5 March, 2021

Our third article, part of the series “Software development in 2021 and beyond” is here! Until the end of the week we will focus on the inclusive and supportive team cultures and human-centered developer tools, scaling-out with open source and with low-code solutions, and how to continue to build,grow, and learn.

Today’s topic will be related to Workplace flexibility and Remote-first collaboration

We are all on the same boat- working from home with our children playing around us while dealing with a lot of unprecedented stress from pandemic life and huge economic changes. However, as recovery begins and we all get back to your offices, remote work will still be an option.

For instance, Microsoft has adopted a flexible policy that allows its employees to work remotely for up to 50% of the time.

What we expect is that greater workplace flexibility will become a tech industry standard because more and more organizations are now seeing an increase in their work capacity after moving to home-based work. In fact, LinkedIn said that they have a 4.5x  increase in their remote job postings from January to December 2020. Generally speaking, this method is good for inclusion and provides a better environment for people who can concentrate better at home.

The Microsoft team has always been remote-friendly, but there is definitely a huge difference between remote-friendly and remote-first. However, some developer tasks are easier to transition than others. For example, making a check into a cloud-hosted repository is something that Microsoft has been doing for years, but team culture, collaboration, new employee onboarding are generally taken place in person and cannot be replaced.

After looking at certain measures of activity like pull requests, it was found that managers and other employees seemed to be disproportionately affected by the current situation. In some parts of the organization, there were significant increases in after-hours instant messaging, as well as PR rate while many managers, who are responsible for keeping standards high, were facing burnout themselves.

The Microsoft team is still working to foster a more inclusive remote-first environment for their employees. They are encouraging shorter meetings, creating space for transitions and virtual commute Teams features, focusing more on well-being and learning, as well as finding new ways to collaborate.

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