Working from home - Random

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Sridhar Ratnakumar

How many of you work from home here? I hope that becomes the future.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/alexkantrowitz/twitter-will-allow-employees-to-work-at-home-forever

Two months into working from home, Twitter makes it permanent for some.
Joel McCracken

I am currently. My last job was full time remote, but I just took a job that will require me to go in sometimes... I hope it doesn't have to happen very often though. Love working from home.

TheMatten

I am (and was) working remote - but I must say, I sort of miss human interaction from my previous work that comes from sharing physical workspace, even if I find "home office" convenient many times.

Sridhar Ratnakumar

I'm the opposite. I connect better in virtual environments than in person.

Ben Kolera

I dunno. I just said the other day that I miss being able to take folk out for coffee or lunch. You can have an-hoc bonding on a team text or vid chat, but there's no social protocol for, "hey lets just have a meeting to just talk and get to know each other for no solid reason". I think that we need to fix that etiquette somehow.

And in other companies that I've worked for in the past, the lunch / coffee room has been the most important meeting room in the office. The little chance encounters are great, and I think that a lot of people are much more reserved at making small talk in text chat than in person. I'm not. I communicate too much everywhere, lol.

Ben Kolera

Like I really like working remotely but I do miss the more personal connections sometimes as they aren't quite as rich as going out for delicious food or coffee with someone or random talking shit in the lunchroom. And I really miss my bike ride to work giving me a base line exercise, lol.

Hazem

You can have an-hoc bonding on a team text or vid chat, but there's no social protocol for, "hey lets just have a meeting to just talk and get to know each other for no solid reason". I think that we need to fix that etiquette somehow.

:100: this!

And if you label it as "Quick Smalltalk" or something like that, it might be awkward because stuff like this isn't standard. Also, it might make people feel guilty for engaging in, because it is not exactly "work". Such is the power of labelling things I guess...

Ben Kolera

When working remotely, I'm much more averse to socialising than in an office, too. Like I only count the time that I'm actually working as my working hours and end up working longer because for some reason the same socialising that was actually important in an office seems like slacking off at home. I don't know why. I think when you're at work it's just easier to think everything that you do there is work, but at home it's more blurry.

Ben Kolera

It's really weird how that has been working out since moving remote. I've put way more pressure on myself than I ever did at an office and it feels a little unhealthy.

Ben Kolera

And it seems like a lot of people are this way. They are introverted and tend to default to hyper productive jira processing work robots when given the chance. But a little bit of socialising and bonding is a good thing and gets missed a bit remote.

Sridhar Ratnakumar

Like I only count the time that I'm actually working as my working hours and end up working longer because for some reason the same socialising that was actually important in an office seems like slacking off at home. I don't know why.

I wonder if others who miss-socializing-when-remote feel this way too. If so, could this be the crux of the issue? I remember doing pairing with a fellow programmer (you probably know him :P), and we would chit chat quite often, a bunch of that haskell related too if not directly project related. If there was an authoritarian guardian monitoring the backs of us, we might be chastised. But in the long run, stuff like that helps build trust, friendship, interest - so it indirectly contributes to the project.

Remote is a new paradigm. For someone like me (I've always been more adept in text medium since college days) it has always been second nature; but hopefully people will adapt to it, and find middle grounds.

Matt Peddie

For me, it's not just missing out on socialization / trust-building. it's also missing out on a lot of the random chitchat and comments from other teams, which I've learned adds up to valuable context that helped me make better decisions on my own when I wasn't remote. even if your team has immaculate ticketing hygiene (we do not) etc., this is still true. it's been interesting watching my coworkers hit this roadblock over the past couple of months as all the information they used to implicitly synchronize has gradually gone stale.

Matt Peddie

I also find it's often much easier to learn new concepts from my coworkers or bounce ideas off them in person than via text chat -- many times these conversations are informal ones that just come up; we wouldn't have planned a video call to have them and may not realize how much it would have helped until it's too late. in person, we would walk 5m to a whiteboard and have a better conversation in half the time

Matt Peddie

(maybe this stuff is obvious, but it's definitely not the same as a lack of general interpersonal interaction or a lack of trust with colleagues)

Ben Kolera

Yeah. I think folk are normally OK within their own teams, but it's the cross team stuff that really suffers. And that tends to make or break projects.

Ben Kolera

Because if you don't have cross team non-lead relationships, the team lead then becomes a horrible bottleneck and it tends to go very poorly.

Ben Kolera

And I feel like I have to work a lot harder to establish those relationships over text and video chat because there's a lot less random mingling going on.

Ben Kolera

What work seems to do is just have jitsi rooms per team for chatter. It works okay because the teams are pretty self contained. But I'm in one of the work teams that is very much not self contained and is a cog in a very large engine and it goes much more poorly. :slight_smile:

Ben Kolera

Other teams in a different company. And some of those teams actively don't like our team, lol.

Ben Kolera

Remote politics are interestingly point to point. haha.

Sridhar Ratnakumar

Some companies do remote very well, and some suck at it.

Sridhar Ratnakumar

Remote doesn't work well if your default culture is not remote.

Ben Kolera

But TL;DR: the team based stuff is pretty boring (i.e the pairing solved bits) and easy to get right. It's the bigger synchronisation issues that I most worry about.

Matt Peddie

Sridhar Ratnakumar said:

Remote doesn't work well if your default culture is not remote.

That's a great point, @Sridhar Ratnakumar, and in my case, it's exactly the root of the issues I described above.

Sridhar Ratnakumar

My feeling in those companies was that remote folks feel disconnected from the 'hub' of activity.

Sridhar Ratnakumar

But if the company culture is remote, then we all feel connected at the same level.

Sridhar Ratnakumar

For managers and executives, I think it is more of a (established) mindset that dictates what they'd like their company culture to be. And this covid lockdown shook up this mindset a bit around the world. Hopefully things in future will be somewhat, if not totally, favourable towards remote cultures.

Matt Peddie

I'm currently at a company focused on a hardware product to an extent that it will fundamentally never be entirely or even mostly remote. large parts of the project are just getting no work done during the lockdown.

Matt Peddie

so I guess it's just a cost I have to pay :)

Ben Kolera

Yeah, we'll see. As much as I'd love for remote to become the default culture so I never have to live in a place like SF or NYC, we still have a lot to learn how to do it well. Hopefully this whole covid thing indeed does level up the world as you too hope. :slight_smile:

Ben Kolera

My work has a lot of remote workers (at least 40%) and even they haven't managed to get remote first working. Love their NYC office a little too much to give it up.

Ben Kolera

But teams are pretty self contained so it doesn't really matter too much, thankfully.

Ben Kolera

Just amusing that you miss all the company news that's delivered in a standup that is at 0000 your time and excludes 2 out of 40 people because timezones. :P

Sridhar Ratnakumar

I have been wanting to move to a little town called Ballina :slight_smile:

Ben Kolera

Haha my mate is from there. It's a nice enough place. He visits home regularly to visit family and to restock his marijuana supply. (That may tell you a lot about Ballina. Hippie costal town). Haha.

Ben Kolera

(it's about a 2 hour drive from my place [Brisbane])

Sridhar Ratnakumar

Been to Brisbane. That's a hippie place indeed. I like Ballina, it has a quiet vibe, and know some interesting folks there.

Sridhar Ratnakumar

What do they call it? Flat white, yes! One of my favourites.

Ben Kolera

Haha yeah that's definitely a thing.

Ben Kolera

We have a happy hour socialisation friday night chat today. It's real good. Modulo drinking coffee because it's 0800 here. :slight_smile:

Sridhar Ratnakumar

The folks at Ballina I know drink 5-6 cups a day, even after dinner. And they smoke a lot (they carry a pouch filled with tobacco powder for rolling)

Sridhar Ratnakumar

https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-to-shift-permanently-toward-more-remote-work-after-coronavirus-11590081300

The social-media giant plans to become a substantially remote workforce over the next decade, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, as it moves to embrace the dispersed structure made necessary by the pandemic.
Sridhar Ratnakumar

Shopify https://twitter.com/tobi/status/1263483496087064579

Ben Kolera

Haha, I saw this float by in my feed @Sridhar Ratnakumar . Hippie Aussie coastal towns can be wonderful places. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-25/australian-fake-russian-choir-dustyesky-goes-viral-mullumbimby/ (that's a short drive north of Ballina).

Sridhar Ratnakumar

The age bias is real. I am glad remote work is being embraced by many companies, it will help fight against age bias.

https://hackerweb.app/#/item/23320974

Ben Kolera

Wat? That worked before. The seem to have tweaked the link: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-25/australian-fake-russian-choir-dustyesky-goes-viral-mullumbimby/12270670

When 28 bearded blokes from Mullumbimby with a love of vodka and Russian folk songs came together, something strangely wonderful happened. It was just bizarre enough to make them go viral during the pandemic.
Sridhar Ratnakumar

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-53303364

The programme will offer "unprecedented flexibility" to 80,000 workers in Japan, says Fujitsu.
Sridhar Ratnakumar

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/07/atlassian-tells-employees-they-can-work-from-home-indefinitely.html

Atlassian is going further than Facebook and Google in giving its employees flexibility. The shift away from offices could also help with hiring.
Sridhar Ratnakumar

Finally a negative experience:

Netflix’s Reed Hastings Deems Remote Work ‘a Pure Negative’

https://archive.is/6iK6Z#selection-2035.5-2035.64

Sridhar Ratnakumar

In a different article, it said “while there are advantages to the temporary system, a physical presence at the office is irreplaceable, Cook said.”

so not really