The Cost of Remote

Colin Nederkoorn writes:

There’s a tremendous feeling of freedom when you abandon the shackles of a specific location.

Remote is a fact of life in software engineering. We don’t have enough engineers + demand is incredibly high = engineers can dictate terms about where they want to live.

The author really wants remote to work and, in my opinion, is going to make remote work and that’s a fine thing, but how do we quantify the productive gain or loss in a remote situation? Yes, there are fewer interruptions and you can work at your own pace, but how does casual socialization improve your work? In that moment when you’re stumped in the office, how do you quantify the value created by walking to the kitchen to get a cup a coffee where you find Frank who is lingering and happens to randomly have the precise answer to your problem?

There are many notable projects that are completely distributed – it does work – but at what cost? Other than Yahoo, who has evaluated remote workers and decided this isn’t going to work?