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Working From Home: What if You Never Saw Your Colleagues in Person Again? (bbc.com) 212

Bryan Lufkin, writing for BBC: Throughout my career I've worked with people that I've never met in person. In theory, I could spend an entire day without meeting another human face-to-face. But could this kind of self-imposed isolation become standard working practice in the future?

Studies show that in the US, the number of telecommuters rose 115% between 2005 and 2017. And in early 2015, around 500,000 people used Slack, the real-time chat room programme, daily. By last September, that number soared to over 6 million. In 2017 a Gallup poll revealed that 43% of 15,000 Americans say they spend at least some of their time working remotely, a 4% rise from 2012. And a 2015 YouGov study found that 30% of UK office workers say they feel more productive when they work outside their workplace. How would we feel if we never had to work with another person face-to-face again? Would we care? Have things gone so far that we might not even notice?

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Working From Home: What if You Never Saw Your Colleagues in Person Again?

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  • Yes please! (Score:5, Funny)

    by jawtheshark ( 198669 ) * <slashdotNO@SPAMjawtheshark.com> on Friday February 02, 2018 @03:33PM (#56057151) Homepage Journal
    I hope so!
    • Re:Yes please! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 02, 2018 @04:02PM (#56057457)

      I hope so!

      Indeed. The majority of people are self-centered, self-absorbed, and self-important. As such people are not interested in introspection, personal growth and change, they tend to also be petty and small-minded. Maybe it has always been this way. Generally, the workplace is the only place where I cannot easily avoid such people by choosing not to associate with them. There are no benefits to this -- it is only a source of stress. Also when the slightest power/authority is involved it makes all of this worse. Rather than responsible leaders, many workplaces are filled with petty tyrants whose only concern is playing politics and looking good.

      By eliminating unnecessary social contact in the workplace we would gain much more control over our own social lives. It would make social contact a much more voluntary phenomenon, both in terms of quantity and quality. It would increase the tendency of "water seeks its own level".

      Those who want lots of contact would find plenty of like-minded company, in fact they would find they are the majority. The only thing they would find lacking is the ability to impose their ways and their personality traits (i.e extraversion) on others. This is a Good Thing.

      I can't imagine anyone having a problem with this, except maybe nosy busybodies and those with a thinly-veiled desire to control others. I guess the usual excuses would be used, ranging from "you should be forced to do X because I have decided it's for your own good", to those who are merely threatened by the fact that not everyone else is just like themselves.

      • Re:Yes please! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by taiwanjohn ( 103839 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @04:08PM (#56057513)

        I couldn't help noticing the ironic word-wrap on the first line of your post:

        Indeed. The majority of people are self-centered, self-absorbed, and self-important. As such people are not interested in introspection,

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          People who are self-centered, self-absorbed, and self-important are blind to their issues and conditioning. Introspection helps in keeping the issues from spilling all over the others. I therefore can't see the irony in that part of the other AC's post.

      • I hope so!

        Indeed. The majority of people are self-centered, self-absorbed, and self-important. As such people are not interested in introspection, personal growth and change, they tend to also be petty and small-minded. Maybe it has always been this way. Generally, the workplace is the only place where I cannot easily avoid such people by choosing not to associate with them. There are no benefits to this -- it is only a source of stress. Also when the slightest power/authority is involved it makes all of this worse. Rather than responsible leaders, many workplaces are filled with petty tyrants whose only concern is playing politics and looking good.

        By eliminating unnecessary social contact in the workplace we would gain much more control over our own social lives. It would make social contact a much more voluntary phenomenon, both in terms of quantity and quality. It would increase the tendency of "water seeks its own level".

        Those who want lots of contact would find plenty of like-minded company, in fact they would find they are the majority. The only thing they would find lacking is the ability to impose their ways and their personality traits (i.e extraversion) on others. This is a Good Thing.

        I can't imagine anyone having a problem with this, except maybe nosy busybodies and those with a thinly-veiled desire to control others. I guess the usual excuses would be used, ranging from "you should be forced to do X because I have decided it's for your own good", to those who are merely threatened by the fact that not everyone else is just like themselves.

        Even with what you claim of individuals, man is a social animal. He needs the comfort to rub shoulders with peers, to exchange some thoughts in private, to enjoy a meal with a friend, and to learn from friends and offer help to friends.

        No man is an island that can remain in isolation. There are the givers in life, and the takers in life, and they need each other. The generous man who gives to charity, vs the takers who build islands made from spoils of taking.

        If you are in a relationship, can you live in

      • Working from home will not preclude the need for contact with your co-workers.

    • Re:Yes please! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @04:05PM (#56057495)

      I hope so!

      Be careful what you wish for. Work that can be done from Montana can also be done from Mumbai.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 02, 2018 @04:15PM (#56057603)

        I hope so!

        Be careful what you wish for. Work that can be done from Montana can also be done from Mumbai.

        I telecommute from Montana to my outsourcing job in Mumbai to do work in London where they offshored work from Helena. It really stinks that when they call me from London, I have to have a fake Indian accent. And if I get a direct call from Montana, I have to fake an English accent. But my accent is really from the Northeast so I put 'R's where they don't belong.

      • Be careful what you wish for. Work that can be done from Montana can also be done from Mumbai.

        1. Not if you need a security clearance, or even lower levels of security handling personal records, etc.

        2. Not if you need some sort of proficiency in using the English language without an accent SO thick that the listener can't ascertain that you actually are speaking English.

        Remember, quite often, if you're working from home, even in I.T., it isn't all just computer work, you spend a LOT of your time on confe

        • 1. Not if you need a security clearance, or even lower levels of security handling personal records, etc.

          Yeah, competition is for those private sector saps.

      • ITAR can not. [wikipedia.org]

      • Or Malmö.

      • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
        If there's anyone else in the world who does what you do. Guys who can crap out some Javascript and glue together 15 different frameworks with code from sourceforge are a dime a dozen. How about someone who can write a targeting system for a laser? A SPACE laser! Oh, by the way, they'll need a clearance. And something something ITAR. Good luck finding one of those in Mumbai!

        And yes, I'd be happy to write your space laser guidance system at home. After the last "Bring your child to work day," the entire of

    • Re:Yes please! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by apoc.famine ( 621563 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .enimaf.copa.> on Friday February 02, 2018 @04:08PM (#56057523) Journal

      I'm much more torn than you seem to be. I would definitely miss some because they are fun, interesting people, and others for more aesthetic reasons. A solid 50% or so I could definitely do without.

      But I've worked from home for short periods, and I can honestly say that I do get somewhat stir-crazy. I need some intellectual human interaction on a pretty regular basis. I'd love to work from home one day a week. I honestly don't know that I'd like more than that.

      • Re:Yes please! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Bigbutt ( 65939 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @04:22PM (#56057693) Homepage Journal

        I do work from one day a week as scheduled and have to throw an extra day or two in over the winter due to road conditions. Personally I find there's some comeraderie that's missing when you don't work directly with people. The day to day interactions that make the team a team vs 10 people who work together. When I worked at IBM, I worked on a contract for a year that was 100% work from home. And it was pretty bad, team wise. Conversations were very business oriented with no personal connection with the rest of the team. I'm pretty introverted but still enjoy being able to freely trade pokes at the team. And nothing like coming in and hearing, "oh, you weren't here when we discussed [some tech subject]" and then having to be spun up on what's going on.

        From a business perspective, yes, if you can work from home, you can work from Mumbai or Saigon. And there are benefits in that germs aren't passed around either. Plus the "wasted time" of work related socializing.

        Team Building exercises. Going out with the guys at lunch or after work. Eventually, like at IBM, you're just a cog in the machine, easily replaced by someone in Mumbai.

        [John]

        • Personally I find there's some comeraderie that's missing when you don't work directly with people. The day to day interactions that make the team a team vs 10 people who work together. When I worked at IBM, I worked on a contract for a year that was 100% work from home. And it was pretty bad, team wise. Conversations were very business oriented with no personal connection with the rest of the team. I

          Work is work...and while there is some human, personal interactions required, for the most part, it should

      • Working with good people is one of the most rewarding aspects of a job. I like to work at home but not all the time. When in the office, I almost never call anyone that is there, I go talk to them in person. Communication is often much much better face to face than telephone or video chat.

        Having strong relationships with colleagues makes it easier to work remotely when you do.
        • When in the office, I almost never call anyone that is there, I go talk to them in person. Communication is often much much better face to face than telephone or video chat.

          On the other hand....working from home, I'm not constantly being interrupted by people walking up to my cube to "chat"....or converse about stuff that has nothing to do with my work, and breaking my concentration.

          Working from home, I can answer people at my leisure on breaks from concentration.

          • I welcome this. It's a chance to share knowledge and to mentor others. I'll also admit that I _do_ prefer having an actual office rather than a cubicle to work from. It allows an "open door policy" to mean something, and to close the door for a private meeting if needed. Since I sometimes discuss security sensitive projects, or NDA material with clients or colleagues, it's been very helpful. The ability to see their faces and reactions can be invaluable: it can carry subtle excitement, or shock, that does n

            • If I found a company that provided private offices for programmers, and was located somewhere nice like the urban parts of LA or Miami, then I would totally consider working on-site.

              Alas, the typical software job involves sitting in a horrible open plan office or a cube farm; and is located in a soul-crushing suburban office park in a God-forsaken hellhole like Northern California.

      • Just because someone works from home does not mean that they never see their colleagues in person. Most remote people will still fly into their headquarters or regional location once a quarter or so.
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        I kinda like the separation of work and home life. I also kinda hate the commute.

      • I need some intellectual human interaction on a pretty regular basis.

        Isn't that what Slashdot is for?

      • "need some intellectual human interaction"

        Then hang out with an intellectual crowd in your free time. You sure as fuck aren't going to find that at your average office.

  • The one place I was at that allowed work from home saw me being much more productive. No cubicle drive-bys. No distractions. No ruckus from the surroundings.

    A pox on those short-sighted employers who insist on chaining us to the stupid desks. Seriously. I hate it.

    • by xevioso ( 598654 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @03:41PM (#56057237)

      The jury is still out. Working at home allows you to complete tasks on your own time and in your own environment where you are presumably less distracted.

      But you also lose the ability to have face-to-face collaboration, which is very important in certain industries. Scheduling a skype meeting is different than chatting with someone in the hall about what might be needed or expected for an upcoming project. There's a reason a lot of deals and agreements get made in person, and people have had the ability to meet via "video-conference" for decades now; yet face-to-face contact is stil preferred in certain situations.

      I think it's often best to have it both ways...to come in for meetings sometimes, but to work at home for projects that require intensive work.

      • by malachid69 ( 306291 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @03:57PM (#56057423) Homepage

        I don't think the jury is still out. I have worked from home off and on for decades. In my current job, I was going into the office every 6 weeks until recently (haven't been in the office in probably 6 months). Since that also involves flying there and back, one week in the office is about as productive as one day at home. I'm not being facetious about that - I'm just considering burn down and tickets that actually get closed out.

        While I do understand the desire to have face-2-face whiteboarding sessions, that's rarely what we are doing.

        We use conferencing (Hangouts and unfortunately also WebEx at the moment) daily for an international team. While it may take a minute or two to start a chat online, when onsite it usually takes much longer to find each other AND an available room. Half the time, we crowd around one monitor anyway.

        However, the less distracted assumption is also not really all that true. Even ignoring things going on at your own house (deliveries, pets wanting fed, etc), you still get constant distractions from meeting invites and slack conversations. The only real difference is you are less likely to be pulled into a meeting or an off-site lunch.

        You'll probably find that how you manage your project has a bigger impact than a lot of that. How many administrative meetings are you having? How many scrums and retrospectives and grooming sessions and artificial deadlines etc?

        All that being said, I do tend to turn down onsite jobs anymore because I don't want to waste 2 hours a day of unpaid time commuting.

        • Well yeah if you're comparing working from your bathroom to spending a whole day to travel to the office, of course it's going to be more productive. Realistically though I haven't seen any conclusive studies on productivity but I'd imagine it would be pretty similar on average with one or the other being better for some people or some types of work.

          What I can say for certain though is that it's absolutely a determent for career development because you don't get to network with anyone outside of your immedi

      • by Strider- ( 39683 )

        The jury is still out. Working at home allows you to complete tasks on your own time and in your own environment where you are presumably less distracted.

        I'm absolutely the other way. At home is where all my distractions are: All my projects that are waiting for me to finish, my computers/games, my local pub, my cat, and so forth and so on. I get very little done while I'm at home, where as at work, the only distractions are from coworkers, and that I can deal with.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 02, 2018 @03:50PM (#56057331)

      Most of the people I know that work from home are more productive but they eventually get shit on because of office politics. The employees that are physically at the office every day have social opportunities and form relationships that, unfortunately, make a huge difference when it comes to career advancement.

    • The one place I was at that allowed work from home saw me being much more productive. No cubicle drive-bys. No distractions. No ruckus from the surroundings.

      A pox on those short-sighted employers who insist on chaining us to the stupid desks. Seriously. I hate it.

      I was more productive working from home when the kids weren't around. Now they (and the wife) are too much of a distraction. In the case of the Mrs. she used to be understanding that I was working when working from home. Now she isn't and doesn't treat me as if I'm at work not to be bothered. My family is also far too messy, and I can't work in a dirty environment. At home, there are no wife and kids to junk up my desk or leave plates and mugs everywhere and empty packets of crisps all over the place.

  • open plan office??? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ArTourter ( 991396 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @03:38PM (#56057207)

    Well I think one of the causes for this is the insistence from upper management that open plan offices are a good idea and impose it on every one but themselves.

    the result is that people need to find a quiet place from time to time to not be disturb so that they can concentrate on a specific task. And when putting headphones on, not answering email immediately and so on don't work any more because people just come by your desk and stand there until you give up and talk to them, the only solution is to simply not be there!

    • by Octorian ( 14086 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @03:47PM (#56057287) Homepage

      the result is that people need to find a quiet place from time to time to not be disturb so that they can concentrate on a specific task.

      This reminds me of a time when I needed to take a private phone call, which you obviously cannot do at your desk in an open-plan office. So I walked around the entire building, and every single conference room was occupied by "one person sitting in front of a laptop." I think I eventually found some corner by a stairwell.

      • >> every single conference room was occupied by "one person sitting in front of a laptop." I think I eventually found some corner by a stairwell.

        Grow a pair. Here's how you do it if you're just a newbie.
        1) Find a junior-looking guy/gal whose conference room you want
        2) Look up that conference room and book it for just you in whatever system you use
        3) Go back to the conference room and ask the person to beat it, asking them to check the room reservation if they want
        4) Sit down with your laptop in your
    • Of course all the nonsense about increased collaboration (and thus productivity) around open floor plans has been debunked. The reason upper management keeps doing it is because it is cheaper. Office floor space is expensive per sq ft. Most businesses lease office space, and do it in multi-year blocks. That's a nice hard, fixed expense every month and one you that can be difficult to change.

      Personal offices, even shared ones, are expensive per square foot. You have more wasted square footage with passa

    • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <bruce@perens.com> on Friday February 02, 2018 @06:21PM (#56058741) Homepage Journal
      Yes, companies are in denial about open plan offices and the cost to productivity. My customers put me in one, but I have my home office where I usually work. I never actually took a full-time job that forced me to have one. At Pixar and other places I always insisted on a room with a door. And probably nobody wanted to share a room with me anyway :-)
  • Depends on the job (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @03:40PM (#56057227)
    I think it really depends on the job. There are clearly some where being left the hell alone and not bothered allows a person get much more accomplished, never mind all the time saved from the commute to work.

    However, I can't imagine having something like a writers' room that works anywhere near as effectively if everyone is video conferencing in from home. Also anything that requires a lot of specialized and expensive equipment doesn't seem workable in that manner either.

    However, if you could have 20% of the current work force working from home it would likely make traffic far more bearable for the other 80%.
    • I think the desire to is also dependent on the person. For myself, its pretty much a yes please. I could go for vast stretches without physical contact, in fact while I work in an office now, I'd said most of my interactions are already digital anyway. I have some overlap in what I work on with the physical people around me, but not a great deal either. Every now and again it is kind of interested to go to some large shared meeting or conference and put a face to a name. I've had working relationships with

    • With a recent plain-ordinary-development project, I was in the office four days of the week to try and keep an intuitive "handle" for what we were doing, and would save up concentration-dependant tasks for home on Wednesdays. That worked well, for me.

      Another engineer worked strictly from home, and had dispropriately more trouble than I.

      A third worked from a remote office, and quit our project to work with the people who sat at the next desks.

      I suspect this fits one of a family of U-shaped curves, with

  • I have severe degenerative disk disease. My manager used to unofficially accommodate my disability by letting me work from home, but then another manager decided to make an issue of it...
    Long story short, I had medical documentation, I could prove the previous accommodation, and I had a decent lawyer. I never need to set foot in the office again.

    ...and I can't, even if I want to, because going in would provide evidence that I no longer need the accommodation.
    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      ...and I can't, even if I want to, because going in would provide evidence that I no longer need the accommodation.

      Hey, just because someone managed to get there in person once on some special occasion shouldn't prove it would not be excessively burdensome for the employee to set foot there on a daily basis.

      Not all disabilities that are required to be accommodated are 100% disabilities.... some conditions can vary ---- some conditions involve discomfort or pain as a burden that can be carried infre

      • I don't trust them to see it that way, and my lawyer advised me to avoid giving them any excuses. That manager is still making life Hell for others who had been telecommuting merely because it made sense, and I've heard it really bothers her that she lost the confrontation she provoked with me.
    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      I also have disabilities. I loved working from home 100% when I was a contractor for Cisco for 1.5 years/18 months. I am still unemployed since then and having problems getting hired because of my multiple disabilities. :(

  • sounds like an article from 15-years ago from someone obsessed with Second Life. Makes one wonder how little qualifications are required to advise government officials.

  • I loved working from home, when I could, but occasional socializing in person is still a must. Neither e-mail, nor IM, nor audio can properly convey all the subtle details of smiling and other body-language. Smilies, emojis and memes are a crutch... Video is better, but it is still not as good as the real thing.

    As a result, for example, your rejection of a genuinely bad idea can get easily misconstrued as meanness or vendetta against whoever proposed it. People slowly grow to resent each other — meeti

    • Our team is facing going virtual at least by next year, when the move to a new building will force evaluating needs and we may not show a need for seats.

      We already know that a weekly Skype team meeting will not be enough. I expect 3 of 6 will transfer, and I'll be stuck with the ones lacking in drive, and my manager will book space daily to avoid being isolated.

      And I'll save 2.2 hours a day commuting, face interruptions every 20 minutes to 'please....', and eventually go virtual at Starbucks when I've finis

  • by bigdady92 ( 635263 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @03:45PM (#56057271) Homepage
    My nearest collegue is 100miles away, we all work remote, we get together once every 6 months for a 'company' meeting to recall who everyone is.

    Beyond that there is NO reason to be in the same office as everything we work on is scattered globally and we couldn't even PHYSICALLY touch the systems if we want to (READ: CLOUD), if the systems fall offline we call one of the big 3 and they go look at down systems. Other than that we keep the systems running and go on about our day.
    • I've worked from home for almost 15 years. I live in a rural area of the mid-west where the cost of living is low and it saves me a boat load of time and money on the commute. I still have to keep my office professional and wear decent clothes because instead of people walking into my office I have skype popping up constantly and I still see people with video conferencing multiple times a day.

      • This is the thing most people don't realize they HAVE to do. I put on office clothes even though I've moved 20' from my bed to my office work area. This makes me FEEL like I still am in a work environment and productive even though I'm nowhere near the office.
  • More likely, for the first time.
  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <bruce@perens.com> on Friday February 02, 2018 @03:47PM (#56057291) Homepage Journal

    When I was Debian project leader - is that around 20 years ago now? Time flies - I had around 200 regular collaborators who were the package maintainers at that time. They were distributed worldwide and we never met. We made a great distribution that worked and got on the Space Shuttle for two flights. I ran into Ian Kluft at a ham radio function, and eventually was invited to Europe to speak and met some other developers. But I have still never met many of those 200.

  • by mschuyler ( 197441 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @03:49PM (#56057317) Homepage Journal

    Sounds like a solution to every working man being accused of sexual harassment for looking at a woman. Then if your spouse sues, at least t's community property.

    • Somewhat off-topic, but I like to joke about how "I know how women feel" when I'm on a video conference. Because when I talk to them, I find them staring at my chest.

      No, not really. They're looking at the image of me on their screen. That image happens to be a few inches below the camera. So they're looking a few inches below my face.

      One thing I've been debating doing is using the TV on the other side of my office as a fourth screen exclusively for video conferencing. Go buy a camera with a slight zoom

  • I've been working from home for about a year now, and honestly I love it. I am a software developer, so it makes sense for me to have quiet and minimize interruptions. As a result, I'm more productive (because I can just turn slack off when I don't want to be interrupted, harder to do in an office environment) and I get to spend more time with my family instead of an hour or more on the road on a daily basis. We use Zoom constantly and we try to make it a point to turn on our camera's so we can actually see
  • I feel less productive working from home. Way to many distractions including turning on a tv and to many temptations. Plus i think i would miss the humans.
    • Agreed. Home is for home. Home is not for work. When I've worked from home, I've found that after awhile I have no home--only work. Hours start to get weird, etc.

      Unfortunately, the company I work for is 3000 miles away.

      My solution is to rent an office. It's a whopping four mile commute--I can drive, bike, walk, or ride the bus, depending on my mood and what's going on that day.

  • No thanks. I don't want to be a keyboard warrior. Human interaction usually improves your mental state too https://www.nytimes.com/2017/0... [nytimes.com]
  • I love working from home. I don't miss humans face-to-face. I still need contact via phone and IM and that happens daily. I am a programmer, and our people are mostly distributed, so an office generally doesn't make sense any more anyway. But I hate it when the big bosses come up from head office and I have to go to the office. Totally wasted dead unproductive time.

    The other thing is, I never need to print anything at home - I can get by with stuff on the screen. When I worked in an office, I was always pri

  • For jobs that are entirely theory based, I can see that happening (like writing software on the web, or accounting, or a number of other jobs). For jobs where you must physically interact with a product or customers, not so much. On the flip side, many employers have countless incompetent managers who only feel comfortable when they can look over your shoulder and see that you are in fact working, regardless of how productive you are, or if you just switched screens from solitaire.

    The only way I can see a

  • by Danathar ( 267989 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @04:21PM (#56057669) Journal
    When you never see somebody, then the personalization goes down. I'm all for teleworking, but not 100% telework. If your boss never sees you, its probably a LOT easer to lay you off.
    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      With some people, seeing them makes laying them off just that much easier and enjoyable.

  • In theory I could be almost 100% remote, but I prefer to be in the office and interact more naturally with my colleagues. I do the odd day remotely, and I usually get some project that I've been putting off done then, but I wouldn't want to be remote more than one or two days a week tops.

    It helps that I can walk to the office, of course.

  • I'm in the same boat again now as I was about a decade ago. Both times I moved with my family to a place far and yon, but came to an arrangement with my employer to work remotely from a home office. Both times I travel back about 20-25% of the time (roughly once every 4-6 weeks), mostly to maintain social contacts. And that's the key if your larger project time is 25 or so people. After a certain size, and with the general workplace turnover, people in other groups with whom you interact are just cogs.

  • My goal ist zu slowly move into Tim Ferriss/4HWW territory. I usually like my colleagues, don't stay long with people I don't like that much. But I'd very much prefer a surfing beach right near my working spot. Or some nice powder snow to get into some snowboarding.

    My goal is to go digital nomad in the foreseeable future without missing a beat income wise. Could work out.

  • Been working from home for years. I get so much more work done than being around people. I could care less for human interaction, that's what the neighborhood bar is for.
  • As in going full-on gluttony working in my underpants which would be fun at first but eventually becoming one of those fat slob/shut-ins. What I like about work socialization is that it's totally casual and a secondary objective to getting a paycheck. If socialization is the primary objective then I feel the pressure to be interesting enough or they'll be moving on, not just dates but friendships too and I'm not great at smalltalk. I've hardly ever befriended a total stranger, it's like we've been classmate

  • My wife and I both work from home (for different companies). No more sitting in traffic or getting stuck on a subway (all wasted time). I never cared much for hanging out with co-workers (one reason I decided to work on networking and servers is I rarely have to deal with people). Another upside is a reduced risk of getting sick. If you aren't jammed on a bus or subway train with 100's of other people (some of whom are sick), you stand a much better chance of avoiding catching whatever they're spreading (al

  • The dirty secret of capitalism is that it is not meant to work as a stand-alone; it requires some kind of social order. Since the 1960s we have abolished that social order and in its place added regulations and doubled the number of people in the workforce. The result is that most jobs are bullshit and can be done in four hours a week most weeks, but we have to be there looking busy for 40-60.

    As a result, people are taking their work home so that they can really jam on actual problems and ignore all the bul

  • by asackett ( 161377 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @06:31PM (#56058809) Homepage

    I've been at it since 1996 and I've met only two of my clients -- and only one of them intentionally. My code works, their credit cards work, that's enough.

    AFAIC, commuting unnecessarily is an irresponsible act.

  • If people prefer to work away from the office, the office needs to improve.

    The news here is not that home working is wildly superior.

    The news is that modern offices are terrible. Noisy, crowded, lacking in privacy, environmentally inadequate, poorly located for employees to travel to.

    Meanwhile, some people can't handle working at home and develop severe mental problems from the lack of social interaction so it's hardly a panacea.

  • The guy next to me is a paleo / vegan / crossfit enthusiast. The guy over from me is an evangelical christian who's trying to save me and the guy behind me has a distinct love of curry / chili / who fucking knows...

    I'M totally ready to work from home Mon-Fri. I'm even willing to sneak in on Sat. to rack servers.
    • I totally get what you are saying. I work from home right now and have found modern open plan or even cubicle-based office spaces to be very distracting from concentrating on programming. People who do focused intellectual work need an office with a door that closes (one thing Microsoft got right in the early days). Ironically, managers who are always talking to others and are out and about tend to be the ones who get offices these days. And especially the offices with windows (putting workers in office spa

  • It's really not a panacea. I work from California but 95% of my coworkers are abroad, in India and Australia. 0% are in my local office.

    Tools like IM, audio/video conference, email slack are no replacement for being in the same room with another person, and never will be. All those communications have to be scheduled. Communications are slowed down way too much. Things get misunderstood. There is nothing like dropping into somebody's office to discuss an issue and getting it resolved immediately.

  • by MpVpRb ( 1423381 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @07:10PM (#56059013)

    After I left my last full time job, I worked for 10 years at home

    I loved having control of my schedule
    I loved being able to work when I felt inspired, even if it was at odd hours
    I loved being able to take a few hours to do other stuff that needed to be done
    I loved avoiding traffic and parking
    I loved avoiding silly meetings, especially the crap required by HR

    Most of all.. I loved the absence of distraction. When I closed the door of my home office, I could focus
    I got a lot of stuff done, and was paid well

    But, I kinda missed the human interaction
    I'm an introvert with no social skills, but I still missed being a part of the society of engineering

  • It can be nice at times. You don't have to deal with anyone on a bad day, nor do they.

    The fact that this cuts down on your exposure to illness is a nice bonus too! I've been generally healthier (as in not getting the flu/colds, etc) since starting as a telecommuter.

    Not dealing with some crappy, underpowered machine is a nice bonus.

    And the amount of money I save on gasoline is PHENOMENAL. I literally put less than 3000 miles a year on my vehicle (and my insurance company has a discount for low-mileage own

  • An extreme either way seems unnecessary

  • I started working from home a few months ago because I moved. I must say, I prefer being in the office. I like the interaction and I like the physical separation of "working" and "not working". At my request my manager installed a big monitor and a camera in my team's work space, so I still get some office interaction. We just keep a constant video connection up during working hours. Others on my team also work remotely but prefer to limit contact to email and Slack. Whatever works for you and whoever yo
  • This is my work life in a nutshell. I've never met my boss or any of my co-workers -- they are several thousand kilometres away. My employer has offices all around the world, but not in my city, so I have no office to go to even if I wanted to. Even my interview was over the phone (although I should note I was already an employee of the company at the time, and the position was tailor-made for me).

    The work gets done, and so my employer is happy. I have time to take care of things at home as needed, such

  • by Teunis ( 678244 ) <teunis@nOsPAm.wintersgift.com> on Saturday February 03, 2018 @03:10AM (#56060839) Homepage Journal
    I'm there now.
    And as a bonus, my daughter is growing up with me quite near and accessible, and is surprisingly good company when working. (she's 3 now, and I've been home for 2 of those years)

    Every now and again I miss the social - but I could just start getting out to social gatherings again to handle that.

    And yeah, my coworkers are everywhere on the planet. It's pretty awesome sharing weather stories, for instance. The only real downside though is sometimes I'll forget to stop working and work into timezones on the other side of the planet.
    I probably put in more hours now than when I commuted, and have a higher quality of work output.
    but my home life is happier, my social life's pretty ok and I'm all in all a lot happier.

    So yeah, I'm there. No regrets.
  • Finally, no way to claim that your career problems are due to racism, sexism and homophobia. Everyone is the same online and nobody is grabbing anyone else's body parts. Rise up on your merit and if you don't, you only have yourself to blame.

  • I've been working from home for about 15 years, and in concert with US colleagues while living in Europe. As a result I was working night shifts constantly -- meaning I spent much of my time alone and in darkness.

    Since that time I've grown increasingly isolated. Some time ago I had a nervous breakdown.

    I'm not sure that working from home constantly is very good for your health...

    • Right now, I live on the US East Coast but work remotely with a group on the US West coast. I am trying to keep "California" time to be available to the rest of the group -- which is shifted by three hours. So I tend to start work around noon or a bit earlier and work to around 8 pm (20:00) or so (often a bit later).

      I also usually do my best focused work in the morning, sometimes starting as early as 6 or 7 am -- so that is one downside as far as work productivity (but an upside to other things I do).

      So, on

  • I've worked from home now for 5 years and never want to go back to an office daily. The work I do, though, has been setup such that working from wherever actually "works". We have a central system to plan the work, open communication channels on Slack, Skype for Business, or even phone calls (haven't gotten one in about 4 years, though). There are a few things I've learned:
    1. You have to be okay with people just dropping in on you via Slack or something similar. The only time you can't allow it is whe
  • "What if You Never Saw Your Colleagues in Person Again?"

    I'd be okay with that.

    I like going into the office once in a while, but I'd be fine working 100% from home. Right now it's about 50~60%, but not having to make the drive a those few days a week when I do go in would be great.

Nothing makes a person more productive than the last minute.

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