Raise your hand if you’ve heard this before: Developers want the flexibility to work remotely. If your hand is currently in the air, you’re not alone. But how are you supposed to monitor a programmer’s productivity when you can’t walk over to that person’s desk? Is it even possible to keep them on track to meet deadlines when there are dozens of potential distractions at home?
The truth is that a growing number of professionals feel that they’re more productive when they work remotely. In a recent FlexJobs survey, 66% of respondents said that they get more done when they’re not in the office. With remote working options proving to be less of a luxury perk (not to mention a boost to your team’s output), why else do programmers value the flexibility to do their jobs from home?
We reached out to a few developers to learn more about how they get things done from the comfort of a home office. Here’s what they had to say.
Our CTO David Fullerton once wrote that remote working isn’t for everyone. Not only do employers understand this, most developers know that working from home isn’t always fun and games.
Ross Williams, Chief Architect at Solodev, says that the remote developers in his network understand how their work habits do and don’t translate to their work environment. For Williams, the flexibility of his schedule at home incentivizes him to complete projects on time. But he adds, “If you get distracted away from your desk or hate the thought of being alone, stay in the office.”
With that in mind, Williams urges employers that don’t offer work-from-home options to reconsider. If your company decides to start recruiting remote developers, ask specific interview questions to gauge how they would track and manage their work.
You might think that hiring programmers in your area is an ideal way to control the team’s work environment and keep everyone on track. But Steve Bennett, a Technical Project Lead at Soliant Consulting, argues that companies should be less concerned about where their programmers work from and think more critically about all potential distractions.
“Plenty of other factors also contribute to the productivity of a developer,” Bennett tells us. “Motivation and work-ethic cannot be fixed by forcing a developer to work in the office. None of those factors are limited to one environment or the other.”
Before you rule out hiring remote developers, have a candid conversation with your engineering managers about why you haven’t in the past. If you don’t have the infrastructure in place to support them, there are a few high-profile organizations that are right there with you. But if their only goal is to minimize distractions, ask them to elaborate on their specific concerns. Then, be frank with them about which ones you can avoid by not offering remote working options—and more importantly, which ones affect all developers, regardless of where they work.