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I feel your pain.
I live near a country park.
Which has a gate at either end.
Maintained by the Highways Agency.
The gate at the south end fell apart.
A year later they fixed it.
By which time the gate at the north end had fallen apart.
I complained again.
6 months later I had the report from the 'highways engineer'
"Gate is new. What is problem?"
North, south, potato, potaahto....
I had sent them lat and long and a google earth and said, its the one at the other end of the park from the one you fixed last year....
Apologies if this is a repost (I know how much that hurts some).
Yahoo has abolished work-from-home[^]. I'm wondering how the rest of you feel about it. Speaking for myself, this would be (yet another) sign of time to move to a new employer, as I don't know if I even could work in a regular office anymore.
There are just so many tools (IM, Campfire, IRC) that make communication easy.
I've worked from home for a long time and I'd be hard pressed to have to do any real commuting to get to an office on a daily basis. I have remote clients in several countries and across the US and we've figured out how to work together with online tools and phones. It can be done without too much loss of information. For me, working with a small group of clients, working remotely is no big deal.
However, there is a definite need to have some face-to-face from time to time. That involves me traveling a few times a year. It's just nice to be able to put a face and a personality with a voice, a Skype name and an email.
I can't speak for the situation in a large company, but I can see both sides of the picture. They have to do what is right for them and I am in no position to judge their decision.
CQ de W5ALT
Walt Fair, Jr., P. E. Comport Computing Specializing in Technical Engineering Software
I'm too dumbfounded to respond coherently, so this will be a bit fragmented.
The memo says working from the office facilitates more brainstorming. “Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings, (source[^])
is utter tripe. What utter BS.
Second, in this day of technology, you can have a better meeting experience with things like Google hangouts than you can trying to coordinate people to show up in a meeting room, get somebody else on a crap quality speaker phone, squint at blurry projected presentations, and so forth. Meeting physically in person is not only not necessary, it's inconvenient, time wasting, and often uncomfortable.
Third, and again in this age where we want to be thinking about the ecological impact of commuting, the waste of heating/cooling office space, etc., it's absurd.
Fourth, the insensitivity of it, that wouldn't it be better for people who want to work at home and have demonstrated their productivity to not have to commute, so they can spend more time with their family, doing the things they want, rather than sitting in a car / train / bus / subway ? When I worked at Citigroup, most people had a 2 HOUR commute by train and subway, one way. That's 4 hours a day of waste, just transporting their brains and bodies to a cubicle because some arse of a manager thinks it promotes communication.
I'm sure I have more points, but at the moment I think is Mrs. Marissa is suffering from postpartum hormonal b*tchiness. Because *she* can't/won't be with her kid.
I hate to disagree, but I have to say that when I'm working from home (a couple of days a week) I get different things done than when I'm working from work. I don't like my commute, but I'd feel really disconnected if I didn't spend time at the office with my colleagues. On the days I'm home, I get more coding done, and more of the sort of rote management work done. When I'm in the office, I chat with people who I wouldn't have set up a meeting with, and find out what's going on in a broader, less targeted way than when I'm at home. It's true that technology makes it less important to be there and, for example, sometimes pair programming is better done with screen sharing and VOIP than sitting in a chair and craning to see the code on the screen. But I feel that the social interaction/brainstorming/overhearing that occurs at the office just doesn't happen as well as it does in person.
I agree with you. There are pros and cons to working at home or working in an office with other people. To me, trying to make a one-size-fits-all ruling is a sign of poor management and a better idea would be to figure out the right combination.
Saying there will be no working from home would be just as absurd as saying that there would be no working from the office. A judicious combination would be a more reasoned approach.
CQ de W5ALT
Walt Fair, Jr., P. E. Comport Computing Specializing in Technical Engineering Software
But I feel that the social interaction/brainstorming/overhearing that occurs at the office just doesn't happen as well as it does in person.
I've had experiences where I agree with you, but I've also had experiences where being around other people is a distraction, leads to gossip and rumor-mongering, and simply wastes a lot of time. I'm noticing I have a really strong opinion, probably because I like to work in my own environment (my computer hardware and software and environment has, without exception, been superior to what a company has ever provided, except for a client that I worked with once that supplied me with some amazing hardware), I like to set my own hours where I don't have to work (or look like I'm working) when I need to take a mental break to get some creative ideas on how to tackle a problem, etc.
Basically, what I want an employer to do is to give me the freedom to choose what is the best way for me to get the work done. I'm not opposed to coming in to an office, but I am opposed to stupid rules preventing me from being a sane, productive, individual. All too often, I think that employees are little more than indentured slaves.
It seems to be as if Walt and Marc are largely making the same point: trust the employee to be a professional (i.e., don't si thome and watch movies/play games/etc), and decide what works best for them.
This can vary from day to day; maybe it's best for me to work from home once in a while due to weather/appointments/whatever. I prefer to go in just to get out of the house, but a company should be inclusive of those who don't prefer to (as long as, as Marc points out, they remain productive and accessible).
I think there is some marginal value in being in the office. The other day, I got pulled into a discussion in a product with which I have no interaction, just to have a general discussion about how to solve a problem. Had I not been physically there, I wouldn't have been walking by, and gotten pulled in.
(It turns out that the right answer was to question the preceived requirements. I heard later the understanding of the problem wasn't what the product owner was thinking. I think I added value by being an outside source to point out what was being perceived wasn't a good idea generally, and giving them a new perspective on it to use as an example to go back to the product people with).
Anyway, the marginal value is almost certainly not as great as Ms. Yahoo seems to think it is. Sure, events like that happen once in a while, but they're not an everyday event.
Marc's points about the environmental impact also have some merit, although they're probably not quite as great; the heat/lights/etc at the office are going to be on whether you're there or not. It's actually worse, I suspect, to work from home, because you're heating/lighting/etc your home which you wouldn't otherwise. Not sure how that offsets once you factor in commuting. If you take public transportation, that's running whether you're on it or not; if you drive, certainly you're saving those emissions.
I'm not sure I'm with you on that Marc. The alternative is to set up processes that ensure that all necessary communication occurs. I'm pretty suspicious of process. An analogy I often use is this:
In a cell, things like ATP production in mitochondria occur because, even in the Krebs cycle, enzymes float around and make certain reactions more likely to occur than not. Its not a bunch of gears and levers. If you put a project manager in charge of ATP production, all life on earth would end instantly because they would insist on well defined gears and levers. They'd say "we can't depend on 'chance encounters' and changes in probabilities for something as important as cell energy production."
I guess my point is that the asking people to be physically together and thus capable of interacting and communicating somewhat randomly has a systemic effect that is positive. Whether you call it 'cross pollination of ideas' or the 'watercooler effect', it has a real and valuable effect. Yes there are things you can do (like daily meetings) to mimic its effect when people are remote from each other, but I don't believe it is as effective. There are folks at my work who are considering moving from remote locations back to the Bay Area because they feel left out of the mix. No-one is trying to do that to them and they are absolutely included and welcomed into conversations and meetings, but it isn't the same.
I guess my point is that the asking people to be physically together and thus
capable of interacting and communicating somewhat randomly has a systemic effect
that is positive.
But that same hypothesis can lead to negative outcomes as well.
Tom Clement wrote:
Yes there are things you can do (like daily meetings) to mimic its effect when
people are remote from each other, but I don't believe it is as effective.
I believe that formal code reviews provide that effect explicitly. It allows cross domain knowledge transfer, provides technical knowledge transfer and domain knowledge transfer. When done well it would be hard to see how that couldn't happen.
Where random path crossing might have the impact it is only likely to do so when the people involved already have a social (not professional) relationship.
Tom Clement wrote:
There are folks at my work who are considering moving from remote locations back
to the Bay Area because they feel left out of the mix.
There are places that are wonderful to work for and places that are nightmares.
On average however most places are in between. So most solutions should fit those and not the extremes.
What do you think would be the impact to the culture of your work place if management told you next week that everyone would be required to work from home full time one month from now? Would everyone be "thats a great idea"?
Don't get me wrong here. I am not arguing that everyone should work full time from home or full time at the office. My original point was that a mix is right. I actually am very happy with my work and the flexibility we have. I wouldn't be happy with the Yahoo approach, nor would I be happy with working always from home. (I thought that was my point about folks considering moving away from a working always from home situation. ) Maybe we agree!
I think it largely depends on what you are working on.
If you are working on an individual task, or based on previous decisions you just have 20 or 30 hours of coding to bang out, then it doesn't really matter where you do that.
I find with the stuff we work on though, things evolve rather dynamically and these independent coding stints don't usually last that long. We tend to gather around the workspace area whiteboard and bang out interface layouts or discuss code strategies multiple times a day.
Transitioning seamlessly between gathering around the whiteboard, to splitting off and having a senior dev pair program with a junior guy to show him a few tricks while another dev goes over the object tree structure with the designer so she can setup her bindings properly, to all working independently and someone just turning around and throwing out an idea to discuss...it's magical. You can kinda "simulate" these types of interactions with software, but it just isn't the same, not by a long shot.
We are currently all working from home as we are moving offices, and let me tell you, the collaborative ecosystem has been stiffled considerably. People don't want to keep calling people into video chats because it's more disruptive than just talking to the guy next to you in an offce, so there is less "work in progress" sharing going on. This means that people tend to share their work after it is finished, and by then revisions and changes are a lot more expensive and time consuming, and people feel like they are throwing away large portions of their work.
That said, sometimes a dev just gets a well defined task that we know will take 2 or 3 days to complete...in which case, do it from wherever you like! Hell, feel free to leave early if you have several hours of number crunching or whatever to do and you don't want to sit at the office doing it. I have no problem with working from home in situations like that.
While I do wish my company would let me work from home from time to time
Marc Clifton wrote:
waste of heating/cooling office space
I think it's better to heat one office full of 100 people than to heat 100 separate homes that otherwise don't need heating till the evening.
Marc Clifton wrote:
just transporting their brains and bodies to a cubicle
There's the problem. Why, in deed, bother going all the way to the office if all you're going to do is sit by yourself in a cubicle?
I work in an open plan office and the intermingling is marginally better.
As an aside, I think our company's argument for not allowing work from home is that there is no way to control the hours the employee works. Left to their own devices our employees would work themselves to their graves so they need to make sure they commute so that they only work for the number of hours they are paid for. I'm serious.
Well I see you're profile says you're in Japan, so maybe things are different there. In the U.S. at least, there wouldn't be an additional cost to staying home in terms of heating for most people, but I could see that varying from region to region...even where I grew up, a decent portion of homes are still heated by wood stoves, which obviously wouldn't be powered when no one's there, but then I'd still want to compare the cost and environmental impact of wood stoves vs. office heating systems before saying one was a better option than the other. (As for me, I'd rather just wrap up in a blanket, and save both costs...unfortunately I'm not the sole decision maker on that...)
I think it's better to heat one office full of 100 people than to heat 100 separate homes that otherwise don't need heating till the evening.
It's typically a bit more than this, actually. For my company, the cost is real estate on the whole. Less people in the office mean less office space, which means less rent, less power, less phones, less overall HVAC costs. Get rid of a bunch of big offices/cubes and instead offer smaller "hotel space" for when the work-from-home guys come in, and you've got massive savings. We saved millions of dollars per month by getting rid of a few buildings.
Speaking for myself, I'm endlessly more productive when working from home. I'm not surrounded by folks pestering me with gossip and chit-chat, but they're still there for that via email, IM, and phone if I ever feel like I'm missing it. I get to put on some brain-enducing music and open a window. And thou shalt not ever put a price on working in your underwear!
With that said, back to Yahoo! themselves ... I'm wondering if this isn't nasty downsizing through forced attrition. They're not giving people that have moved out of state (assuming there are any) very much time to pick up their entire families and move back. It wouldn't surprise me if she's hoping a bunch of people quit.
I've worked in open-area workspaces before. Please shoot be before I have to work in another. I need at least some privacy to concentrate properly. Currently I'm in a half-height cube in a short row in a smaller office space, which offers at least some seclusion.
As to your assertion that working in the office means only working during working hours....OMG. What industry do YOU work in? I've been taking work home to do in virtually every job I've had long before work-at-home became popular and widespread. Even when work-from-home was more restricted here in my current position, I would get calls and problems requiring work on nights and weekends.
One of the best things about working from home is that I can control the distractions at home, but not at work. One of the best things my boss likes about me being in work is he can walk over to my desk at any time to distract me. It's also when some of our more productive sessions take place, because we're usually talking about something that we haven't spent time talking about in meetings (otherwise, he wouldn't be walking over to ask me). However, when I know what I'm doing, I'd just as soon do it without anyone (especially my boss) jogging my elbow while I'm doing it.
Currently I'm working from home all the time because I'm restricted from driving for medical reasons. Thus, I've worked a few weeks from home, rather than a day or two per week as I usually do. I finally convinced my wife to drive me in for at least two days per week. The fact is, I was missing things happening at work that did not affect my current job assigments necessarily, but that impacted me personally - for instance, I just happened to come back to work the day they had a mass layoff, and so by chance I was able to say goodbye personally to a couple of people I'll probably never see again.
None of which impacts the decision at Yahoo. This is obviously a decision of desperation by someone who needs to prove to a doubtful board of directors that they are, indeed, doing something to change things at Yahoo. Only someone in desperation would unilaterally and universally lay down such a policy, because no possible justification comes close to countering the amount of outrage such a major change will cause among Yahoo's employees, even the ones who actually do show up at an office. Such a change could have been worked in quietly, with first one group then another being told they need to come into the office. Politically, it's an invitation to disaster and brain-drain.
"Seize the day" - Horace
"It's not what he doesn't know that scares me; it's what he knows for sure that just ain't so!" - Will Rogers, said by him about Herbert Hoover
I need at least some privacy to concentrate properly.
Personal preference varies, I suppose.
I get too distracted at home so I need to force myself to commute.
As to your assertion that working in the office means only working during working hours....OMG. What industry do YOU work in?
A silly one, I suppose.
We're not allowed to take work offsite unless you have written permission. VPN access is issued on request, provided you are able to get approval from the managers, but the access rights expire in a few months.
We've also been told off by the government people for having too many employees working unpaid overtime. We were trying our best to hide our tracks by changing the clocks on our PC so our emails get time stamped during office hours. But somewhere along the line, it was neglected to do the same for the server so we got found out + got bollocked for trying to hide it. Ooops...
So Yahoo employees may be complaining, but personally, I think working in an office is more productive.
My theory is that it's a brilliant plot to cut the headcount again without having to pay severance.
Did you ever see history portrayed as an old man with a wise brow and pulseless heart, waging all things in the balance of reason?
Is not rather the genius of history like an eternal, imploring maiden, full of fire, with a burning heart and flaming soul, humanly warm and humanly beautiful?
Training a telescope on one’s own belly button will only reveal lint. You like that? You go right on staring at it. I prefer looking at galaxies.
-- Sarah Hoyt
In my initial phase of career, I worked for few companies. There are basically 3 types of people in work place. Extremely gifted and try hard programmers, stupids and then managers.
Managers would call a meeting twice a day as it is their work. Stupids are too happy to attend those as they can't do any work and these rare species of programmers feels frustrated when building a model in their mind, they are distracted by the managers.
Then there are open cubicles, you can look around, you can hear around and you have no control over your thoughts. This was one of the primary reasons for my frequent switching of job initially and then dumping the whole idea of a job.
I have given liberty to my team to work wherever they can work and whatever amount of time they can work. At the end of the day all we care is a nice product. Don't care if someone does it in 2 hours or 20 hours. We do have occasional mandatory meet ups where we discuss about ideas and to do's . But once a product is voted for take up, we are all our own working in that. In office, home, park, I don't care.
For companies in real engineering, design, prototyping, product design you need to give space to every one to keep their brain fresh from worries of commutation and rushing and leaving office in time and of course to be away from stupids. In my country India, in cities like Bangalore employees spends four hours daily on commutation as most of the IT parks are way outside the city.
4 Hours of pure unproductive hassle has killed any scope of innovation or ground breaking work. Hope Yahoo does learn something from Bangalore story which promised a great contribution to IT a few years back but is now all about offshore and maintenance.
I think one of the difficulties is where IT managers have not been competent coders.
Any competent coder will probably hold your view - most of my solutions come about while I am away from the desk while walking, exercising or on the crapper.
Given this it is obvious to me that good coders are more akin to artists than bean counters and need room and space for their inspiration.
“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”
Yahoo is but a shadow of it's former glory. Time was when it dictated the rules we all followed. Now, they are trying to revive themselves. They were tossed overboard a long time ago. With their diminishing labour count I'd have thought they'd have embraced working from home. It means they could sell some of the properties.
"I do not have to forgive my enemies, I have had them all shot." — Ramón Maria Narváez (1800-68).
"I don't need to shoot my enemies, I don't have any." - Me (2012).
Anybody that wants to work for a living isn't in their right mind to start with. I'd bet YAHOO will be but a past memory of what once was in just a few short years. Monkey management- climb that ladder......
I work for a green business. Part of our green thing, is to work from home x% of the time. This turns out to be 1 day each week.
Work from home is not frowned upon, so long as it's not all the time. So we have each other spiratically working from home. We use Lync and tfs/git so there's no real reason to be in the office all the time. I'm very comfortable and productive from home.
I like the flexibility of setting my own hours at home. Yes I do. But my employer pays me and has the right to say how I should work. If I don't like it, I can find another job. Grow the heck up.
I am very productive when I work at home as a sole contributor. It's always quiet and I have total control over my environment, and it happens that I'm not a time-waster. But that's as a sole contributor.
I have worked in teams that allowed substantial work-at-home time. It is a fantasy that IRC is in any way a substitute for a face-to-face meeting. It's adequate for low-stakes meetings like status updates (in fact we developed the habit of pre-typing our status report and copy/pasting it into IRC, causing this meeting to take 60 seconds. When you try to do difficult, creative tasks like software design over IRC, a couple of senior, fast-typing voices dominate and you never hear from the junior or quiet or slow-typing colleagues that often have good insights when you can ask them in a face-to-face, "So what do *you* think?"
It is a fantasy that the tiny, jerky video windows and grotesque distorted audio of skype or google talk is any substitute for a face-to-face meeting. In my experience it is barely acceptable for low-stakes meetings. The very best possible results with skype and google talk are much better, but that requires every participant to have a high-speed data link, a quiet workspace, a headset/mic, and enough experience using this tool to mute their mic when they have a sniffling cold. In the more common case where participants are in a conference room using a laptop mic and webcam, the results are ludicrous.
We had to designate in-office days on which we could do the heavy lifting of design. That didn't suit some teammates' desire for total freedom plus their fat paycheck. Because some people are never satisfied. Grow the heck up.
Yes there are open source projects that make progress with no office and no face-to-face meetings. And the egos and political gaming in many open source projects are well documented. With no group norms and no mechanism to control egos, what do you expect? Is this the optimal way to complete a project of a given complexity? Don't think so.
Some employers (like my current one) are geographically distributed. We put up with skype because we *have to*. We have an open office in an old building because we can't afford better space today. We are not deluded enough to think the current situation is optimal. We attempt to compensate by hiring very senior people through a careful process. And yes, we telecommute when appropriate.
An open office is not conducive to thought-intensive work. It facilitates distraction and procrastination. Any employer who values productivity of their workers AND wants them to be physically close together had better provide offices with doors and walls that go all the way to the ceiling. This kind of office is a rare luxury nowadays.
Employers need to get their minds right; they cannot (1) support a claim to value productivity, (2) provide an open office (because it's cheapest), and (3) forbid telecommuting (because they claim to foster collaboration).
Personally, I think the best employers support an appropriate degree of telecommuting
This movement may cost Yahoo more than they think, given that most likely these telecommuters where far more productive in their homes than in their offices. Perhaps a middle ground solution would have been better, but well i'm not them.
Has anyone received the update yet?
I have a nokia lumia 800 and everything I read online says that they started rolling the update out on the first off february and would be complete 3 weeks later however I still haven't received the update yet.
I updated my 800 over 2 weeks ago. It was not a simple update at all and kinda a PITA. I did NOT use NaviFirm, but I had an unlocked one that Microsoft sent me and I had taken it off all of my accounts so I could not get an update from a carrier. Like I said, this is a pain, but worked for me. It actually updated the phone 3 times, so I had to do these steps for each time. My laptop that I did this on is runing Win8 x64, not that it should matter.
1. Turn off all wifi and cell signals on the phone. You can put it in airplane or just turn those things off.
2. Connect the phone to the computer and run the Zune software.
3. Go to the Settings -> Update section.
4. This is the painful part... hit the button to check for updates, after about 3 seconds disconnect your machine from the internet. If you get an error that says that it cannot check for updates, then reconnect and try again. You also could get it to say that there are no updates. Again, reconnect to the internet and try again. This took me about 10 times to get it to show the update.
5. When the screen shows that there is an update, reconnect to the internet before hitting the continue.
6. After it is complete, check your version to see if you have the latest one. Like I said above, I had to do these steps for 3 separate updates to get all the way to 7.8.
If you are on a carrier, it might be easier, but I know that this is how I updated my Lumia 800 up to 7.8.
Are you serious?
Pfff if it's that hard to do a simple update I might just not bother, since I'm sure my phone will be fully reset aswell afterwards and I'll have to make all my settings again (like last time I updated)
I'm not on a carrier, we don't really have that system over here you just buy the phone you want and every provider has to work with it.
I did try the update button in zune sync settings a couple times today but kept giving me the 'your phone is up to date' message (7.10 8773 if I'm not mistaken)
If it really takes that much effort to update microsoft is going really really wrong with this one.
I love my windows phone but that's just rediculous.
I totally agree with you. I am not what the issue was and why it would not recognise that there was an update. But even after the first update, it checks for more updates and that says that it is totally up-to-date, and I knew that it wasn't.
Last Visit: 31-Dec-99 19:00 Last Update: 24-Nov-17 14:33