You should go back to the office, to help your boss understand you

Shadows are lurking behind your working-from-home chair. There is one big one big disadvantage egoistic developers fail to see.

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Pro and Contra

Some studies try to analyze what kind of person can successfully work from home. Remote work is the future.

On the other hand, some CEOs say working from home is for slackers. And it might not be good for your career.

For companies, one of the key benefits is the enlargement of the talent pool, which is no longer restricted to geographical locations. This can lead to a salary decrease/stagnation in today’s hotspots.

Why you should consider returning to office even if you think it is a bad idea

Engineers are selfish

As an engineer, it is often preferable to think about one’s own needs. What works best for you? How do you get your work done? We prefer tranquil workplaces with a focused daily work schedule. The software developers’ work hell is a noisy environment with lots of spontaneous communication and interruptions.

Manager vs. Maker

Some articles try to explain why the management prefers working in the office and makers prefer to work from home, the maker vs. manager schedule. It comes down to schedule management and unplanned interruptions. This point is much more related to the current office culture and design.

Were we all to have our private spaces and proper meeting planning, then there is little difference between the two schedule types.

Management is not the problem.

The manager’s schedule only partly explains the manager’s preference for working in an office. After all, many project managers face distributed teams and external collaborators. They spent their day almost entirely on the phone. A more structured day with fewer interruptions is better in this setting.

People management methods

However, this neglects one thing. Most of today’s organizations are still power structures. Hierarchy is still predominant. Even flat hierachies are hierachies. Someone pulls the shots, and the majority has to play up.

This also includes performance evaluation.

Managers need to gauge the performance of their associates. During the extended working-from-home periods, many managers saw their effectiveness decrease.

With Covid less threatening than before, they prefer to have everybody working in an office. But this is merely saying my trusted method does not work in a new situation; I want to return to the old position.

Why classic supervision fails

The traditional evaluation methods fail due to availability bias. We only can judge things we are aware of. Humans tend to think of less visible people as less important.

Everybody knows this mind trick: Failing to recall an instance of success means there is no success. Does it? This is why personal contribution always feels much more significant than it is in reality. We all are the best engineer of the team.

We like what we know

This psychological bias always has been at play in office politics. It is one of the cornerstones of successfully managing your boss. Talk more to the boss, and his perception of yourself will be more present in his consciousness.

Even more, this process is self-reinforcing. If you always talk to the same person, you have a specific preference for this person’s success. Compared with other people, you will expect your favorite to succeed better.

Preventing such fallacies requires training and intensive reflection.

Before the massive working-from-home period, the brain was busy treating the mental load of daily office work. Reflection is usually the first thing to be abandoned.

Only as the in-office interactions dried up did most supervisors realize that they were left apart from what was happening and were less effective in doing their job.

Naturally, the easiest thing to do is to go back to the office.

The wise engineer is seen and known.

So as an engineer, it would be best if you went back to the office to give your supervisor a chance to evaluate your performance with his old methods.

As a supervisor, the task is much greater. You need to rise above yourself and overcome your biases and prejudices toward your employees. Give training and reflection the essential place that they deserve. Figure out how to effectively monitor performance during remote work.