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Discussion on: What's your NEW daily routine?

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Suzanne Aitchison

I joined the Forem team back in January, and like @maestromac mentioned in their comment, as a fully remote team already, things were fairly "business as usual".

However, before I joined Forem I worked for a classic 9 til 5 fintech company here in Scotland, and the pandemic had changed the role quite a lot! As a team we'd relied a lot on in-person "agile ceremonies" - e.g. daily stand-up meetings together, huge whiteboards with post-it notes everywhere, every piece of work "refined" by a cross-functional group of people.

It was a really interesting transition when the pandemic necessitated everyone move to working from home. I remember one of the project managers had to go into the office to take photos of the massive whiteboards and walls of post-its, and somehow translate it into something we could reference remotely 🤣

By the time I left in January, they were still figuring out how things would look post-pandemic, but a few things had changed for good:

  • New tools were in place to make remote work smoother (e.g. Miro for whiteboarding, reetro for retrospective meetings). No more walls of post-its!
  • Hours became more flexibe. They'd changed from being a 9 to 5 company to being a "core hours 10 - 3" company. The customer support team had some limitations on this, but generally it was more flexible than before.
  • Meetings were online by default
  • New initiatives had popped up to take the place of "face time" with colleagues - for example in the developent team we started a "tech talks club" where we watched a tech talk on YouTube together and discussed it (like a book club!) each week
  • Documentation got a lot better. This took a while to happen, but when we started to hire and onboard people during the pandemic, we ended up taking big leaps forward in documentation of everything from product roadmaps to things like a "who's who" directory of team members

I think my experience at that company was similar to what a lot of other developers experienced in the last year. I know that in the UK at least, a lot of these companies are still figuring out what roles will look like post-pandemic, but I think we are going to see a lot more flexibility and remote working.

I'm really happy to see a lot of companies officially confirming that they'll continue to offer remote work/flexible hours - it's something people with disabilities, caring responsibilities, and so on have been asking for for a long time. I also think that now developers have had a taste of this kind of flexibility, we'll not be keen to give it up any time soon, and companies that do insist on a 9-5 office-based set up will soon find it difficult to attract new hires 😄

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AdPerci Author

I completely agree that flexible working will be staying with companies for quite a while! I read a piece on BBC News today regarding a think tank expecting 9-5 5-days-a-week office working to be the norm again in 2 years time. There argument is that companies are missing the creative flair that comes with working in an office, as employees can bounce ideas off of each other in their workspace, rather than joining scheduled online calls to discuss whatever the topic may be. The creative flair that sparks ideas comes at random.

Would you say that's accurate? I personally can't see 9-5 coming back within the next 5 years, let alone 2!

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Suzanne Aitchison

In tech roles I really doubt 9-5 in-office working is going to be the "norm" going forward, and I suspect that any company enforcing that is going to find it harder to attract talent (unless they are FAANG companies, in which case they can do what they like and still attract high-quality applicants 😅 ).

From what I've seen in my local area, there are many companies who have really invested in remote work, finding alternative ways to foster creativity and connection in their teams other than "being in the same room". This is purely based on what I hear from my local network, but it sounds to me like these companies are unlikely to go fully back to the old 9-5-office-based work because they've invested in all these alternative strategies and their team values the flexibility.

It's also opened up recruitment for them - for example my old employer used to really struggle to recruit above entry-level positions. There are a lot of tech companies based in Edinburgh, and people get snapped up very quickly! Being able to hire outside of the geographic area has been huge for them.

I guess time will tell, but hopefully some amount of flexibility will be the new normal 😄