Remote Working vs Office Working: What do developers prefer?
Should we stay fully remote? Should we go back into the office three days a week? Or shall we return to the office full time again?
These are the questions all businesses and HR departments are pondering at the moment.
Essentially the answers come down to the specific needs and requirements of your business and the way employees would ideally like to work, according to their own unique responsibilities.
All businesses are different but despite many developers working successfully remotely for years prior to the pandemic, the current reality is that the vast majority of software developers are now permanently working remotely five days a week. Is this really the new normal? If so, is everyone happy about it?
The very nature of software engineering requires quiet thinking and focus time. Developers don’t always need to be client facing or engage with lots of stakeholders, so encouraging them into an office just because ‘everyone else is’ could prove costly.
Currently, there are many businesses that feel like they can’t have one rule for one and another rule for someone else, however if you consider the following points, it appears that many businesses have been adopting different rules across their companies without realising for a while. Some people may have different start times than others, different dress codes depending on how client-facing they are, some individuals even have a different standard of IT equipment depending what department they sit in. These differences internally have existed for years with very little friction, so why not have your developer working from home when they can, even if most members of the business are back working in the office?
As each day passes, more and more businesses are announcing their post-covid’ and ‘back to reality’ working policies. Without a doubt, the policies that are best received by their teams are the ones where employees and candidates alike are free to choose. Not everyone wants to work from home day in day out (although for many developers this is their preference) thus the ability to choose is really important. Where that choice is not present, we are seeing candidates coming to us looking for new work who would not be job-seeking if they had been given greater choice in the matter.
Those companies that have gone fully remote and lost the office altogether are wrestling with the challenges of creating and maintaining their own distinct culture and overcoming the fact that some things, such as collaborative brainstorming sessions are naturally, better in person.
It is very interesting to acknowledge that many organisations who had previously held the ‘traditional’ working option as the go-to choice are now more than happy to adopt a flexible working option for developers, having seen only positive impacts on developer output.
Of all the recent developer candidates we have taken on board in the past few months the outcome is clear. More than 60% of candidates prefer to work fully remotely whilst about 25% of candidates like a hybrid approach with only one or two days spent in the office.
Determining factors that impacted these decisions revolved around whether the work required would be highly secure or in a regulated environment and, for more junior roles, whether a high degree of training would be involved.
Every individual and every business’ circumstances are different, so there will never be a ‘right’ answer to the current working dilemma. What the developer candidate market is looking for is a choice in the matter. They don’t want team members to be treated differently or have access to different opportunities because of the avenue they choose. Those businesses that can provide flexibility in choice surrounding working preferences are those that continue to retain their software teams and are the most appealing to those software developers looking to make a move.
If you’d like to speak with us and how other businesses are tackling questions regarding their benefits packages (we don’t mean office fruit of pizza Fridays) in an ever-changing working world, then don’t be a stranger. Drop us a line to work with us to help retain and improve your working culture.
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