Do we need remote work in the tech industry?
You may feel that too many myths have grown up around this topic, and we can certainly say that many candidates are not fully aware of the current market situation. As the days get shorter and shorter, and people find it much rarer to find the motivation to leave the house, we thought it was the perfect time to take a look at remote work. Is it really as much of a convenience as many people think? Do we still need remote work in technology companies?
Remote work has many faces
Contrary to common opinion, working remotely does not necessarily mean yet that the person doing it has to perform their duties at home. According to our research, a large proportion of specialists in the tech industry like to work in cafes and workspaces - these are excellent places for people who want to separate (at least temporarily) their professional and private spheres.
Surprisingly, the number of so-called digital nomads is also expanding - it is now estimated at up to 35 million.
Is this a lifestyle that any of us can afford? Absolutely not - in addition to family or language issues, we need to keep in mind the policy of many companies preventing work outside the country of contract. This is due, among other things, to issues of an insurance nature, and the vast majority of digital nomads are in fact freelancers who provide their services to a few companies, although of course there are exceptions.
The vast majority of people, of course, choose to work from home - this is confirmed by research conducted by Cisco, according to which as many as 74% of employees have improved their family relationships precisely because of home office. However, a hybrid model is also valued - when such an opportunity arises, 87% of people choose it, and 58% of Generation Z representatives plan to change their place of employment due to their aversion to staying at the office.
Is remote work profitable for companies?
We are aware that there is no work regime that suits everyone. At the same time, we should admit that probably everyone who has worked from home at least some of the time has happened to perform their duties with less commitment. Of course, many people also perceive reduced efficiency of employees staying in the office, but the presence of teammates can be motivating.
Intuition would suggest that remote working would have a negative impact on the organization's cultures. However, Cisco once again comes to us with an answer - according to this company's research, as many as 57% of respondents noticed an improvement in this area, with the percentage reaching as high as 62% among millenials! The reasons for the phenomenon mentioned above can be found primarily in:
- Reduction in the degree of formalization of the workplace (no dress code);
- Increasing the diversity of an organization's workforce - U.S.-based technology companies alone have increased foreign hiring by 74%, with Poland being one of the beneficiaries;
- The importance of remote work for the employees themselves - as many as 87% said that flexibility is key to team satisfaction.
Note also that opening up to remote work is a great way to reduce costs. This solution has been used by companies opening branches in Mexico, Argentina, Pakistan or Poland. In this case, the pandemic was the de facto reason for the sudden change - it was due to the pandemic that we had to quickly develop mechanisms for faster information transfer and learned that the office is not the most important component of a company's branch - the people are.
On the other hand, globalization of employment is very useful in social terms - it clearly reduces the wage gap between developed and developing countries. Ethnic and cultural diversity also makes it possible to source talents from a much wider pool than before. According to studies, programmers coming from Poland and other former Eastern Bloc countries are considered above average.
Are we sure it's that great?
Unfortunately, remote work comes with its drawbacks - first and foremost, it means a drastic reduction in interpersonal contact. While there are certainly people who don't need interaction with a team to be happy and prefer to spend time with their friends and family, during the pandemic we noticed that quite a large proportion of candidates would like to show up at the office from time to time. This was especially the case if their previous experience with stationary work was positive. Besides, we have to openly admit that teams integrate much better if the people belonging to them are in one place at least for part of the week.
Working from home also affects the onboarding process - the implementation of new employees is different (and much slower). In fact, it is impossible to completely familiarize this person with the team in which he or she works. We found studies that show that about 30% of the time spent at a "regular" job is spent searching for information, but when performing duties from home, this result increases. Among other things, this is due to the impaired exchange of information between team members. Leaving aside the social aspect of this problem, it is important to note the less effective transfer of knowledge between people at different stages of professional development, and this reflects very negatively on the performance of juniors and interns.
For the past few months, we have noticed that an increasing number of companies are abandoning remote work in favor of a hybrid or entirely onsite model. For products that are updated several times a month, having a team in one place is key, as troubleshooting simply goes faster. It may seem that methodologies such as DevOps are even made for office working.
While the decision to return to office work may not be satisfying for many of us, it has to be accepted - globally, this is a market trend. As of 2022, in both the United States and Western European countries, the vast majority of organizations are looking to switch back to office work. Unfortunately, in this regard, we still lag a bit behind neighboring countries, even such as Germany and the Czech Republic.
Is remote work a benefit?
As an IT recruitment company, we perform market analysis for our clients frequently. Our research has shown that many people regard working from home as a distinct advantage, and a large proportion of candidates condition their decision to participate in the recruitment process on this very aspect.
Back in our 2022 summary, we wrote that up to 1/3 of IT professionals are willing to earn less if, in return, they can work from home. While we would be hard pressed to find more up-to-date data, these statistics still illustrate reality well. We can confidently say that the home office is doing well and often determines success in recruitment.
What about hybrid work?
It seems that the global labor market has independently developed a solution that reduces the disadvantages of both working from home and from the office. The hybrid model allows employees to schedule their time more flexibly - by staying home on Friday, they can finish work evenly at 3pm, and thus spend more time with family or friends. On the other hand, people hired under this model still show up at the office, so they can participate more in the life of the team, consult on taking actions on a regular basis and maintain better contact with other members of the organization.
Will the entire technology industry switch to hybrid mode in some time? Or maybe we will find out that spending time in the office is simply inefficient and working from home is the best possible solution? We don't know, but if you're interested in IT recruitment, we have great news for you - we regularly publish the most important information about our industry on our blog and Linkedin profile. Don't wait, follow us today!