Remote working: Is Big Tech going off work from home?

On Wednesday last week, Google’s Fiona Cicconi wrote to company employees.

She announced that Google was bringing forward its timetable of moving people back into the office.

As of 1 September, she said, employees wishing to work from home for more than 14 days would have to apply to do so.

Employees were also expected to “live within commuting distance” of offices. No cocktails by the beach with a laptop, then.

The intention was very clear. Sure, you can do more flexible working than you did before - but most people will still have to come into the office.

That thinking seemed to fly in the face of much of what we heard from Silicon Valley executives last year, when they championed the virtues of remote working…

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It’s unavoidable. There are a lot of people who don’t enjoy remote work. We shouldn’t try forcing it on them.

But whether they will try to force on-site work on us the remote workers again is the more pertinent question IMO.


Speaking only from a software dev point of view:
If the employer owns the building it is more tempting to call people back to work at the company office. On the other hand, if the employer leases some space in a building it will be more reasonable to go fully remote.
Personally I would prefer to be 100% remote with occasional meetings (every couple of weeks/months) with the full team.


This seems like the bets option for a lot of companies imo - much better for the environment and for people’s own health too (less time spent community, less stressful, etc).

I think for startups or some other companies working in a face-to-face scenario can help… tho maybe tech will help bridge the gap, with things like holograms or virtual offices that can replicate the experience authentically? (Could be a project for you Dimi!)


Oh, absolutely. It’s even crucial for mega-fast iteration. I am not against it, I just don’t want that way of work for myself. I am never going to try and prevent other people from doing it – even if I had the power to do so.

But let’s be honest. For like 95% of all IT companies out there, being in the office is just backwards thinking and simply going through the motions, perpetuating the cycle that your first conservative boss have put you in.

You are severely overestimating me. :face_with_hand_over_mouth:


… but think about the teeeeeeaaaammmm !!!

  • How will team building dynamics work remotely?
  • What about that chat by the coffee machine with a colleague on another team that said something and sent you off to save the world?
  • What about the Friday afternoon beers, or any beers, with your office mates?
  • And do you really think your teammates are the people you get on with best in your company?
  • How will innovation thrive digitally?
  • Where do you get inspiration? Well, yeah, that one is easy … :rofl:

I personally don’t see a 100% virtual office working.
You absolutely need external inputs from your professional environment.

10 months ago I was all for staying at home, but now I am not so sure. I am so numbed interacting with the same 8 personalities every day!! I feel like I have gone down a rabbit hole and now I don’t see anything anymore. It’s like there’s no colour.

What we’ll probably see in the near future at least will be some form of hot-desking, or a higher tolerance for working from home or company policies of, say, 20% of your time is in the office.
Bottom line though - innovation is screwed.

DISCLAIMER: The above opinion is that of an ageing developer from another millennium and not to be taken seriously


Personally I can’t see myself working in an office type environment now having worked from home for so long but I guess that’s easier when you work for yourself or part of a small team (for bigger teams, I think what I’ve added below in response to Finner might be worth considering?)

I’m sure you could do it if you really wanted to Dimi! Where there’s a will there’s a way and all that :nerd_face:

I hear ya… but what about regular meet-ups? I think that would make the occasions much more social too - in fact I think ‘work’ should be more social and more personal full stop (I personally feel a ‘job’ is ideally best as an extension of our own personal interests) :blush:

Good one :joy:

Seriously tho, online spaces like this are a great way to get to know people, build relationships, network etc. Look how many people we’ve met here and how we’ve been getting to know each other over the past few months (and past few years on some of the other forums like the Elixir Forum) :orange_heart:

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That, my friend, is called retirement :desert_island:

That calls for a group hug :hugs:


I must be one of the lucky ones :blush: …tho it does come with some drawbacks - you can end up working too much, in some ways there’s more stress (in some ways, less), you could probably earn more working for a big company, etc.

I think the downsides are worth it tho; you often hear of people who hate their jobs and I can imagine how awful that might be (I probably couldn’t even do it as I have the type of personality where if my heart isn’t in something, or the reason for doing something isn’t compelling enough, then I would struggle to do it).

:hugs: :hugs: :hugs: :hugs: :hugs: :smiley:


WFH does have some impact towards about the work relationship.
Working physically together definitely would be more dedicated and collaborate among co-workers easier.

However, it does not sound to be a bad idea to have some work from home days. Especially developers spend a lot of time to talk to computers only.


I just saw this today:

Sorry for the link rendering above. Bloomberg isn’t happy about embedding links to their site apparently. :man_shrugging:

There were several folks commenting on this on Twitter today as well. I think Seth Vargo from GCP said it best:

“Choice first”…simply because people work differently.