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Comment: Re:Usually has to be earned (Score 1) 274 274

So now I'm having to go out of my way to make sure you stay on track.

No; if you're a manager, you should be monitoring employee output in any case. Just assuming that because they're in the office they're being productive is silly.

Why wouldn't I just hire the gal I interviewed before you who is willing to come into the office everyday?

You would, unless she's less capable of doing the job.

I don't need to have a daily Skype meeting if you're in the building just down the hall.

No, but with agile software development, you're going to be having daily stand-ups anyway. It's trivial to set up a quick videoconference call for this.

every staff meeting I have needs to be online so that you can listen in

Pretty much, and at a place where I recently worked, we did just that. Wasn't a problem. People were usually sitting at their machines already and able to accept the call in seconds. Heck, it was probably quicker than setting up an in-person meeting!

I don't get to read your body language during the meeting.

You shouldn't need to. This isn't a date; if an employee can't express themselves clearly through text and speech, there's a problem. Although with videoconferencing, you even have a partial visual of them.

I don't get to chat with you after the meeting about a project without asking you to stay on the line or calling you when I get back to my desk.


You aren't going to participate in any of the local team building exercises that require face to face interaction.

They're probably overrated, but work-from-home staff could come in specially for such things.

I can't assign you to any projects where I need someone to sit down with the customer face to face.

Again, work-from-home staff can come in specially for such things. Yeah, they wouldn't be suited for very regular customer meetings; that would be an obvious argument at interview stage against work-from-home, but I doubt it would apply to most developers.

The rest of my team will have increased workload because they are dealing with the drive-by requests while you avoid them at home.

What are drive-by requests? Are you working at McDonald's? If you mean "distractions by people coming up to you and asking you stuff needlessly", then good. Managers should let staff avoid them because they lower productivity.

If I assign the best work to the people 30 feet away from me because they are easier for me to work with and get constant updates, you see that as favoritism.

If you need "constant updates" - more constant than agile-style daily updates - you're an obsessive micromanager and I'm glad I don't work for you. You would be the biggest distraction of all.

Remind me how I as a manager benefit from having you work at home?

Some employees, myself included, are more productive working from home as we are quite sensitive to noise and even movement (if you have an open plan office and a lot of people walking around). So there's that, as well as the extra time that employee can put into working where they would otherwise be commuting. Both of these should benefit your business.

Comment: Re:Generally? You don't. (Score 1) 274 274

I also find that random discussions are much harder to have remotely. I need these to relax my brain.

Just goes to show how different people are - I'm the opposite. If my brain suddenly gets distracted for 15 minutes after 45 minutes of concentration, I'm totally thrown off what I was doing and it will make me a lot less productive.

Comment: Re:Generally? You don't. (Score 3, Insightful) 274 274

It's a lot easier to tell someone at work to go away because you are busy, and there is a clear escalation path if they don't.

It is not, however, easier to tell someone at work to shut up because their noise is distracting you, and there is frequently no escalation path on that. Open-plan office and "talk out loud whenevr you like" are by design. Headphones often don't fully shut out the noise and are just a distraction in themselves.

Comment: Re:Usually has to be earned (Score 2) 274 274

For a start, there's no guarantee you wouldn't just goof around for the 6 months or so it would take for them to realise you're a lazy freeloader and then go through the process of firing you

Of course there is - daily Skype meetings. Have an agile board of work on TFS or something and check what people are doing on a daily basis. I've seen this work in practice. People goofing off will be noticed *very* quickly.

sacking people in the UK and the rest of Europe is a long-drawn out process: employees have rights

I can't speak for the rest of Europe, but programming jobs in the UK typically have a 3-9 month probation period. During that period you can typically be sacked with 24 hours' (or maybe 1 week's) notice, for any or no reason. There is no problem firing people at all. Even after the probation period, an employee cannot sue for unfair dismissal until they have worked for the employer for 2 years.

Second, they'd have to install a load of kit in your house

It's called a laptop.

you'd also have little or no "induction" into the company, your boss, the goals and culture.

Obviously one would expect an induction period of a few weeks or months before home working really kicked off.

Finally, home working has many, many disadvantages. Apart from being isolated, you become an invisible part of the team - and therefore disposable

Again, I have seen in practice that this just isn't the case, especially with regular videoconferencing meetings.

You never interact with your work-mates and never get to hear "grapevine" stuff, like where the promotion opportunities are.

This is a feature, not a bug. "Interacting" with workmates is frequently much closer to the "goofing off" you described earlier, and prevents concentration on development work or learning new stuff. In fact, the distraction of other workmates "interacting" with each other (whether talking about work-related topics or not) during work hours can drag your productivity down enormously, especially in the now-popular openplan office. Being able to consult with workmates only when you actually need to via videoconferencing can be a much better way of doing things.

+ - Ask Slashdot: How do you go about finding jobs that offer homeworking?

jez9999 writes: I'm a software developer in the UK, and I've found that it's very rare (maybe 5% of the time) to find an employer that will even consider any working from home, let alone for the majority of the time. I see it as a win-win; you're able to work in the home environment you are most productive in, and you can use the time you would've been commuting to work a bit longer for the employer. Not only that, but you're not adding to road congestion either. Skype, etc. make communication with coworkers a snap these days.

So how do you go about finding homeworking jobs? Is it better to demand it from the get-go, or wait a few months and then ask for it? Is it more common than 5% of jobs in the US (in which case I guess it's a cultural thing the UK needs to catch up with)?

Comment: Funniest story heard all day (Score 1) 396 396

Yeah, because a piece of paper pinched out by the government is going to stop people from sharing information.

3D-printed gun blueprints are on the Pirate Bay (for example). They're hosted on overseas websites. When the first story about the government forcing the author to take down the DefDist package came out, I made copies and posted them to six different domains I own (for example). If this regulation passes, I, and I'm sure plenty of other people, will step up their efforts to spread such files wider and wider.

Comment: Re:Nevermind the bollocks, here's David Cameron (Score 1) 260 260


The SNP don't even pretend to give a shit about anyone outside Scotland. I'm aware that there were a few English people who wanted to vote SNP. I consider them idiots. I think the SNP's vote share outside Scotland would be in the low single digits at best. It would be like Jews voting for the Nazis.

Comment: Re:Fools getting the government they deserve (Score 1) 269 269

If you are stupid enough to try and convince someone to suicide and they do (as an example), you are an idiot and will get the book thrown at you.

Sorry, but you're the fucking idiot who thinks that censoring some speech isn't inevitably going to lead to censoring of other speech, or for that matter, that your WORDS should get you into criminal trouble because it hurts somebody else's feels. You guys wanna do away with free speech? Then you're idiots, and I'll fight it where I live for as long as I live and breathe.

Oh, and you can't so me for calling you a fucking idiot, because I don't live in New Zealand.

It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.