Remote versus Co-located Work

One of the most profound consequences of the information age is the ability to do so many things while ignoring location. I no longer need to visit most shops, libraries, or travel agents. (I'm looking forward to the day I don't have to visit a dentist.) Most of the world has seen this, but it's particularly obvious to software developers, who are generally at the front of the digital transformation.

Yet when it comes to developing software, many developers do not take advantage of the communication possibilities of connected computers. Yahoo got a lot of press when it recently brought all its off-site workers back to a single site. Leading tech companies like Netflix and Google strongly prefer having their staff in a single site.

Such moves lead others in our profession to point and laugh. Some of the loudest are startups such as Etsy, Basecamp, and Github, many of whose employees have never worked in an office together. For such teams, remote work is the future, those who push against it are on the losing side of history.

While I've been involved in discussions about remote working many times in my years in the industry, I don't feel there is much of a conclusive set of factors I can talk about. The evidence of effects of remote working on software development resist being gathered together in any meaningful way.

That said, I do talk to a lot of teams, and those conversations have led me to some tentative opinions that I'll share here. Click here to read the full article on the authors website.

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