Agile working has become a common topic of discussion in the world of development in recent years. Many companies have begun to incorporate Agile working to allow thousands of employees to work outside of the office on a remote basis. The idea is to allow staff to work on their own terms when they are at their most productive.
In short, agile working is any arrangement where staff can choose to work in the office or at home. For many organizations agile working has become an integral part of retaining talent on a long-term basis. Allowing staff to work on their own terms can help to boost morale and acts a unique selling point for many companies. The agile working model is one that favors the employee.
When it comes to roles that incorporate agile working, developers are at the top of the list. According to a StackOverflow survey, around 10% of developers are working on a remote basis fulltime and 19% are working remote part time. In many ways agile working has become part of developer culture. In this article we take a look at what agile working is, and whether or not developers actually need it.
Why Developers Need Agile Working
To a large degree, Agile working has become a cultural preference amongst developers. In part this has arisen because of the employment market. Developers can afford to be extremely picky about the companies they work for because they are in short supply. As a result many developers have begun to expect remote working options within their employment packages.
That being said, agile working has taken root because it is actually where many developers perform best as well. Overall it appears that many developers need agile working because it enables them to perform at their best. Below we break down the reasons why developers need agile working.
If there’s anything to be learned from StackOverflow surveys like the one outlined above, it is that remote working is incredibly important to developers. According to another survey 38% of developers with under 4 years experience consider remote working to be vital to their job. As such if you want you team thrive then incorporating agile working is a great way to do this.
Agile working can not only help to improve employee satisfaction but can also increase productivity as well. Giving developers the opportunity to work in an environment of their choice and on their terms allows them to approach their work in a way that makes them most productive. Development is a sedentary task and working independent of others could provide many with much needed clarity of thought.
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To some degree, the traditional office environment can act as a barrier to productivity in terms of development. The reason is that development is very mentally intensive. It requires tremendous discipline and focus to produce code incorporating all the current best practices day in day out. In an office, other staff might be more of a distraction then at home.
Why Developers Don’t Need Agile Working
Even though the merits of agile working are clear to see, there are many reasons why developers don’t necessarily need a flexible working package in place. No two staff work the same and it is a mistake to assume that all developers work best from home. Below we take a look at the reasons why developers don’t need agile working.
It takes an especially focused individual to work from home and not fall victim to distractions. Where as in an office you’re surrounded by others working to get things done, if you’re home alone it’s easy to fall victim to the temptation of turning on the TV. Whilst many developers will perform well working from home there are many whose productivity will take a nosedive.
On complex projects its vital to keep track of what’s going on throughout the production process. If your entire team is working on a remote basis it can be very difficult to make sure everyone is on the same page. Its not like you can walk into someone’s office for an on demand status update. At best you have to rely on phoning and emailing your staff in order to stay in the loop. This makes it harder to guarantee that the end product of a project is at its best.
Even if you have staff who can motivate themselves to work from home reliably, there is always the risk that they will fall into the trap of overworking. When working from home, its easy to let work seep into your personal life. For many people, working from home can blur the line between working hard and burning out.
Agile Working: Not For Everybody
Even though agile working does help many developers to be more productive it’s not for everybody. Whilst many developers will perform well at home there are just as many who won’t. However if you want to cater to both groups, allowing staff to work in-house and at home is the best way to balance the scales. That way everyone can work where they perform best.
By incorporating agile working into your organization you can make sure that you’re not alienating developers who would perform better at home. Likewise those who perform better in the office can stay put. At the end of the day, so long as projects are completed to a high standard it is irrelevant whether your team completed them from the office or at home.
Ultimately if you’re looking to give your developers more agency over how they handle their work, then you should definitely consider employing agile working in the future. If you do incorporate agile working make sure that you meticulously track the progress of your projects. This will help to ensure that your department’s performance stays on point.
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