I'm a developer. I spend my time sitting at a computer, working on our IT infrastructure. Contrary to stereotype, I have just a cheapo computer and no fancy gizmos. I take pride in the Apache hat I wear to write this column. But sometimes we need to take a step back, and look at the why of it. As we enter a new year, let's share …
destroy my soul
Telecommuting looks very good in theory but in practice, working from home every day gets pretty soul destroying as does explaining to the Mrs that you can't do something because your not really at home you at work.
I would say that a 50/50 ballence between the office and telecommuting is about right and that's still ~50% reduction in traffic in the road etc...
saves my soul
Contrary to the other commenter, I work from home nearly 100% of the time and I think it works fine. I travel to the official office perhaps once every couple of months. The spouse and kiddos are appreciative, and the employer also sees the benefits. Perhaps it's not for everyone, but that's no surprise. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions to anything. But just because it doesn't fit you doesn't mean it can't fit me and others.
Communication is the Solution and the Problem
My Dad worked from home as a Vicar. This taught me a number of disciplines when I was working for myself as a software developer. A separate office, the right equipment and a distinction between "at Work" and "at Home" are needed.
But my Dad had to visit folks in hospital and home, attend committees etc. When working from home as a developer, I need to visit clients and attend meetings as well. Despite having used state of the art video conferencing (multi-camera etc) I believe the methods of communication available over a wire are just not good enough to replace human to human communication.
Requirements gathering, needs analysis, systems analysis, interface design and project management all require a high degree of understanding. The better the communication, the better the solution.
From a personal point of view, I feel I benefit from the cross fertilization which occurs when a team relaxes at the end of a week. Discussion of an issue over a drink can sometimes provide very good solutions.
Feedback on Nick's blog
Nick talks about the feedback he got on this article at:
In addition to the comments here, I've had some interesting feedback in email. I've posted a reply to them on my blog, at http://bahumbug.wordpress.com/2007/01/16/feedback-on-alice/
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