Chief, I want to work from home

A few years ago, with one such phrase, one of the leading programmers came to me. Let's call him Ivan (all characters are fictional, and any coincidences are random). He was going to move to live outside the city and every day to go to the office he felt uncomfortable. Ivan had a decent track record, several years of work in the company and a large car of trust. Then we agreed that Ivan would work remotely Monday and Friday, and from Tuesday to Thursday he would arrive at the office with a morning schedule.

A small remark about the author
The author works in a large software development company in Nizhny Novgorod with the usual IT flexible schedule. Permanent remote employees are more likely from the realm of virtual reality.

I understood that this decision would not affect Ivan’s productivity and results, everyone knew how cool he was. On the one hand, the employee got the opportunity to work from home 2 days a week and the schedule was much shifted towards the rest of the morning. On the other hand, we agreed on a bonus that keeps the leading specialist in our department from going anywhere. Win-win, anyway!

After some time, when we were looking for a cool programmer in Ivan's team, the opportunity to work remotely for two days played a decisive role for a new person, Vasily, in accepting a job offer.

Then I wondered why the rest of the development team cannot also work remotely. How do they differ from Ivan and Vasily?

But it’s always easier for company management to keep people in the office and in control. Most fears of remote work are caused by distrust of subordinates:

  • What if they stop working?
  • What if I suddenly need something from an employee and I can’t find him on the spot?

You might think that if the employee is in the office, he will not find the opportunity to kick the bulldozer and watch the cats. Most arguments against remote work are based on the fear of losing control, let's talk about it directly. I had no confidence issues with the people I hired.

Yes, of course, there were people who broke the rules and lost confidence. We parted with such people by mutual agreement. But this is a completely different story.

Let's see what bonuses employees receive from remote work:

  • The opportunity not to spend precious time on the way to work. Of course, we do not have Moscow, but the traffic jams are big. You can also talk a lot about the stress that public transport brings. All this affects the productivity and health of employees.
  • Ability to work in comfortable conditions. You must admit that few people will answer “in the office” to the question “where do you work well”. Or he will clarify about the early morning when there is no one. Not everyone understands that the work of a programmer is a creative work that requires concentration and attention.

Thus, I had no internal contradictions against remote work. First, I talked with the leaders of the development and testing groups and received an enthusiastic appraise from them on the proposal of remote work. The hardest part was to convince the management.

My reasons for this were:

  1. Ivan and Vasily work from home, why can't the rest? We are a team doing a common cause!
  2. Let's judge by the result of the work, and not by the place where the result was achieved.
  3. Additional non-material motivation, which for many employees may be decisive in the decision to leave or stay.

We must pay tribute to my boss, he supported me in many matters, so for the first time we agreed with him on one remote day for all employees of the unit. Victory? - Yes, small, but a victory!

I decided to move in small steps: a remote day for some employees -> a remote day for all employees -> 2 remote days for all employees -> ???
The main idea: to prove that remote work does not harm the business, but only helps it.

In total, the current result, the ability to work remotely Monday and Friday for all employees of the unit.

  • Employees get the opportunity on Thursday evening to leave somewhere outside the city and return to the city only on Monday evening. Note no traffic jams!
  • Employees can choose their work schedule.
  • Labor productivity has not subsided.
  • Motivation and overall emotional background have improved.
  • 3 days are left to communicate with colleagues face to face and to hold meetings. This is enough not to lose oneself for society.

And how do you work in large companies? Do you have remote days and the opportunity to work from home?

Freelancers working completely remotely, I also urge you to leave comments.

Finally, I will bring to all doubters an excellent book about the advantages of remote work “Remote: an office is not necessary” Jason Fraid, David Hensson.

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