $1M and why? If it's $5M you'd better be able to offer more services or they might push you out in favor of a bigger shop; if it's $1M you'd better make sure you have an internal champion to make sure you still get some of the work; and if you think you can't influence the decision you're not paying attention.
Back then, consultancies would have people on staff just to take all the meetings and drink the drinks and press the flesh and know these things. I'm talking about shops with maybe 10-20 people. I don't know how it works now, but I would bet tomorrow's lunch that whoever still has those people makes more money than whoever doesn't.
(I was a solo consultant, and my lunch was a lot more modest.)
I worked for a small consulting company (not software development). We and other small shops--at least anything bigger than solo practitioner--pretty much all had a client services/sales/business person even if, at the end of the day, the real relationship was with the individual consultants.
Did you start your career as a remote contractor? Or, did you spend those early years on-site in a more traditional setting?
Training new employees (literally new graduates, but also new to team) can be more difficult with remotes. There are probably solutions, but having hired both remote and on-site employees, it was definitely easier to bring the on-site employees up to speed.
I fall into the "there's some value to co-located teams" camp, but I also believe that value is WAY overstated by most managers and senior leadership. In my perfect world, my team would all be located near enough to the office to come in when it makes sense, but free to work remote most of the time.
What's your experience with a combination of remote desktop &/or using something like VS Code Live Share?
Given the choice between a traditional setting or remote, I much more prefer the remote session with those tools.
-- I'll admit to being biased towards remote but with an understanding many things do work better when together (physically).
Pretty good. My team is scattered up and down the east coast (US) and heavily uses Zoom to collaborate. For most work, this is fine. The two places I find tools lacking are...
1. White-boarding new systems/features. I find value in having the team in the same conference room and being able to use an actual whiteboard. So far, I haven't found a virtual whiteboard that was anywhere near as usable. I don't mean for pseudo-coding, but quickly sketching UIs or system architectures, where coworkers can walk up and edit each others work in real-time.
2. Onboarding new employees. Both for "water-cooler" socialization and ease of having the new team-member access other team member for whatever questions they have (Slack and other tools are most of the way there for the latter, but there's still something to be said for reading facial expressions and getting a "feel" for somebody).
And I freely admit some of that may just be my own biases. I've hired remotely and locally, both successfully, and with my company spread across 3+ continents, I'm used to remote collaboration.
I've worked with remote team-members for 20 years now. The tools today are light-years better. Heck, when I started at this company, many of the remote employees didn't even have stable internet connections - that was "fun".
I'd love to get your take on two challenges I've encountered:
(1) Being the only remote person on a team. It was really hard to get other members to include me in meetings, etc. Perhaps your status as a consultant prevented such exclusion?
(2) Inability to stand at the same, physical whiteboard during technical discussions / design sessions.
> There's nothing that prevents productivity on remote work that can't be handled with the right tools, skills and attitude
Firstly, congrats! It's something I'm working towards myself, and the pandemic looks like it will be a significant opportunity to try and achieve it.
However, perhaps you're minimising your expertise here and the learnings and experience that the employer and the worker need to go through to make it work.
Anything to share here?
As a consultant, I've been helping startups with their hiring process, and I've noticed, at this point, even very junior engineers, just starting, are expecting flexibility of schedule, and many are looking for work from home options. (I am not saying this is good or bad, I'm only noting it.) At some point in the past I think there was a bit more of an attitude that one had to "pay one's dues", at least for a few years, but now there is more of an assumption of work from home options being available. And even though Amazon is, typically, hiring a more experienced engineer, and paying more, than the startups I've consulted with, this is certainly the right move for them. It's good for a company to offer flexibility and to be very clear about exactly what is being offered.
I believe the WFH shift is inevitable for the information industry and whoever tries to resist it will be in the wrong side of history.
Covid, for all of its horrors, did bring this positive change which should in the long term help alleviate traffic congestion, reduce the climate impact of commuting and revert the decay of small and medium cities.
In the future, expecting information workers to work in the office every day will feel like requiring them to wear a suit feels today. There will be certain niches that will be stuck in the old ways, and other obvious exceptions where physical interaction with equipment is necessary, but otherwise this change is here to stay.
Its implementation will be gradual after the initial batch of forward-thinking companies adopt it, but unstoppable nonetheless. After a point, companies will greatly prefer flexible workplaces due to reduced hiring costs and overhead, especially as the technology for remote work improves and more people become proficient at working from outside the office.
We should all be prepared for the change. Being effective working from home is a workplace skill like any other; at one time, for instance, information workers had to learn to transition to the typewriter and later to computers. Those who refuse to learn this new skill will eventually be left behind or, at best, have their employment options substantially restricted.
>I believe the WFH shift is inevitable for the information industry and whoever tries to resist it will be in the wrong side of history.
I believe the WFH shift is currently in fashion, in the same way that cubicles used to be, then open-offices. 10+ years ago, it was a big thing for a startup, for example, to get some office space at a accelerator just to have a physical location - even though you could do all your work remotely.
At some point, I suspect, work-from-office will come back around.
Big picture: Some people like remote work, some people don't. Some companies will embrace remote work, some won't. This is the same with how some people prefer cubicles (like me!) and others see them as soul-less cages.
> This is the same with how some people prefer cubicles (like me!)
For me it goes like this (best to worse).
Should note I will not work in an open office as in I used to ask in the interview if it was an open office and if so terminate the interview politely.
WFH Forever (as I currently do). On-site own office Small Office (only devs) Cubicle Open Office.
Small Office/Cubicle you'd have to be paying spectaculary well.
On-site own office I'd consider for market rate and WFH - just pay me the average for my level.
Basically if you want me on-site it'll cost more, if you want me on-site in a less than ideal working environment (for me) it'll cost even more.
Note that there are three things going on here:
- how good is your office environment as a work environment? (e.g. does it have productivity-destroying measures like being open, or is it acoustically quiet, or has nice facilities, etc). Also applies to home environment!
- how good is your commute (time/cost/gruellingness/exposure to infection from other humans)
- how much are you paying in land/real estate cost to have (a) an office in a prestige location and (b) workers within commuting range to it? There is a huge amount of money being paid to landlords and rentiers in the broader sense, and it would be a big efficiency for the economy as a whole to .. not do that.
Regular WFH is definitely not in fashion, the discussions of these last few days show it's still in early stage even in FAANGs outside of the COVID context.
> Some people like remote work, some people don't.
And a lot like to have the option to do both, because even if I prefer working at the office being forced to be there every day of the week no matter the circumstances makes no sense for me. What is asked here is flexibility.
> At some point, I suspect, work-from-office will come back around.
It already has. The forward-thinking job candidates advertise willingness to work in an office now, (correctly) inferring that it increases their hireability and promotion chances.
I'm not so sure: now that I'm 40 and have 3 kids I really love WFH. It saves a commute and lets me balance my life/work effectively.
However 21/22 year old me would have hated this! Working from an office was so much fun back then. Plus you'd meet girls at lunch and stuff. Fantastic time. Lots of work, lots of learning the soft skills and lots of laughing around and enjoying myself.
I hope that 24/7 WFH doesn't become a thing, but that we get a mix. Flexibility from both sides, whenever possible.
It will be a blend in the end.
Right now it is more a fashion thing. Depending on the structure of your company it will work very well or not at at all.
Sometimes throwing 3 people in a room with a whiteboard and a few markers fixes a lot of issues. That sort of thing does not usually happen remote from my exp. But in an office it happens all the time. Sometimes there are too many help vampires. They are good enough but require a lot of hand holding to get up to 'works independent'. The ones they goto are usually the most productive people and that does not happen as much remote. So the more productive ones say 'this is awesome' because they get so much done, but meanwhile the rest of the org is struggling.
Also when you work remote after a few years people 'forget' about you. You get left out of things. Because they just do not see you. If they do not see you, you do not exist to them. I worked remote for about 10 years. I had to be very diligent to be included into things. Recently a few years ago I got to work in an office again with a great group. It was amazing. I learned so much so quickly. I became way more productive. I was able to share a lot more to more jr devs. But now it is back to the same things where I have to spend a lot of time being noticed for anything, and basically having to play a interesting game of 'be nice in email'. Also if you do not have an advocates in management it will be even worse (luckily I do not have that issue this time). Remote work has a lot going for it but also a lot going against it.
But in the end companies will need to measure it. If they don't it is nothing but a guess.
>lots of learning the soft skills
This is actually something that didn't cross my mind through this whole thing, and I don't know why. I love WFH, and wish my employer would extend the option, rather than take a hardline stance against it (old administration doesn't understand productivity tools so we all suffer).
That being said, if I was just starting out in the working world, my prospects absolutely would've been different as time went on. Working in an office full time 100% helped me realize that soft skills are as, if not more important than technical skill.
As a director of a very diverse department now, I actually look for soft skills more than anything. Technical aspects can be learned via the on-boarding process. Soft skills are so much harder to hone, though. Especially if you're entirely remote.
"meeting girls at lunch" is a lot less of a benefit under modern expectations of workplace behavior.
There may still be benefits though.
But anyway why not join a social club for dating? That's where people go intentionally to socialize, so your "hit rate" will be much higher.
Here in the UK, I see the battle still raging from both sides. I have been remote for 3 or so years now, so during covid it was business as usual for me. I have a dedicated room in my house for a "work" office, and plan to convert the roof into a hobby office. Having a dedicated room really helps me get into work mode.
In the UK I'm starting to see a push to get back into the office by the media. Stories about how "most" people want to go back into the office, which goes strongly against what I've heard from colleagues (which, to be fair is only tech people). I've heard the argument about being trapped in a small home/flat can be an issue, especially with kids, so I can see that being a driver to get back in the office.
Some more management and sales type people have told me quick communication face to face is missing with remote working, but for me, an information worker, I value not being interrupted every 10 mins. I can put my slack on DnD and block out mornings or afternoons for deep work.
I lived in the outskirts of London and commuted in for a long time when I was getting started in this career. Now I'm 10 years in, I'm over spending £650/$900 a month on a train ticket, spending 1h 30m each way to commute in and then spending £10 on lunch every day. At home I can cook good, cheap, home cooked meals. I can go for a walk at lunch time and start and finish when I want to, as long as work is complete.
People have also told me they miss social time in the office. I'm more introverted, so I miss this much less, but if it's a big loss, maybe you need to socialise more outside of work.
Now, 18 months into COVID, I have decided I never want to go back into an office, if I can help it. I know not everyone can do this, but for me, I've committed so much that I've moved away from London up to the North of England. I want to continue to arbitrage between London tech rates and cheaper locations as long as I can.
I'm sorry to say but I think most big cities will keep a significant loss of visitors. Those that can move will do. The brain drain from a country into capital cities I feel is reversing, and I think it's for the best. We can help revitalise smaller areas and tech like the internet, video calls and the acceptance of things like Slack will power it.
So right now, I think its a battle between employers and staff. Employers mostly want people back in the office (for some reason, I'm still not sure why), and most employees want to be remote, or at least have the option. Who will break first is the big question. An employer willing to hire from a bigger pool of people is bound to, over time, gain a competitive edge.
> An employer willing to hire from a bigger pool of people is bound to, over time, gain a competitive edge.
I am not too sure. When you recruit in really small pools (say 10 devs in a town) and score one of the worst engineers in the pool the next one to recruit is probably better. You don't have that effect in big pools where the untried pool share is almost still the same.
Also if the recruiting is worse than chance (quite common in my experience), having a bigger pool is worse and you ideally want one qualified candidate.
> spending £650/$900 a month on a train ticket
Holy cow! People switch jobs when offered smaller raises than that.
> spending 1h 30m each way to commute in
That's crazy - where on the outskirts of London did you live? Birmingham?
A 90 minute commute? No wonder you prefer remote work...
I don't know that the climate impact is necessarily settled: https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200218-why-working-fr...
(note that I'm generally pro wfh, but on the climate side it is feasible that running the AC or heat in your home more during the day is less efficient than driving to work and congregating with bunch of people in a building designed for energy efficiency. I'm not saying that the claim in that article is true, just that I'm not sure that it's settled)
Anecdotally, I ended up getting a CO2 monitor for my house, and had to set the central air fan to run pretty regularly (when not feasible to open windows, which is much of the year year -- quite hot) to circulate the air to keep CO2 levels at a point where they weren't potentially effecting my cognitive abilities (i noticed that's I'd start feeling lethargic and getting headaches, etc). The house is just designed to be sealed up for efficiency, rather than an office building which is often designed to circulate air to avoid that problem. CO2 levels throughout the house have dropped, but there's certainly an energy cost to that.
I've started a new job remotely this year with quite a few junior engineers in the team, and I'm definitely finding it's much harder to mentor and make sure that they're taking the right paths while solving a problem than it was in the office. Flexibility is undoubtedly a good thing, however like you I think there is an element of paying your dues that is perhaps missing in the current environment.
What does paying your dues mean and how does it make you more effective in your opinion?
I think a lot of the skills you learn around how you interact with people in a professional setting, developing a sense of when to ask someone for help vs. work through a problem yourself, and how to develop software professionally. I've found that we have a lot more work taken down a wrong path because it's not as easy to check in on someone remotely without it coming across as micromanagement of more junior developers. I appreciate that a fair portion of that "blame" lays with the more senior members, but I've at least found that some things that would easily be resolved face to face, or with the kind of coffee break chat you get in person, have festered on longer than they necessarily should have.
Ehhh I’m skeptical about juniors needing face to face. Those juniors might just not be cut out for the field.
Generally there’s nothing in-person provides them that proper management in general does not. You’d both be looking at code anyway, on a screen, so pair programming is the same no matter the distance.
And there’s also the fact that experienced hires tend to not want to always baby juniors anyway. They need to learn how to read documentation and spend time on writing code. That’s mostly it for the first few years.
> Ehhh I’m skeptical about juniors needing face to face. Those juniors might just not be cut out for the field.
You might be from a different era :-)
IT is a mass employer these days, there is no "not cut out of the field". Companies need software. They'll be bad engineers, but they'll be engineers regardless.
> Ehhh I’m skeptical about juniors needing face to face. Those juniors might just not be cut out for the field.
If your company's chat rooms are great, the onboarding might go well. Otherwise there's a big difference between noticing your boss/buddy is looking at their phone or having another kind of break and sneaking in a question or vice versa, noticing your junior dev's frustrated face, and looking at the green signal next to their name and wondering if it's a good time for a call.
Not everyone is a loner, and the people who aren't loners tend to get promoted more.
The most amazing programmer in my team, who is a loner, is 5-10years behind on the promotion ladder (against his desire).
> bit more of an attitude that one had to "pay one's dues"
I think people started asking questions like "to whom am I paying and do I get a receipt" and "what do I get in return for these dues". If there's zero loyalty from the employer side and everyone's just an instantly replaceable gig worker, the concept vanishes.
> good for a company to offer flexibility and to be very clear about exactly what is being offered.
Not strictly on-topic, but I’m wishing we could adopt the term ‘flexible-location’ instead of ‘work-from-home’.
I feel that the latter can convey a mental image of a person lounging at home in their pajamas, drinking a chai latte while ‘dabbling’ occasionally in work, while the former more accurately describes what I’m hoping the future of (former) office work will be: something not bound to a single, company-controlled, indoor location.
Legit. Sometimes you have to get ready for standup when you're in a small village in the Scottish Highlands because you couldn't get to your new accommodations on time.
Probably the most clear-headed on the meeting that morning, to boot.
One thing I really love about working remotely is that I can maintain perspective. It's easier to take a step away and remember to see life for what it is rather than getting so caught up in the miniature worlds created by someone else who didn't necessarily have everyone's best interests at heart.
Nice. At an old job, I was known as the WFDP (work from dog park) guy. The dog park next to my apartment was beautiful and for some reason was blanketed with WiFi. So, I spent a lot of time there under a tree. My coworkers thought it was a little ridiculous, but I always got all my work done each sprint so…
I want your battery ;)
Amazing that you had service! What provider do you use? Last time I drove around the highlands I had zero data signal
Tell them you're home and you're using one of those custom backgrounds.
> a person lounging at home in their pajamas, drinking a chai latte while ‘dabbling’ occasionally in work
This is literally what a lot of people want though.
This is literally what a lot of managers think a lot of people want.
People act (on average) with a lot more good faith than most corporate entities.
If, as a manager, you are unable to infer that this is happening, then in all probability that person would be doing the same 'dabbling' if they were co-located. (Just with a higher effort of looking busier).
For me, I don't want to do that, but as distractions are so easy, I can easily see myself falling in such a pattern.
That's why, despite having the choice to work from home, I am going to mainly work in the office.
My anecdotal evidence is that the majority of people in my network are not working anywhere close 8 hours. I don't think they're less productive than they were in the office.
Why not both? I can drink a chai latte in my PJs and "occasionally" work through-out the day and still be more productive than if I waste 3 hours a day on commuting and have to fight through constant noises and distractions in an office.
Then the solution is simple. Make the metric production. If you can sit around in your PJs browsing reddit and do the odd hour here and there and still get the same results as people that are 9-6 bum in seat, who cares?
You either get it done or someone who can will replace you. What makes people feel so safe in their job that “dabbling” is not putting their career at risk?
Maybe that's just me but flexible-location on the other hand to me suggests that the person is constantly on the go, e.g. in a café.
Given the shitty internet situation (might just be here in Germany though) and background noise anywhere that is not the office or home (which seems to be still bad in a lot of cases), that doesn't seem too desirable of an image. Those factors are what cause the location in "flexible-location" to be home 99% of the time for me (and probably many other people).
"Flexible location" also opens up a bunch of potential tax issues if people are spending a lot of time working from another state or another country. (Surprisingly, the former can be a bigger issue than the latter assuming visa limits are being observed.)
I think “remote working” is good enough, as it does not carry a specific social stigma..
It feels like this article completely misses the mark with its tone... Amazon didn't "reverse course" at all.
The new guidance is still very much "office centric" and requires that everyone be in the office 3 days a week. And even if you do get an exception to work remotely (which will probably be extremely rare), you are still required to live within commute distance of your assigned office. That defeats the purpose of remote work for a lot of people.
Three days per week, as opposed to one or maybe two, is still in the you probably don't want a god-awful commute range. I did something like that for 18 months (when I wasn't traveling) with about a 90 minute commute and it really didn't feel long-term sustainable to me.
I can do a two-hour commute (especially if it can mostly be by rail) once a week or so. But much more than that and it gets pretty painful. Mind you, some flexibility is better than no flexibility but it's not remote work by any means.
Amazon could become a good place to start as a junior moving on to a proper remote work at Google/Microsoft/Facebook/etc.
> proper remote work at Google/Microsoft
Amazon's policy is exactly the same as Microsoft. Is Google proper remote now?
Remote point notwithstanding, this is quite common, actually. Amazon's mean tenure is somewhere around 9 months and is well known for flogging their mandatory attrition curve; they also are known for having relatively forgiving hiring criteria to be constantly moving fresh blood through the system. Amazon backloads RSUs for this reason, and juniors routinely treat their employment there as a "tour of duty" before moving elsewhere, as the brand is still quite a strong stamp on the resumé.
Many parts of it can be a bad place to work. But it's a huge company. There are some parts doing cutting edge work as well that you won't get access to at other companies. But to your point, the likelihood that a junior engineer will get access to that is slim, and so your assertion holds.
We'll see how that works for them
I work there and wouldn’t call this a “reversal”, but rather a clarification on details. They’ve been taking about when they expect people to come back but haven’t said anything about work from home options. Sounds like they’ve settled on a guideline.
I'd expect a certain amount of posturing from both employees and employers regarding this.
I.e., it's a point of contention, and there's an incentive to bluff. Each side wants to make the other side fear the consequences of demanding more than the labor market will bear.
8am-5pm - work from office
5pm-2am - work from home
thank you amazon for flexible work arrangements!
I genuinely have never heard anybody have to work this much at Amazon. I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve had to work more than 9 hours a day (it’s once, 3 year tenure).
While the above may have been a joke, its not a secret that work life harmony and culture are perhaps the worst aspects of Amazon (talking of the corporate side of course, not including warehouses)
The biggest problem is we aren't compensated well. I only make $200k as a mid-level engineer.
Doesn't that depend on how high on the hierarchy you are and whether you're doing infrastructure work versus a more laid back product or sales role?
I know people at AWS, Alexa, Prime Video, PeopleTech and they all have roughly the same experience.
I have heard this at Facebook though, where 9-to-9 is more typical, but you know, you don't see people complaining about that online.
You left out 5am-8am
I'd bet they started running into a recruiting problem.
Do they not already? I go out of my way to avoid amazon recruiters as I don't want any part of that toxic environment.
What toxic environment?
> My brother Mike... was in the Navy on an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf during the 1990s Gulf War, and later worked at Amazon, and declared after four years that Amazon was _way_ more stressful
The whole of Amazon has been tarred with working conditions for their warehouse and drivers. I assume the information workers don't have to piss in bottles and go through metal detectors.
However we just recently heard about Amazon hiring to fire, with an internal policy and broken pursuit-of-metrics that yields fundamental dysfunction.
Go to Team Blind and read.
Recruiters are getting more desperate and from what I've seen offers are rising significantly. And yet it's still not enough.
They're also now calling and texting my phone directly instead of the usual inbox invasion. Absolutely desperate.
Agree. I've had repeated contacts from Amazon recruiters, including multiple "hi there!" emails from the same person even though I've told them no. I'm in a remote midwestern city that might have an Amazon office but certainly not the R&D center they're recruiting for.
Weird, I just had this happen, too. AMZN recruiter reached out, I politely declined, got another message from the same person 2 days later.
At this level they're just resume harvesters. What's really crappy is they reach out to you making it sound like you're Just The Perfect Person for their role, then hand you a pile of shit you need to study to ace the interview.
Guess I'm not the perfect person then or else I'd know all of this, right? Fuck that.
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