I've recently quit a job that required a 2 hour+ commute (4-5 hour total). This commute was costing me a sizable portion of my monthly income. Luckily, the firm was very casual when it came to getting in late, their culture could be described as "so long as the work is done".

During a typical working day, most interaction with colleagues took the form of instant messaging, ticketing, or e-mail. Of course, I did converse face-to-face with my team frequently. The vast majority of the day was spent on solitary development. In fact, the only interaction I had with my manager was during a weekly catch-up meeting, or if something required cooperative development, or if an urgent fix was needed. If someone could not physically attend a meeting, they would usually attend via audio/video conference.

Luckily for me, the company/my manager didn't mind if I occasionally worked from home. I only worked from home if I had an urgent reason to do so (doctors appointment, etc...). I was hugely more productive at home, I maintained the communication in the same way as if I was in the office. In fact, if I had been allowed to work from home 3-4 days a week, my productivity would have, at the very least, tripled.

I understand that there's obviously some trust issues associated with working from home. The extent of which will vary from each company/manager. I can also understand why one would be required to "prove their worth" before being granted the privilege. Is the requirement to be physically at the office just tradition, or something more?

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    Why do you think you are so much less productive in the office? I find it hard to believe that you can triple your productivity by working from home.
    – John Feltz
    Nov 30 '16 at 19:39
  • " Is the requirement to be physically at the office just tradition, or something more?" You are asking a question that's irrelevant to your situation. The question you should probably be asking is "how do I make a convincing argument to my boss that they should let me try working remotely?" Who, except for you, cares if the requirement to show up at the office is traditional or not? Nov 30 '16 at 19:58
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    There is also "face time". If you are never in the office, your colleagues may think you don't do anything.
    – Brandin
    Nov 30 '16 at 20:25
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    @Brandin - One more time: I am NEVER in the office. Neither are my colleagues from across the country and overseas. You've got any more objections? Would you like to second guess the validity of our international IT consulting company's business model? Nov 30 '16 at 21:04
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    Asking for opinion is poor wording as that is out of scope.
    – paparazzo
    Nov 30 '16 at 22:40

Tradition. Some managers like to see the people who work for them doing 'work'. Obviously there are some jobs where your location is important, but for software engineers, as long as the work is done, that should be all that counts.

More companies are moving to flexible arrangements, so a decent software engineer should be able to get work.


Two thoughts.

Not everyone works well from home. Some people work better with a change in scenery - the different environment in the office is a psychological cue that gets them into work mode.

Emergency response. In the event that something goes really haywire, having the developers together in one place may significantly improve the response time.

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    And not every s/w engineer works in the way described, eg pair programming is hard if one of you is at home. Nov 30 '16 at 21:02
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    Pair programming is quite doable remotely. Just requires good tools.
    – Erik
    Nov 30 '16 at 22:48
  • "Emergency response" is nonsense. Firstly, true emergencies are rare. Secondly, there is no reason why collaboration tools that have already existed for several years don't work for it; they do.
    – Asclepius
    Jul 27 at 9:24

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