In Office or Work From Home – What is Better for Software Developers?
Due to this unprecedented global pandemic, the remote working or WFH (work from home) culture has actually become a new normal, especially in the IT world. In fact, tech giants like Twitter and Facebook have already come up with announcements regarding permanent work-from-home plans and remote working for half of the total workforce at the company for the next 5-10 years respectively. Although it has been observed that Software Developers all across the world have some mixed or confused views when asked about a better option out of the two: In-Office or WFH?
And honestly, as working from the office and working from home, both have their own significant advantages and disadvantages – to find out which one is better or more beneficial is a bit challenging task.
For instance, some developers feel more comfortable in-office work environment whereas some developers prefer working remotely – the preferences vary from person to person. The developers who’re in the support of WFH culture come up with justifications like remote working provides them with the utmost flexibility, on the other hand, those who prefer working from the office believe that the work environment and social exposure at the office is something unparalleled.
With similar concern, now we’re going to analyze both the scenarios – In-Office and WFH, based on different crucial parameters so that you eventually can make an informed decision about what is better for you as a developer. Let’s get started:
While working in a software development team, you’re often required to communicate and collaborate with others including your teammates and employees working in other teams like designing, testing, etc. Meanwhile this communication/collaboration should be quick and fluent for efficient workflow. And among both the scenarios i.e., remote working and in-office working, it has been observed that the real-time communication when the concerned person(s) is sitting right next to you is quite more effective, make the collaboration more smooth, and better strengthens relationships among employees, compared to the online ways including emails or video calls. Although there have come various advanced tools and technologies that make online communication very much hassle-free but still real face-to-face real-time communication at the office is having an upper hand!
Moving further, here comes the flexibility aspect. In this parameter, remote working generally has an upper hand. For instance, when you work from home as a developer, usually you are not required to be present at your desk by 9 am and can join a little later or early at your convenience. In short, you’re not strongly bound to strictly follow the set schedule or tied to your work desk during the work from home until and unless your company wants the same from its employees. Other than that, you can work from anywhere wearing your pajamas – all you need to have is a strong internet connection. With such flexibility, you can also manage to allocate adequate time to your side projects or freelancing endeavors.
3. Efficiency & Productivity
Though it depends on one’s personal scenario and circumstances – considering the general outlook and various standard survey reports’ data, it has been observed that an individual developer’s productivity and efficiency comparatively increases while working remotely or working from home. One of the reasons could be as you save a lot of additional time such as commuting time, time spent on chatting with fellow employees, etc. during the work from home that subsequently provides you with more time and energy at work. Also, there are various ways to significantly enhance productivity and efficiency while working from home such as via creating a comfortable and distraction-free workspace, use of proper virtual communication methods, staying planned and organized, taking a few much-needed breaks, and many more.
Another important parameter to make a comparison between working from the office and working from home as a software professional is Solidarity. When you work from the office, you easily connect with fellow developers or other employees and subsequently grow your professional network whereas it is not that feasible to do the same when you’re working from home. There is no doubt that working from home often makes you less social and sometimes it leads to situations like burnout, etc. Although you can connect with them virtually over calls and messages – the impact & result won’t be the same as of real face-to-face conversations. Meanwhile, you can somehow tackle this situation while working remotely by following several worthwhile strategies like having regular conversations with your team members, planning fun activities, etc.
5. Work Environment and Work-Life Balance
Going down the list, here comes the work environment and work-life balance. Let’s first talk about the work environment – you need to know that while working at the office, you usually are required to adjust yourself as per the specified work environment of the company whereas working from home allows you to set up the environment or workstation as per your preferences and convenience. However, the important thing to note here is that the work environment while working from home can sometimes become more distracting such as the sound of loud music from your neighborhood or if you’re having a pet or small kids in your home, etc.
Moreover, talking about the work-life balance, it depends on one’s own preferences. Many developers out there have stated that they prefer WFH for a better work-life balance as they get adequate time to spend with family, friends, exercising, etc. On the other hand, many developers find in-office working preferably for a better work-life balance as they experience challenges like overworking, struggling to disconnect or signing off at work, absence of a proper & consistent routine, etc. during WFH.
6. Personal Expenses
Last but not least, Personal Expenses. Undoubtedly, personal expenses or financial costs can also be a significant parameter for the developers (and other working professionals as well) to make a comparison between working from the office and working from home. When you work from the office, you usually have various additional expenditures including costs of commuting, formal clothes, etc. that you actually do not need to pay for while working from home. Also, if your home is not nearby your office and you’re renting space to stay near your office then you can save this expense as well while working from home. Meanwhile, working from home has also several expenses of its own such as internet costs, workstation setup, etc. – still, working from home is more preferable than working from the office for this particular parameter.
So, these are some of the prominent parameters that can help you to make an informed choice between In-Office or Remote Working as a software developer. Again, it considerably depends on your personal preference as well like if you prefer meeting with people and building relationships then probably working from the office would be the right choice for you otherwise, if your priority is time flexibility then you can go for remote working, and so on…!!