A lot of people asked me in the last months what has changed since I work from home “in these times”. Honestly, for me, nearly nothing changed. Mostly even went to the better.
Software Development is a remote work
As my activities around coding and building applications were already remote quite often. I had teams located in the US, UK, India, and Bulgaria in the last 20 years. I’m suddenly not able to travel to these places anymore. Even offices are not interesting anymore, as most staff works from home. For me, as someone that always traveled at least 2–3 days a week a big change.
The good one
My family, wife, and daughter finally have me 5 days available in the afternoon the week, plus weekends. This really leads into discussions like “when do you travel again?” — not really because they want me away, more like: „Does your job really works nearly 100% remote?“ To be honest, initially, I was a bit critical, meanwhile, I would support this statement fully. There is no difference. Sometimes the sarcastic smile is missing, but this can be overcome by using Video.
Before Covid, I may have spent 2–3h a day on Video conferences and tools. Today I spend up to 8h a day. This leads to situations where you really miss personal connections — we already started discussions on how we can adjust and overcome this. Seeing your team member reacting to someone explaining or having an argument can often shorten discussions, as you know that others think the same. Online only meetings tend to „beat a dead horse“ as everyone often needs to be heard. The personal interaction is missing.
My environmental impact
The biggest change for sure is that I do not travel and pollute the planet. Before, I sat in trains for 30-40.000 km a year. And I traveled around the world using airplanes to India, the US, or Eastern Europe. This has completely dried out. And I do not miss any of these hours. Sure, I found great places for food around the world, coffee shops, or places to buy stuff, but I now tend to get more local. I hope that I can save this for the future. One big start was, that I was able to be vegetarian now since last year December, and I finally try to get away from cheese these days.
There will be times where I need to travel to clients again, I also miss my friend contacts in and all over Europe and the world, seeing them and having a drink with them. But this also gave me time to rethink if everything needs to be onsite. That time spent on trains, cabs, airplanes has been much more productive now. And reviewing code, writing code, documenting things, and talking about features can easily be done in collaboration tools.
I’m not sad about this.