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I come from a decent product-based company which had really great software dev practices.

I have recently joined a company which does their job remotely. Though the pay is good, I am not enjoying the work due to the concept of working on slow virtual machines. Due to the company policies I have to use these machines. Unfortunately, this eats away my entire time and I lose motivation to code. The project has no documentation and within 3 days I was assigned bugs to fix. Team members are clueless on certain bugs themselves.

I am just trying to understand how to do good work, but unfortunately it's challenging. How would you cope in this situation?

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  • Usually, managers schedule regular meetings with all new joiners to understand their onboarding status, understanding and requirements. Did you meet your manager to talk about this? Nov 5, 2020 at 6:22
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    Also, as I see, this does not have to do much with remote role. Anyone using the systems (working remotely or from office) will face the same problems. Nov 5, 2020 at 6:26
  • Manager didn't schedule any meeting, I was assigned a mentor though. Mentor ofcourse explained me whatever he could. I agree, people using virtual machines face these issues.
    – cixerit231
    Nov 5, 2020 at 6:31

1 Answer 1

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Due to the company policies I have to use these machines.

That will likely not change and you will not get an exception. In any country with data protection laws, whether it's Europe with its GDPR or other countries with their respective laws, it's a legal nightmare for companies to give data to their employees outside of a restricted work environment.

The difference between a virtual machine you "dial into" and working on your own PC is that one is "secure" while the other is not. Sure, you could maliciously copy data from either, but if we assume that you are being a model employee and your company is being a model company, there is near zero risk for data to leak on the VM while your personal computers are a huge risk to the company. Your computer could get stolen, you could sell it for a better model and someone recovers the data on the drive, anybody in your home as a guest could take a peek while you are unaware, or it might simply contain viruses.

So allowing you to use your own computers for work is just not going to happen if you work for a company that wants to remain legal in a country with data protection laws.


So what now?

Do what you would do with any topic that hinders you to work effectively: gather data, present it, and suggest a solution.

For example, if your tool takes too long to open, make a note of it, sum it up and bring it to your boss. Probably informal first: "Hey boss, I noticed $software takes a long time to open our files. I was curious and measured it. This week alone I spent 3.5 hours on waiting in front of the loading screen. Do you think we could improve this? I'd rather spent the time working than waiting."

The important part is to have data. Every computer user ever thought their tool "takes too long". So bosses are used to people saying that and will just ignore it. Bring them data. Show them how much they are actually losing. Bring them enough data so they can measure your lost time (= money they paid for nothing) against the cost of giving you what you need. A $5000 upgrade sounds expensive when you say "but my machine is so slow", but it sounds dirt cheap if you say "I'm losing $500 of productivity a week".

Make it easy for deciders to see the problem and fix the problem and they will.

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  • There is a large gap between working on a virtual machine and working on “personal computers which are dangerous and full of viruses”. Plenty of companies issue a decent laptop on which you can work locally and connect to the company network via vpn for example.
    – AsheraH
    Nov 5, 2020 at 13:44
  • I guess those companies are not deeply invested in data protection. But sure, if a company does not have user data and only processes their own data (lets say someone is working as a graphics artist), does not need any security for their own data then that might be viable.
    – nvoigt
    Nov 5, 2020 at 13:48

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