If You Don’t Trust Your Employees to Work Remotely Why Did You Hire Them?

Good article in Quartz about working remotely and the productivity benefits you can have. I’ll admit, that you do have to be focused and strict about your time at home though.

Building software for startups is a huge challenge. Not because writing the software itself is that hard, but most startups have managed to create the least optimal places to do work. In my 10+ years of experience as a software engineer at startups, I cannot trust employers to provide me with an adequate work environment, and this holds me back from doing the best possible work for them.

I’ve only built software once in house for a company, and this was exactly the experience I had. I had to build in all these elaborate blocks so that I could get any focus time. The kicker was that the boss and anyone that had been there for a few years insisted they needed a private office with a door so they could focus and they got it. I was to junior and “creative” so I couldn’t get that space.

I am a night owl. You can tell me I have to have my butt in a chair within your line of sight at 8 or 9am, but that is very wasteful. You are wasting my time and yours. I am not a morning person. I will start being very effective around 11am and I really get going in the afternoon/evening. If you forceyourpreferred hours onto me, both employer and employee lose.

I’m opposite to the author, starting work at 5:30am most days. Back to that job, while anyone older could come in and leave earlier, I was not allowed to do that. I had to be in the office during the times my boss was there. Even when I sleep till 7am and start by 9am, I’m pretty much done by 3pm so that’s time wasted.

If I’m at home then, I do stuff like tidy my office or take a walk and take photos. Stuff that contributes to my work creatively or organizationally, but doesn’t require much mental focus like programming does.

Over the years since that first in-house job, I’ve been hunted for other programming jobs but each one of them required me to commute to Vancouver which is a non-starter. I’m not saying I wouldn’t ever take a job, but I’d rather take a construction job locally than drive in and out of the city eating 2+ hours a day of my time just so someone can see my butt in a chair.