- Eighty-six percent of IT developers work remotely, with almost one-third working from home full time, according to a study by DigitalOcean, a cloud-based platform. Of the more than 4,500 respondents to the study, Currents: A Seasonal Report on Developer Trends in the Cloud: Remote Work Edition, 43% said that the ability to work remotely is "a must-have" when considering a job offer.
- Contrary to the belief that remote workers are isolated and disengaged from the workforce, 71% of respondents who work remotely said they feel connected to their organization’s community. However, the 29% of remote workers who feel isolated said they're disengaged from their company's culture and excluded from offline conversations with team members when working offsite. Seventy-six percent of respondents expected remote work to offer more work-life balance, but many reported working longer hours and that their work-life balance was only slightly better than their onsite colleagues.
- Although remote work is considered the norm for developers, a plurality (47%) started working offsite between one and four years ago. The study also found that on a scale of 1-5, a flexible work schedule was "very important" to many of the respondents (44%).
Remote work has swiftly become a norm, especially in a tight labor market with more specialized jobs. Since 2005, the number of U.S. employees who work from home at least half the time has more than doubled, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But employers have been comparably slow in outlining how such arrangements work for their companies; a majority of employers surveyed in a 2018 Upwork study lacked any official remote work policy.
"Big companies are operating in the same mode as in the 20th century, but how managers work with their teams has changed rapidly," Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel previously told HR Dive. Managers tend to create or execute such policies in lieu of any official company stance, though any company policy put in place need not be stringent to function, as the Upwork study showed.
As more employees in general see flexible scheduling as the norm, employers may need to adjust how they engage employees who may not always be in the office. Ensuring remote workers can be part of the company's day-to-day conversation as well as easily access their managers when needed is key. Communication is critical to engaging remote workers, the DigitalOcean study showed. Developers' communication choices in order of preference were: workplace collaboration software, like Slack and Skype for Business; instant messaging; email; texting and calling over phone; and video, such as GoToMeeting and Hangouts.