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Working Remotely – Remotely Working?

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We at Cocoanetics love to hear your thoughts on any and all topic related to iOS development. Today’s guest post is by  Cory Wiles on facing the challenge of  businesses not yet seeing the light of a remote workforce.

I am an iOS/PHP developer, lover of all things mobile, Apple and BMW. I try to live by the Art of Simplicity.

My contract with my current employer is soon to end so I have been putting my resume out on the “internets” and searching for what I would like to do next as far as employment. I get about 2 – 3 calls/emails a day about job openings, especially with contract gigs. I have a few big companies that I have interviewed with that I am really psyched about.

When conducting my initial evaluations of a company I look for three main things.

  1. I want to work for an organization that is LEADING innovation in its field and holds a brand that I can be truly proud to represent.
  2. I want to work in a role where I can really help people and have a positive measurable effect on the organization’s mission.
  3. I want to work with people I would hang out with even if no one were paying me to.

One thing however, that has greatly surprised me is that most employers do not want to let their employees (contract or FT) to work remotely. A few of the positions that I am considering I completely understand why they want to have on-site. It is just the nature of the role, however 98% of what is required from the others I could definitely do remotely. I have no problem coming on site fairly often since the majority of the companies that I would be working for are within 5 hours of where I live, but for them it is a deal breaker. I get the standard, “Well, right now we really want someone on-site, but if the requirements change we will let you know.” I sigh when this happens because with today’s current technologies it is a no brainer to have remote employees. FaceTime, Skype, GoToMeeting, VPN, Email, IM, cellphones, widespread availability of broadband to homes and most “social” businesses (bars, coffee shops, libraries, etc).

Here are my thoughts on why working remote should be a consideration for most companies:

  1. You are hiring me for a contract position that is usually between 4 – 6 months, can’t guarantee a full-time position afterwards, but aren’t going to pay for any relocation costs.
  2. I already own a home and like most Americans can’t sell it for a fraction of what it is worth and I really don’t feel like paying rent and my mortgage.
  3. I have a wife who works so she would have to give up her job as well. Not too enticing. See reason #1.
  4. I have a child who is in school. See reason #1.
  5. It is cheaper for a company to have me work remotely considering they wouldn’t have to provide a PC, desk, phone, pens, magic markers and free Red Bull.

I have strong opinion that, in general, as a country, managers/HR are still stuck on the notion that if they can’t see you work then you aren’t. If they let you work remotely then you will spend the entire day watching TV, drinking, playing HALO while taking the Lord’s Name in vain. The truth is that the same people who are great/productive employees on-site will have the same productivity at home and vice versa. Individuals who screw off while working from home are the same people who are wasting company time on-site. It is a personnel issue.

As recently as May 11th, 2011, Microsoft published it’s study “Remote Working Now a ‘Business Imperative’”.

Interesting Facts

  • On average, information workers nationwide say they work remotely only half as many days as they would prefer.
  • Remote workers surveyed cite a better balance between work and home priorities as number one reason for wanting to work remotely.
  • Being more productive than in the office and having fewer distractions rounded top five reasons

With the issues that are listed above, the state of the economy and financial issues that most of the American workforce has to deal with, relocation isn’t always a realistic option.

There are a lot of tech jobs out there that still remain vacant because of this and those companies are missing out on a lot of really great talent.


Categories: Jobs

1 Comment »

  1. For sure the future HR Managers or Department managers should be trained in managing remote people.
    Currently they tend to have employees or contractors working in their offices essentially due to a lack of knowledge and confidence in managing people remotely (it could happen that they never meet you personally). Probably the new generation of managers really needs specific training on this.

    As far as myself, I’m often in charge of the technical side of software development projects (other than taking care of the mobile part of these projects). So I’m in the situation of leading a small team whose developers are spread all over the world and in some of these cases some of these developers are inside the original customer. You may imagine the pain of taking care of basic program management stuff in such situation, I fully understand the worries of managers in building teams that are remotely based.

    However I completely agree with you: the life of many of us remote workers would be greatly simplified if more companies would start adopting those remote jobs.

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