Pros and cons for working as a developer from home
The list below presents some of the main aspects you need to consider when you are making a decision.
Working from home sounds like a dream to many worn-out busy professionals. The reasons you are considering the option is likely common. Such as the feeling, you are wasting time commuting every day in pique hour just to get to the office on time. Or you may feel exhausted from working in an environment of constant interruptions and being surrounded by too many people and noise.
When it comes to developers, in particular, a significant amount of the work is done independently. This may include research, development and the debugging process. Since I work for a java software development company, that does allow home office, I would like to share my experience with you.
And of course, the main benefit you stand to gain from coding from home is that you can widen your scope for a job hunt, scoring a position that is outside of your immediate location. This can allow you to choose to be on a project you find more interesting and you genuinely want to engage in. And in the case, you already work for a project and a company you enjoy, you can often negotiate to work remotely if you believe it will have a positive influence on your performance. Chances are you will be granted permission at least for a few days a month.
However, to make the most of the option there is a lot to consider. As cliche, as it is, making a pro and con list for each of the main focus points when considering working from home, is a great help. And this is exactly what we are doing. Feel free to create one for yourself filling in the blanks and adding your personal pros and cons to the ones I have listed below.
Different software development projects come with different time management needs. And so you need to analyze your responsibilities to set to meet all of your deadlines. Are the benefits outweighing the potential risk for detrimental productivity?
- You save time from the commute to the office every day
- You can manage your breaks and lunch options to accommodate what you have to get done through the day
- After you have completed your work, more time with loved ones and other time-consuming activities, that helps balance the stress from work and keep you in good mental health.
- The perception of having a lot of time can be procrastination inducing.
- The household responsibilities may take away from the time dedicated to serious work.
When you are working from home, chances are, the measure for your productivity is whether or not you carry out all of your work in the time frame you are given. So being honest with yourself if you have good enough task prioritization and working process.
- You can manage tasks in the order and time frame you choose (while meeting the required deadline of course)
- Minimizing being interrupted to help colleagues
- Dedicating as much time as you need to any task you have to carry out.
- Being able to combine work with personal duties
- Working in an environment that is not demanding – it is easy to fall back on distractions
- Caving to distractions
- Putting off work until the late hours of the day
Teamwork vs. Individual Work
Teamwork has been widely accepted as a necessity for productive and successful work. And so you are likely expected to collaborate with other developers when working on a software development project. They may be involved in the research and development process, or they may be QA specialists who help you remove any bugs, for a more well-rounded end product.
- Increased attention span when working on tasks that are only carried out by you.
- Performing research on new algorithms and then developing solutions without distractions.
- Less opportunity for conflict due to disagreement.
- Flexibility in the development process.
- Increased difficulty reaching your colleagues when you need them.
- Communicating mainly through digital means, which are prone to technical difficulties – having to delay meetings etc.
- Keeping up and being attentive to a schedule to fit in all of your more social demands, such as meetings, scrums and so on.
- If the job you took is far from the office you may need to travel long distances to get there when you are needed in person.
- Missing out on building a stronger colleague relationship.
When it comes to working from the office, the facility foregoes multiple regulations, that ensure good working conditions. From the average temperature in the office to have your deskspace and needed hardware. Then you have meeting rooms, a strong internet connection, having the IT nearby to assist with any issues. And so on… But what are the working conditions in your own home?
In addition, confidentiality is one of the most important things when it comes to software development. So you will be required to fulfill certain security requirements to access confidential data needed for your work. Some companies require a VPN in addition to the second method of authentication. The requirements, of course, vary depending on your company’s requirements.
- Comfort – you can set up your work station as you need it.
- You do not need to take too much time to keep up appearances as you work on your own.
- There are options to hold up security standards remotely.
- You can have healthy homemade food options without taking time away from work.
- You will need to create an office area with a desk, comfortable chair, good lighting, etc.
- You may need to adjust your home to certain criteria to be allowed to work from there.
- If you live with other people the environment is prone to distractions and interruptions.
- Running into technical difficulties due to malfunction on the security applications can completely block your work for the day, and you often cannot resolve it without IT.
- You may end up spending a good amount of your day speaking with tech support or even traveling to the office to have it fixed.
- If it happens during the time-sensitive period it can throw off your deadlines.
Any Other Factors in Your Life
This is the section where you add all of the other factors in your life that you need to consider in order to make an informed decision. This section is focused on your lifestyle outside of the work responsibilities. The factors that impact your decisions but are not directly linked to the work process the same way the previous sections are. The ones listed below are just some examples of personal reasons that need to be taken into account. Replace them with your own circumstances.
Can you maintain your personal responsibilities without risking your job and vice versa?
- You have more freedom to pursue other time-consuming activities.
- You can attend lectures, classes and put more time in exercise and health-oriented lifestyle.
- Being able to overlook your kids when they are at home.
- Being nearby when your kid is sick and needs medical attention.
- Getting to your Yoga Class on time.
- You may miss out on making closer relationships with your colleagues.
- The risk you may not be considered for higher positions – out of sight out of mind.
- The neighbor’s dogs bark constantly, the kids are drawing on the walls and eat junk food, unless you cook for them.
Should You Work From Home?
Deciding to widen your scope to search for remote work as well as locally, comes with the responsibility to make a commitment to perform well, despite the different conditions.
It is a challenge for a few main reasons:
- It requires you to know yourself well enough to evaluate whether or not working remotely is a sustainable and productive option for you.
- It requires lifestyle changes to accommodate the new requirements. You need to transform your home into an office during your working hours.
- You need to be able to differentiate work from the time for comfort and relaxation while occupying the same area. Finding a balance that does not make you procrastinate, or on the other hand, get you in a habit of burning yourself out can be difficult.
The list above presents some of the main aspects you need to consider when you are making a decision. However, you should personalize it more to fit the specificity of your lifestyle, skillset, job description, hobbies, out of work duties, family and housing conditions and more.
Consider all of the potentially detrimental factors that will affect your work and balance them against the benefits you stand to gain from this approach.
Have you worked on software development from home before? Was it better for you compared to an office job? What would you recommend for people to do, when they start working from home? How can a software developer make the adaptation period as short and as seamless as possible? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.
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