Chapter 73. The Effects of Working from Home

Daniel James Gullo

We spend more than one-third of our lives working. Over the past few decades, more of that time is being spent working from home. Accordingly, this situation warrants closer examination.

In 2001, a gathering of 17 individuals discussing how to improve the practice of software development resulted in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development, commonly known as the Agile Manifesto. From its overall focus on more valuable problem-solving and delivery, several statements were included to cover communication and collaboration.

Number six of the Principles states:

The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.

The Agile movement has essentially codified what has been a topic of interest from the social research field for many years. For instance, the term telecommute was coined by Jack Nilles in 1975. Agile confirms that human beings are inherently “wired” with a propensity toward socialization, learning, experimentation, responding to change, and so on.

Difficulties arise when team members are in different time zones. Email is highly ineffective. On projects where team members communicate solely via email (and other asynchronous formats), there is less team cohesiveness. The increased delays in response time lead to lags in decision ...

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