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I'm an introvert. I don't enjoy to be around people, and when I have to do work with people around me, it kills my productivity.

My current job is remote, I work from my home (or wherever I want to work, I love to travel and work from remote places), but the company has plans to establish and office, and making us go to the office.

I'm a software developer, and I work nearly alone in a project, so is not necessary to have coworkers nearly to do my job.

I really hate:

  1. Being around other people: Is just my personality, I'm really introvert and timid, and in a workplace, that is more.
  2. Being interrupted by coworkers: When I'm concentrated doing my work, I'm really doing my work, I feel terrible when I'm doing my work and someone interrupts me, I have problems to focus again
  3. Going to an office: I'm more confortable working at home, not having to go to an office, working dressed as I want, and so on.
  4. Waking up early: I'm a night guy. I really hate to wake up early, morning are the worst time of day to perform work for me. I'm sleepy all the morning and plenty of energy at night. That part of the day is when I perform superb. My productivity at morning is like 1/3 of productivity at night.

Is obvious that a 9-to-5 office environment is definitely not a good place for me, and that I will underperform under that conditions. The question is how can explain this?

  • 7
    Don't go looking for a job that is "team-orientated". Sorry but this will be difficult as most (especially software) jobs involve more than one person. It's tough I know, but you can simply say you aren't looking for a team environment...just don't be surprised that you won't have many leads. – JonH Jan 25 '16 at 20:06
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    are you a vampire? – Kilisi Jan 26 '16 at 6:54
  • Only on weekends :P – anon Jan 26 '16 at 14:42
  • Most of this question is about environment (home versus office with other people). The timing issue would be a problem regardless of location; as a telecommuter you'd still not enjoy it if your company said you had to be available (email, IM, etc) at 9AM. I think your question would be stronger without the timing part, which seems tangential to me. – Monica Cellio Jan 26 '16 at 16:15
  • @IAmJulianAcosta there are different interpretations of your situation in the answers below, could you clarify why your company is establishing an office? Is it because the company has grown and can afford it? Out of concern for performance? Prestige? – Lilienthal Jan 26 '16 at 17:40
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After reading your post the general feeling is one of negativity. This is a really bad place from which to start. Think of it this way:

It will benefit both yourself and your employer to continue allowing you to work from home.

What you need to understand is that your employer doesn't care whether you feel comfortable in your new environment or not (at least if you can't sue them about it). If your productivity drops, and if you're as negative about the experience in person as you are in your post, then they'll simply fire you.

So what you need to do is convince your employer that they stand to gain by allowing your remote-work arrangement to continue.

Contact your boss via e-mail and communicate your concerns politely, and constructively:

Hi boss, sorry to bother you, however I have some concerns regarding the office arrangements which is in the works. I have to confess that I don't really reach peak performance in the 9 - 5 time frame. I'm more of a night-owl, and often code in the wee hours of the morning (as you can confirm by checking my remote-login logs <- good way to back up you claim), which is when I reach my peak productivity. I fear that in a business hours workday I would simply not be able to perform at the same level that I have in the past. Is there any way in which we could continue or current arrangement, or reach some sort of compromise regarding my work hours?

What you need to remember that having you in the office is, for many managers, a means of maintaining and feeling in control. If they can see you there in the morning, and check up on you as they walk past your cubicle then they can see that they're not being short-changed.

This is an antiquated mind-set, as you can waste time sitting at your desk if you really want to - what should matter are your results. But all it takes is one political incident, or one dev to be proven to take too long on his tasks to ruin it for everyone else.

If your boss proves intractable then it will be time to start looking for a new job, in which care Lilienthal's answer is the way to go.

  • I've had several employers who care about the level of comfort in the work environment and I don't exactly work at places with foosball and an open bar. – user8365 Jan 25 '16 at 21:07
  • @JeffO - you're taking my comment a little too literally. For example, if my chair is terrible, and I complain to my boss about it the company, depending on their culture, may or may not do something about it. If I go and say "not fixing this issue is a health violation" they will immediately change the damned thing. Going to your boss and saying "I don't play well with others" is not going to get the OP any sympathy. That comment was very specific to this situation. – AndreiROM Jan 25 '16 at 21:21
  • I don't think I'm taking this too literally. I worked at one company that as a result of a personality profile, changed some of my work requirements because they thought I'd get bored with some of the repetitive tasks. Say what you want about those tests, but they did me a favor. There wasn't going to be any lawsuit. They wanted to make sure I liked my job and believed happy employees treated customers better. Sorry if you haven't had those experiences. – user8365 Jan 26 '16 at 20:55
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Given your constraints, you only have two real options:

Argue the merits of working remotely

You don't know how established your company's plans for settling somewhere are and now is the time to speak up. Key arguments to make in favour of keeping your current arrangement:

  • it's working: reference your past evaluations and other ways of reminding your manager of your stellar performance
  • you are much more productive in a home office
  • you're a night owl and are more productive outside core business hours
  • setting your own hours is important to you and makes you more productive and focused [if you routinely do more hours than required, mention this as well]
  • working remotely was a key part of why you accepted the job
  • commuting: it adds X hours to your workday, it's dangerous, expensive, you don't have transportation, public transport is unreliable. [mention whichever are true and make the strongest case, don't hammer on this one too much]

Don't ever mention anything even close to "I hate (being around) people". It's too loaded of an argument and unless you're an actual misanthrope it's too strong a statement.

If it's acceptable to you, mention that you could come into the office occasionally for meetings, work events and such. This largely depends on the type of work you do. A developer who's been successfully working remotely full-time will have very little reason to ever come-in but you want to avoid taking a hard-line stance against any office time. It's better to sacrifice the occasional unproductive day to get in some face-time with your colleagues.

Find a new job

The conditions you give you have no realistic way of being hired for regular office positions so you shouldn't apply for them. There is simply no way to make the arguments you made in your question and still be considered a great candidate.

Apply for remote positions that don't involve office interaction and that allow you to set your own hours. These are typically contract jobs but there are plenty of companies that hire in-house employees that work remotely full-time. Some require occasional trips to the office, some don't.

The kind of hours you can work will depend on how badly your circadian rhythm is out of whack. You don't have to commute and you can probably argue for a 10-18 workday in most remote employee jobs. Some contractors are free to set their own hours but that will depend on the kind of work you're doing. Being available between the typical core business hours of 10-16 is a hard requirement for most jobs.

Some people may suggest following a company's regular application process and not asking to work remotely full-time until the latter stages (final interviews or offer), but I highly advise against it. While this may change in the future, an office presence is currently still standard and working remotely full-time is too dramatic of a change for most hiring managers. You'd be wasting everyone's time.

  • This doesn't seem to make sense for someone already in a position working remotely. I've had 3 jobs where I've worked in the office and switched to working remote (Probably the only employee in the entire company to do so.), so I don't see how someone who is already working remotely can't keep it that way. – user8365 Jan 25 '16 at 21:11
  • @JeffO I have managed to epically misread the question, hence your confusion. Thanks for pointing this out. I've split off my answer into a two-parter so it actually answers the question. :) – Lilienthal Jan 25 '16 at 21:31
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    @JeffO, many people don't actually work well remote, so I can imagine easily why management might want to stop the practice. Unfortunately we have no way of knowing if the OP is being brought to the office because of some problems with his performance, such as not being available during regular work hours when someone wanted to have a meeting or teleconference (we had to do this once). The OP should ask his manager specifically why he cannot work remotely if he feels his performance is fine. It is very possible that his boss does not feel the same way. – HLGEM Jan 25 '16 at 22:19
  • @HLGEM Based on my (second) interpretation of the question, the company currently doesn't have an office but intends to establish one. Available hours can be a legitimate concern though. – Lilienthal Jan 26 '16 at 10:16
  • It could well be that they are establishing an office because in general they are not happy with the performance of remote workers. Offices are expensive, something must be driving this change. – HLGEM Jan 26 '16 at 14:19
3

I think @Lilienthal's answer may work... but I wanted to hit a few points.

It's not about you, it's about the job

You may win the debate with your job by pointing out that you are very productive at home, and that it's fair and reasonable to leave you there because it's working.

With that said - the strongest arguments are why it's good for your company. I suspect that valid points in this direction are:

  • You can flex your hours around both company needs and home life.

    • it's much easier to jump online at home when you have a sudden idea in the middle of the night,
    • or work an extra long shift when you've hit a very productive point
    • or be online fast in an emergency, and then make up the time in your personal life more easily when you don't have a commute
  • Commuting takes time away from doing things (particularly cogent if you're in a high-traffic place)

  • Your specific responsibilities lend themselves to a lot of solitary work.

Keep in mind that when you work very much alone, you may not see the gaps

I've managed a lot of software development teams in a lot of companies, and the "I'm most productive at home" often breaks down when the manager looks at team productivity. When 1 person writes 1 product, all by themselves, then they can be productive anywhere. But when a team has to collaborate to grow a product beyond a single developer, then this doesn't work out as well.

People talk less and bother each other less when they are remote. That's great if you don't like talking and don't like being bothered. But it's not great if the team is creating a product that doesn't fit together well because people aren't talking enough. One of the problems is, when team members don't share their point of view, there's a lack of consensus, and that leads to a lack of consistency. Each individual is consistent, but the manager often sees the rift between the work of team members in a way the team members do not.

I say this having worked on both side of this debate - I code at home for a personal project, and I really, really hate having to make time for in person meetings on hot topics... but as a manager, I am not happy with my team members taking more than 1 day a week working at home.

So... my other big advice is to be willing to listen to the manager's side of the argument. Maybe you can hear the concerns and find a work at home compromise... maybe you will find that this job is changing in a way that doesn't work for you... but at least you'll know where you stand.

Products can change

The bigger challenge is that just because it worked well for the last few years, it doesn't mean that the product development will continue to work well now. The needs for collaboration grow at the scope of what the product needs to have and the size of the team building the product grow. This as much about how much money the business is investing as anything relating to the technical work itself.

Keep an eye on the climate... it may be that the company culture is shifting and you'll want to look for a new opportunity... or that there are different opportunities in this company that let you keep the work at home option open.

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Find out why your boss wants to do this. He may not have a choice because it's just some law that was passed down to him (I believe Yahoo went through this.). I think you should tell him that working at home is one of the reasons you took the job in the first place, but you don't want to sound like you're giving an ultimatum.

You could try some of the tactics people (myself included) have used to get to work from home and suggest a trial period to make sure you're still doing good work and then reevaluate. Some people feel like they don't want to make a decision because they're stuck with it forever. Even if he thinks you're good skills will rub off on others, suggest you could arrange times to interact over the phone or skype and be a mentor. Again you can have a trial period and some objective measures for the effectiveness.

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