Although many companies across the nation are trying to figure out how to safely reopen their offices, it’s clear at this juncture that a great many technologists will be working from home (or some other form of remote work) for the next several months, if not the rest of the year. As part of Dice’s ongoing Sentiment Survey, we’ve been exploring technologists’ opinions about work-from-home—including what they view as the primary professional and personal benefits.
What are the main professional benefits you receive from working remotely vs. working in an office?
Let’s admit it: It’s sometimes hard to focus and get real work done in a traditional office environment. Distractions abound; co-workers drop in for a chat; and if you work at one of those companies with free food, it’s all too tempting to head down to the kitchen (or luxurious cafeteria) for yet another energy bar or cup of coffee.
Based on our survey results, though, it’s clear that remote work is boosting technologists’ productivity. In addition, they have time for more in-depth and creative thinking, emailing and chatting, and finally tackling that huge backlog of projects. With each successive survey, it seems that higher and higher percentages of technologists discover these benefits. In addition, a rising number feel that it’s simply easier to work from home—after all, your commute is only a few feet from bedroom to office space, and there’s no line for the coffee machine.
What are the main personal benefits you receive from working remotely vs. working in an office?
Virtually all surveyed technologists felt that working from home afforded them some personal benefits. For many, saving money on the commute is key. For others, the opportunity to wear sweatpants and set up their office just the way they like it are big attractors. In fact, more than half of the respondents indicate that they’ve saved money and/or time during their work-from-home stint—which can add up to make life easier despite the stressors of the pandemic.
What is the main overall benefit you receive from working remotely vs. working in an office?
Throughout this survey, technologists have found working from home to be massively beneficial when it comes to scheduling and productivity. Another fascinating (and perhaps counterintuitive) thing to point out: Very few find remote work to be more environmentally friendly, despite the lack of a potentially polluting commute.
What are the professional and personal cons about working remotely?
As remote work extends for months, fewer technologists are finding it quite as distracting; they’re also managing to achieve a good work-life balance, although a number report that their working relationships are suffering a bit due to enforced distancing.
Although relatively few technologists report that they don’t have the right equipment (which suggests companies are effective when it comes to supplying their remote employees with the right mix of hardware and software), a rising percentage are reporting technical issues in working from home. For sysadmins and other technologists tasked with maintaining employees' equipment and connections to office databases, this is an important takeaway. Active communication with employees and teams, asking them on a regular basis if everything's all right and if they need anything, is key to ensuring that everyone has a smooth workflow; not every employee will voice their concerns unprompted, even if they're having trouble logging into the VPN or can't figure out why their laptop keeps shutting down unexpectedly.
A small percentage also finds working from home more mentally draining than the office, hinting that technologists have adapted well to this way of working.
What is the highest salary cut you would take to work remotely?
As with previous surveys, very few technologists are willing to take a pay cut in order to work remotely, with only 23 percent willing to sacrifice any portion of their paycheck to do so.
If the past few months have shown anything, it’s that many technologists are equally capable of doing their jobs at home or in the office. That’s led companies such as Facebook to explore the possibility of allowing more employees to work entirely remotely. However, those firms may have a hard time convincing their workers to take any kind of reduction in salary in exchange for never having to enter an office.
How desirable is working in the following settings?
Most technologists still don’t find the prospect of working in the office full-time all that desirable:
However, many of them continue to be very open to the idea of part-time or flexible remote work, which would offer the best of both worlds.
Many technologists are still open to the idea of full-time remote work. In fact, it seems that months of working remotely hasn’t cooled interest in the idea; having tested it out for a sustained period, workers clearly like it.
Overall, it seems that part-time and flexible work has the edge, based on the following visualization, which aggregates the top-two responses (i.e., a 4 or 5, or very/extremely positive) for each category. If this sort of work mode interests you, you can potentially negotiate for it with your employer once the current round of lockdowns is complete. While your boss might not be able to give you a bigger salary when it comes time to talk about performance and benefits, they may prove very amenable to helping set up a remote-work schedule that really works for you.
Do you think that a significant number of employees working remotely is a detriment to company culture?
Ever since the lockdowns began, companies expressed some reservations about the true effectiveness of remote teams. Some office cultures, for example, prize in-person standups and “face time.” Months into the pandemic, though, it’s clear that employees don’t see remote teams as much of a detriment to an overall culture. This is a testament to product managers and team leaders everywhere who had to radically adjust how their teams worked.
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