Is Work from Home Here to Stay in Software Development?
By Yousef Awad, CEO
The past two years have made companies across every industry redefine working environments. As the work-from-home life has been on the rise, and seemingly here to stay, professions that have long been heavy on face-to-face communication have had to make some major adjustments.
According to recent studies conducted since the start of the pandemic in 2020, 16% of companies worldwide are now 100% remote and 77% of remote workers report that they are more productive when working remotely. Still, 44% of companies worldwide are not allowing remote work. So, where do companies go from here?
At Integrant, we’ve seen firsthand the positive and negative effects that remote working can have on the software development industry and the people who work here. Through close observation, I feel confident sharing our experiences, opinions, and our future game plan regarding the work-from-home lifestyle.
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Why We've Been Successful Working from Home
When it comes to building a successful work environment, you must acknowledge, address, and assess every roadblock you face along the way. While navigating the work-from-home lifestyle, we observed the following drawbacks:
- Overworking and burnout
- Lack of social components that a physical office provides
How exactly did these drawbacks affect us and how did we overcome them?
The first issue that became very apparent when the world transitioned to work from home status was burnout. While productivity was high, when you are consistently working and living in one space, the line between work life and home life quickly blurs.
One of our objectives as a company is to create the best workplace on earth. That includes everyone on our team being able to create a sustainable work-life balance.
Working from home began to put a strain on knowing when to stop working. While it may seem beneficial through a productivity lens, the line between passion and burnout is a tricky place to be. Burnout ultimately leads to general dissatisfaction with one's work life and can potentially derail the progress of any ongoing projects.
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One effective solution for preventing burnout is by checking in with your team members. We put great emphasis on transparency with both clients and our team members which includes encouraging everyone to feel comfortable with open communication. Starting the conversation with our team members about feelings of burnout and how to know when to stop working is a critical component to ensuring everyone is keeping up a healthy work-life balance.
One of our tools at Integrant that helps facilitate these lines of communications with team members is our squad leads. Squad leads are an integral part of our work from home success and serve as the main support system for all of our team members. Our squad leads meet each of their team members one-to-one each month to understand their needs, progress, and share company status and goals.
One thing a physical office provides is social interaction and a collaborative work environment. My concern with a full-time work-from-home lifestyle directly relates to the lack of a social atmosphere. We are social creatures. Aside from our vision of being able to transform the software development lifecycle, many of our core values as a company relate to being able to directly support our team members and clients.
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While transitioning to work from home, it was important to me that we discover ways to keep up our social support ecosystem, despite no longer being face-to-face. Some eye-openers during this time revolved around the insight that remote work and social interaction is a person-by-person situation. There isn’t going to be one answer that will fit the needs of every team member.
One solution to maintaining a social atmosphere moving forward is opening more offices in areas where significant populations of our team members' homes are located. Commuting is a large part of millions of people’s work-day routines when not working from home. Our team members in Egypt include anywhere from 2-5 hours round-trip in their plans for when the work-from-home life eases.
By opening additional office spaces in areas more accessible to our teams and helping to eliminate some of that travel time, we can help ease the stress that comes from not working remotely and allow for our team members to again take advantage of that social atmosphere as needed. We have currently opened one additional office in Nasr City and look forward to opening two more later in 2022.
Remotely Managing Productivity on Enterprise Projects
Being a software development company, we work on many high-volume projects for a multitude of clients. One common concern from the client’s end is, “how do you manage productivity while everyone is working from a different space?
This question is fair, and for us, easy to answer. Productivity in a work-from-home environment is going to be another person-by-person situation. Everyone has their ways of staying focused throughout the day and it’s important to lend everyone the trust and responsibility of being able to apply their tools for staying productive.
For our clients, we have a great platform that allows our clients to monitor the process of a project in real-time. CodeVoyance, gives our team members a level of accountability and our clients and stakeholders visibility, predictability, and transparency for how their project is going.
Why Taking More Breaks Can Help Productivity
Through the many trials and errors of navigating work-from-home life, the advantages of taking breaks have been plentiful. While taking breaks may seem counterproductive to some, for many people more breaks lead to increased productivity, creativity, and innovative thinking. We encourage our team members to take breaks when they need them to help prevent brain fog and burnout in the future.
To help our team members take longer breaks more freely, our 4Plus1 Shadow Engineering Program provides great support. 4Plus1 allows our teams to take time as needed—whether it be for a little refresh and recharge or for career development—without their current projects seeing any effects. Having an extra person there who knows exactly what’s happening in the project and how to step in seamlessly is an excellent way to tend to the needs of our clients and team members simultaneously.
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Why We Believe in a Hybrid Work Schedule
So, two years into the work-from-home transition, what do we see in our future?
While, as a company, we are still respecting and adhering to the ever-changing circumstances of the state of the world, we do have a running plan of what the future may hold post-pandemic. Our plans include more offices in closer proximity to our team members and the option to take part in a hybrid work model.
With a hybrid environment, maintaining a healthy work-life balance will be more sustainable and attainable for all of our team members. By providing a space for everyone to create clear boundaries between home life and work life a few days a week, we believe it will be easier to sustain a healthy relationship with work.
This solution will also allow for our team members to keep up their social support systems in designated areas of communication and collaboration. While we still make every effort to upkeep this support system while working remotely, being hybrid will provide every team member the opportunity to regain some of the face-to-face interaction that we have been missing.
As a company, Integrant has done everything we can to adapt to the times and provide accurate support and avenues of communication for all of our team members. To learn more about our core values and mission, visit our website. You can learn more about our tools like CodeVoyance and how they can help in your next project by getting in contact with us today!
About the Author: Yousef Awad
Yousef Awad is the CEO of Integrant Inc, a company that reflects his personal and professional values and prioritizes relationship building and predictability. Prior to starting Integrant in 1992, Yousef spent much of his career on the technical side of software development. This experience solidified and fueled his vision to start Integrant. Yousef has dedicated the last 30 years to building Integrant’s brand, recruiting and retaining the best employees, and strengthening relationships with our customers. Yousef considers himself a customer and employee advocate, always striving to do what’s in the best interests of customers and employees alike, prioritizing transparent, long-term partnerships.