It is said that engineers are increasingly working remotely as the environment for remote work has improved. The movement to promote remote work is progressing mainly among major manufacturers, and various remote work support tools have been released.
Remote work, which is freed from time and place restrictions, has great benefits such as improving work-life balance by shortening commuting time.
This time, we will thoroughly explain how engineers work in such a remote work era.
Does remote work suit the way engineers work?
Even if we say engineers, in a nutshell, there is a wide range of genres of engineers, and each of them has a different way of working. Therefore, here, we will roughly classify them into software systems and hardware systems, and we will explain their fine suitability and unsuitability within them.
Software engineers, who mainly focus on programming, are suitable for remote work. In particular, occupations such as web engineers and programmers who spend a lot of time working alone can be said to be suitable for remote work. If a problem occurs, it can be resolved by utilizing screen sharing, text chat, voice chat, etc. using tools. In addition, since the development environment of the cloud is getting ready, it can be said that it is suitable for remote work in that fewer scenes interfere with work collaboration.
However, not all software engineers are suitable. For example, in the case of projects such as software development or financial systems, remote work may be difficult due to confidentiality issues.
Network engineers, infrastructure engineers, server engineers, embedded engineers, etc. are fields where remote work is difficult. These engineers often work in the field, requiring physical work such as wiring and setting up equipment. It would be difficult for engineers, who are supposed to work directly with products under the client, to shift from their current work style to remote work.
Relationship between freelance engineers and remote work
In general, freelance has an image of SOHO or homework, and at first glance, it can be said that it is a type of job suitable for remote work. However, in the case of freelance engineers, excluding small-scale development that can be done by one person, the common contract form is still the form of staying at the client company. Client companies often do not have a working environment for remote work yet, and, contrary to the general image of the world, freelance engineers are still not recruited for remote work.
However, freelance engineers who can work at their discretion are very suitable for remote work as working content. If the environment is ready, it is expected that the number of freelance engineers working remotely will increase in the future.
Even if it is difficult to work fully remotely from the beginning, you may be able to switch your work style by gaining trust with your skills and humanity as a resident for a certain period. Remote work is recommended if both parties agree.
Benefits of remote work for engineers
Remote work has great benefits not only for engineers who are freed from commuting time but also for companies. Let’s look at them in order.
Advantages of remote work from an engineer’s perspective
You can work in your favorite environment, so you can reduce stress and concentrate on development. The environment is not only the place where you develop, but also everything from the PC you use, the line, the display, the peripheral equipment such as the keyboard and mouse, and the selection of the desk and chair that suits your body.
Also, depending on the form of remote work, it is possible to change the work location, such as home or coworking space, depending on the mood. In this way, being able to build an environment that improves productivity by yourself is a great advantage of remote work.
・Reduction of commuting time
If you work from home or in a nearby coworking space, your commute time will be greatly reduced. Commuting during rush hours can be physically and mentally taxing, especially if you work late at night, and when you get home, you may be exhausted and just fall asleep.
However, by shortening commuting time, you can find time to balance your life and work, and it is not difficult to aim for career advancement by studying to improve your skills and acquire qualifications.
・Reduction of stress
In addition to the stress of the development environment and the burden of commuting, employees face many other types of stress. For example, if you are stationed at a customer site, you will be working under the client company, so you must always be aware of the client’s eyes and keep your guard up. Also, although it is a small detail, it can be said that it is stressful to be interrupted by an unexpected call while you are concentrating on development.
By working remotely, such stress is greatly reduced and it is possible to face the work that should be focused on.
Advantages of remote work from a corporate perspective
Not only the engineering side but also the company side benefits are not small. From the perspective of companies, remote work has significant benefits related to management, such as enhanced employee benefits and reduced costs for in-house equipment.
・ Opportunity to hire excellent engineers
You can start recruiting that you couldn’t do before, such as people who couldn’t be hired due to distance conditions, or people who were attracted to remote work in the first place.
As restrictions on distance and location are relaxed, more people can be approached, increasing the chances of finding and hiring excellent engineers. In addition, by enabling remote work, it will be possible to manage work remotely, so it will be possible to respond more flexibly to short-time work and part-time work.
The introduction of remote work will also lead to the enhancement of welfare programs such as returning to work after maternity leave and childcare leave and childcare support. For excellent female engineers who gave up their careers due to pregnancy and childbirth, adopting remote work not only allows them to return to work while reducing the burden of commuting but also allows them to get married and give birth in the future. It can be said that it is also attractive to young female engineers who are
・Cost can be reduced
By moving to remote work and reducing the number of people working in-house, it may be possible to reduce various expenses such as maintenance costs for large offices, utility costs, commuting allowances, and equipment to be prepared by the company. If fewer employees eventually come to work, you can review the size of the office you need, which can lead to lower costs such as rent and property taxes.
Disadvantages of engineers working remotely
Remote work isn’t the only benefit. Some people may not be suitable for remote work because self-management is important.
Also, when working from home, it can be difficult to separate work and personal time when other family members are at home. There are cases where employees think that working from home gives them more freedom of time, and in some cases, instructions from companies do not consider break times, the start and end of workdays, and holidays.
Disadvantages of remote work from an engineer’s perspective
-Difficult to self-manage
One of the difficulties with remote work is self-management. When you are at home, you may not be able to switch mentally because you are in your living space, and you may not be able to concentrate on your work, or you may be distracted by things other than work, which may hinder your efficiency.
There is also the problem of being lazy because you can’t concentrate on your work, but the more serious problem is that the line between work and work becomes ambiguous and you end up in a state of overwork. There are also cases where you become overly tense and lose sight of when you should take a break, damaging your body because you are working remotely.
・Communication is difficult
There is no problem if you just write the source code according to the instructions, but if you do not take the necessary communication in the project consciously to some extent, it will soon become insufficient. If you focus too much on your work, you will not be able to cooperate with others, and as a result, postponing the solution of the problem may eventually lead to irreversible trouble.
If you are there, you can talk to each other and get together as soon as you notice something is wrong, but in the case of remote work, you need to proactively get cooperation yourself.
In addition, since casual communication between employees, such as going to lunch outside of work and casual chatting at the rest area, decreases, the sense of isolation and loneliness increases, and the sense of belonging to the company weakens. is also a concern.
Disadvantages of remote work from a corporate perspective
・Difficult to manage attendance
Attendance management for remote work is difficult to grasp, making it difficult to grasp actual working hours and manage overtime hours. In addition, there is a part that must be left to the autonomy of employees to understand their working conditions and whether they are not lazy.
To solve this problem, some companies are trying to take measures by introducing systems such as managing by logging in/out time to a specific page, introducing an online virtual office system, and going to work in a virtual space.
There are several services for monitoring slacking at work, such as a system that sends screenshots of the desktop to administrators at regular intervals. However, in any case, introduction requires cost and preparation time.
・Security management is difficult
When dealing with highly confidential data, there is a problem of security management being more difficult than in-house or when stationed at a client company. Since the risk of information leakage increases, countermeasures are costly.
Many things need to be done, such as formulating security policies, thoroughly managing data and devices, managing passwords, locking accounts in the event of loss, and unifying access methods to internal servers. is asked.
・Requires initial investment
When introducing remote work, it is necessary to anticipate a certain amount of initial investment. In addition to the cost of attendance management systems and security measures suitable for remote work, as introduced so far, if you only have a desktop PC, the cost of switching to a laptop PC and the human resources required to manage and operate such things Cost must also be considered.
The initial investment required for remote work varies greatly depending on the company, but it can be quite a big deal if you have little preparation, so be careful.
Why not try remote work, which has many benefits for engineers?
Remote work is still new as a way of working, and it will probably continue to spread throughout society. To enjoy the benefits of remote work, it is necessary to thoroughly manage self-management, build a work environment, and understand family members.
Remote work is not suitable for some people, but if the conditions are met, the company will give engineers a great advantage. In particular, it is a great advantage to be freed from the heavy physical and mental burden of commuting and to make it easier to secure private time. By using remote work, companies and engineers can have a win-win relationship, so please try new ways of working.
Pasona Tech has a lot of job information that allows remote work. There are various projects such as design systems, data science, and cloud development. If any company is interested, please apply. (As of March 2020)