It’s time to re-evaluate remote work for ColdFusion Developers. Employers would be able to tap into a much larger pool of talent, and more developers would be able to find jobs that fit their needs. All of this could go a step further towards resolving a major issue with the ColdFusion community that has haunted us for years.
One of ColdFusion’s biggest challenges is connecting the people who are developers, and the employers looking for people to fill their positions. I’ve heard this for (literally) decades.
ColdFusion Developer: “Man… fewer and fewer companies are hiring ColdFusion developers any more!”
ColdFusion Employer: “Man… it’s getting harder and harder to find qualified ColdFusion talent any more!”
Qualified ColdFusion talent is difficult to come by, which is why I’m surprised when I see job notifications that read “must be in-office” or “on-location only.” Some postings seem offended by the notion that someone would want to work remotely with large “NO TELECOMMUTING” messages in big bold red letters.
As a web developer by trade, I’ve used the phrase “I could be on the North Pole… as long as I have broadband internet, I can produce software.” The internet is (almost) everywhere, and its availability in the future is only going to be more and more ubiquitous. So why are so many job opportunities on-site only?
In the ColdFusion Job Resource group on Facebook, and the CFML Slack “Jobs” channel, the number one question I see when someone posts a job listing is “are you considering remote workers?” With the recent pandemic of COVID-19, I’ve heard from friends and co-workers that their company’s clients are asking questions about the company’s remote telework options for their employees. If clients are asking about it, you can be well assured companies are re-evaluating allowing some employees to work remotely.
And quite frankly, I’m glad. I’ve been a big proponent of allowing developers to work remotely, whether that is from a home office, or anywhere they can be productive. Most employees state that they are happier when they are able to work remotely. They have more personal time available in the day and save money on commuting time and costs, and they’re more comfortable, which tends to lead to higher productivity.
Here are the major reasons I’ve heard against allowing remote work:
We like to be able to pop-in and have a face-to-face meeting.
There is a value to in-the-office face-time. There is an advantage to being able to have quick meetings, and to be able to pop your head into someone’s office to ask a quick question. However, these are also distractions that take away from the head-down development that developers require to crank out work.
I have worked for clients where, during work hours, I would stay logged into a video chat room like Google Hangouts or whereby.com. Managers or co-workers could “pop-in” to the room whenever they liked, so the notion of needing to be in the same space in order to have quick doorway meetings is, in my opinion, easily resolved with technology.
I like to know and be able to see what my employees are doing
I’ve heard this and thought “oh, so you’re a micromanager who doesn’t trust that his employees are working unless you see them working.” You either need a better attitude or better employees. Possibly both. Regardless, remote work can help change your company into a results driven culture, and allows you to hire the best talent regardless of where they are located.
We don’t have the infrastructure and/or can’t afford to set up a remote work environment
The reality is that costs tend to be lower for a company when their staff are working remotely. Many of the tools used for videoconferencing, collaboration, and communication are inexpensive, or sometimes free.
So clearly, the reasons not to allow staff to work remotely are arguable at best.
As a remote worker, I’ve come up with some tips (based on experience) to be successful for both employers and employees.
FOR REMOTE WORKERS
This is the number one lesson employees need to learn when dealing with remote work. As a remote worker, your company is placing a tremendous amount of trust in you to be able to perform efficiently and professionally.
Working remotely takes diligence and discipline.
Create a work environment that, when you’re in it, you’re expected to work. If you have space, create a dedicated office. When you’re in the office, you’re working. Family or roommates should be expected to respect that boundary as well.
At one point in my career I lived in a small apartment where my work station was in my bedroom. It really messed with my head because this space where I was supposed to be resting and sleeping was shared with the space I was supposed to be attentive and productive. Avoid this if you can.
Donald Duck was ahead of his time.
If you’re going to work remotely, you’re going to be on some video conferences sooner or later. Some remote workers like to dress comfortably, or skip showering in the morning, or whatever their routine may be. I’m not saying don’t make yourself comfortable, but be professional enough to leave a good impression. I’m lucky enough to have a stand-up desk, so when I’m on a video call, I raise my desk and stand up. I’m wearing a collared shirt, and I look presentable. I may occasionally be wearing shorts, but I also make sure nobody is aware of that.
Choose your words carefully and communicate well.
Communication is essential to remote work. The better, and more frequently, you communicate, the more successful you will be.
This is the number one lesson that employers need to learn when dealing with remote workers. It’s more important that the development of a software product is done on time and on budget than it is to make sure that your developer shows up every day.
Trust your employees.
Remote work does not mean your employees are sitting around in sweats eating Cheetos and watching TV in the background. Set some ground rules on what the expectations are and trust that your employees are going to follow them.
Create a level playing field between remote work and office work.
Establish rules that everyone needs to follow whether they’re in the office or remote. Each team has their own set of practices and procedures, make sure they are applied consistently and fairly.
So, with all of this being said, it’s time to re-evaluate remote work for ColdFusion Developers. Employers would be able to tap into a much larger pool of talent, and more developers would be able to find jobs that fit their needs. All of this could go a step further towards resolving a major issue with the ColdFusion community that has haunted us for years.
P.S.: Trello, the communication and collaboration application has an outstanding PDF guide on “How to Embrace Remote Work”. Surprisingly, I found this document after I wrote this article and was amazed at the synchronicity of ideas we reached.