There’s no place like home. Some of the time.

After two years of working from home full time, I was eager to get back into the office. According to Bloomberg, early corporate adopters of telecommuting are changing their minds about the practice too and perhaps going too far:

Bad News, Your Boss Wants You Back in the Office

One point BBG raises is that companies organize work and themselves differently now; that’s particularly true for software development. For major multinational companies, there are competing pressures: Methodologies like agile benefit from co-located teams, but those teams can span a dozen timezones. The latter is compounded when the majority of the team is in one place and the rest are scattered haphazardly around the globe. It’s all the isolation without any of the benefits if those workers are forced into the office too. I wonder how IBM is addressing those competing pressures?

For me, the sweet spot is 2-3 days a week either way. On my current project, an aforementioned multinational globe-spanning project, I’ve also been half-day telecommuting. I get early-morning teleconferences with far-East team members without an even-earlier-morning wake-up call (yuck) or wasting my time in rush-hour traffic (double yuck). Lunch is either at home, in the city, or in the burbs. Then I finish out the day in the burbs and can spend the evening visiting sub-urban friends or indulging my fetish for things you put other things into. While I still like full days at home or the office, this has been a useful compromise.

I don’t think I’d ever take a job that requires 100% office attendance again. My previous rule of thumb was not spending more than 5 hours per work week commuting: that’s time I can’t control and don’t get paid for, and that’s not good business. There may be exceptions to the rule, and I see a few outside my window. I’ve lived and worked in San Francisco and New York, but not in Philly and not for lack of trying. Maybe that will change when Minas Morgul opens. Pretty, pretty, pretty nice. Are the Nazgul still on back order?


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