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I’m curious to hear from other engineering / dev managers on how they handle software engineering teams and working from home.

Im a dev manager from Chicago and I’m about to step into a new role where developers work from home pretty much whenever they want (sometimes 2-3 days a week).

There’s two ways I think about this:

  1. Do you feel that developers should have consistently with work from home days, being that every wed/thurs you work from home - this makes it easier for product managers and other stakeholders to plan for when people are in the office.

  2. Embrace work from home, leave it adhoc- and ensure all processes (stand ups, sprint planning, continuous feedback / developer performance) have the right approach to handle a developer who is in the office or not. This ensures you need to have the right performance framework in place, whatever that may be to ensure that WFH days aren’t abused.

Which way have you gone and why?

closed as too broad by Masked Man, Sandra K, mxyzplk, gnat, scaaahu Apr 26 '18 at 6:55

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    What is your goal here? You planning on defining such adhoc policies? – DarkCygnus Apr 25 '18 at 22:26
  • Interesting post, but as @DarkCygnus mentioned: Can you narrow it down to one single specific question? – Sandra K Apr 26 '18 at 0:49
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    Do you do consulting or an own product? I've found that software companies that do not have their own product the team is working on are much more strict about remote work. Whereas if the team works on an own product, there is a much less bureaucratic approach. So this will affect answers. – Juha Untinen Apr 26 '18 at 5:01
  • Sorry if the question was vague; I was interesting to know from other dev managers how they handle developers who work from home. What I should of asked, what methods do you use to determine if a developer is performing well, in and outside the office. – Cameron Bishop Apr 26 '18 at 7:49
  • In my experience of many years with both in-office, work-at-home and outsourced teams, the loss of productivity when people work on complex topics such as software development without being close together is very large. I only allow work-at-home on special occasions, e.g. when someone has a doctors visit during the day. If HR wants to force you to allow work from home, make it clear that they will need to up the headcount in order for productivity to stay the same. – Wilbert Apr 26 '18 at 9:49
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My work, a tech startup with around 25 employees, recently had a breaking point about this. There were key things to consider:

  1. By design, employees at our firm should be fully functional anywhere. We're entirely cloud based, have no corporate network (everything on the cloud,) our software is on the cloud, our clients are on the cloud, everything. Thus, it should not be a performance hit to work from home.
  2. As a culture, we like to see each other. We like to interface. Things are easier when we are in the same physical location.
  3. We have multiple offices and strive to keep the offices working as if we were all in one office. It's not perfect, but that's our goal.
  4. Work life balance has a huge impact on an employee's morale, and thus their productivity.
  5. We trust employees to make decisions that they could honestly defend if called out on. Hiring is a very slow process at my firm, because we refuse to lower the bar. (Still wondering how I snuck in with these geniuses...)

So keeping those philosophies in mind, we have unlimited work from home days. If you have client meetings, obviously you need to be in the office for those. If your manager feels you're abusing the work from home policy (or sick policy, which is also unlimited,) they will talk with you about it. Because we hired quality people, we know if someone ever did have to have a talk, it would be resolved, or the manager would simply revoke the ability of that employee to work from home.

But honestly, if someone isn't pulling their weight, it isn't just because they're working from home. There's bound to be many other factors leading up to such a discussion.

On a side note, if you're moving into a new managerial role and start removing perks, you're likely to get a lot of resistance.

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