Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
GeneralJist

The Evolution of Work: Meatspace Vs. Remote?

This topic is 566 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

Hey,

So as I been looking for work, I tent to get a lot of different reactions when I tell people my projects are remote or globally distributed.

 

I'm curious to see what kind of reactions yall tend to get, as well as if in the job market, remote work is either seen more impressive than meat space work, or vice versa.

 

I'd think in AAA, it's always seen as meat space is more impressive, but then again, times are changing.

 

I talked to my dad, who's an EE contractor over 60, an impressive task onto itself, and he tells me remote work is seen as more desirable these days, regardless of the company, due to its flexibility.

 

Are meat space 9-5's really a thing of the past? or are those seen as still more valuable than remote?

 

What would your impressions of  a worker be for remote VS. meat space? (in the tech, games, and associated industries)

Edited by GeneralJist

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
I'm both. What I mean by that is I work in an office, but we're just one studio out of the many the company has. E-mail, IM, video conferencing are the norm for communication.

Most things work fine as long as each site's work hours have several hours of overlap. If not, the communication becomes much more difficult as you have a 1 day turn-around time for any questions you have to ask of the other site(s).

The worst case I've been in so far is me (Pacific coast US) trying to communicate with London. Eight hour time difference means either someone has to change their schedules, or we are limited to coordinating via e-mail with high latency on responses. The more hours that overlap, the better.

The company also has several employees who work from home (they don't live near one of the major studio sites and can't actually come in to work).


Impressions: Since I'm used to it, I don't mind the meatspace vs. remote difference. Just the time differences. Edited by Nypyren

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. I tent [sic] to get a lot of different reactions when I tell people my projects are remote or globally distributed.
I'm curious to see what kind of reactions yall tend to get, as well as if in the job market, remote work is either seen more impressive than meat space work, or vice versa.
2. I'd think in AAA, it's always seen as meat space is more impressive,
3. but then again, times are changing.
4. Are meat space 9-5's really a thing of the past?
5. or are those seen as still more valuable than remote?
6. What would your impressions of a worker be for remote VS. meat space?


1. "Meat space," huh? You're using an ugly, disturbing, offensive, and dismissive characterization for the traditional office environment. It might help with your thought processes on this question if you stop using the term, even in your own mind.
 

remote work is either seen more impressive than meat space work, or vice versa.


To clarify: you're saying potential hirers view an applicant's experience differently, depending on whether the applicant's experience is primarily embedded within a team or instead done remotely. Of course, it depends on the needs of the hiring company, and on the background of the hirer.
I'd guess that a hirer who got his start working remotely, and/or hires remote workers, would value the remote experience more.

2. In AAA, most teams work in the traditional office environment. Closeness of one's peers enable stronger work relationships, engender trust, and enhance visibility of the work being done. In AAA, it's not unheard of to have some remote individuals, but those individuals earn that arrangement by a long list of impressive credits, experience, and contacts.

3. Not as fast as you think.

4. Absolutely not.

5. Depends.

6. If I wanted someone to work in my team in an office environment, I would want someone whom I believe can get along well with the individuals in my team. Teams work best when they see each other's faces daily, know and respect one another, and enjoy going out to lunch together.
If I wanted someone with highly specialized skills, for which I expect to pay highly, and the
tasks are short-term, then I'd be willing for that individual to work remotely, provided that the
individual's qualifications justify that arrangement.

[Edit] If it helps, I have worked both ways, and I have hired both ways. Edited by Tom Sloper

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi

I worked in an arrangement where I worked two days at home and three days in an office environment for some time.

Working on software from home is hard, not just because you need the self discipline to dedicate to the work and not be side tracked by time wasting, but because you need to talk to others to create software.

Without personal interaction, testing and feedback are difficult as is working with other teams such as QA, design teams, etc. Not just that but as Tom said, when working near someone in the same area (e.g. nearby desks) you become a closer team.

For example imagine you are part of a small team of people and one of them has a problem, even if you don't know the answer, being present encourages rubber duck debugging, e.g. your colleague might say, "GeneralJist I have a problem with the rendering function. It doesn't do A and instead does B". To which you reply "what have you tried" and in response they solve their own problem.

I've encountered this and being present definitely helps. If you aren't there, they will often try to solve it themselves instead of calling or emailing you, which takes a lot longer to find a solution.

Why don't I work remotely any more you ask? Well, part of that reason is that when I started out working remotely I had the title of "manager" but only managed myself and my own time and projects. As time progressed I became a manager of a team of three, and managing a software development team has extra difficulty if you also factor in trying to manage that team remotely. It's far easier if you're there (see above).

Hope this helps!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do in fact work for a globally-distributed medium-sized organization in the software field (about 800 employees distributed worldwide, with a few bricks-and-mortar offices in key geopolitical locations).  There are always a few technical issues (I can never have my entire team meet online at the same time, since the folks in west coast Australia and the folks in east coast USA do not have overlapping hours) but they're not insurmountable and certainly no worse that limiting your hiring pool by local geography or demanding workers contribute personal hours out of every day in a physical commute.  For many engineers, working remotely from a home office is a dream come true.

 

Trick is, extroverts can't stand remote work, they want to schmooze and exchange infectious biota with as many people as they can simultaneously.  One of the primary attributes required to become a successful salesdroid, HR specialist, or executive is to be in the long-tail of the extrovert category, so overt hostility toward distributed employment from above tends to be the limiting factor in most places of employment.  I found it very insightful when I was sent on a management course with a bunch of sales managers and HR people who one and all bemoaned the reality of remote work within our organization.  As an the only extremist introvert in the bunch, I was startled, since the isolation and self-reliance of remote work was one of the biggest selling features of my job as far as I was concerned.  To each their own.

 

So, most organizations don't really tolerate remote work, despite the many documented advantages, because the decision-makers want to feel good and the get that good feeling by being physically near others. The larger the organization, the more the needs of the non-technical staff matter.  I don't see that changing even as technology progresses, because it's never been about the tech but about the psych.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I like working from home.  So much more work is done when you are in the office.  I'm the tech manager at work and there is no way I could effectively do my job while being remote.  Instead of having an office I have a desk in the pit with the rest of the programmers.  We talk to one another constantly through out the day about the task at hand or if somebody is having trouble figuring something out anybody who wants to add input can get together and hash it out.  I'm fairly introverted at work so it isn't like I really enjoy all the talking but it is part of the job.  Programmers have some design leeway so if they think a feature is going to have some problems down the road they can talk to the designer and see about fixing it.  There have been many bugs at work that have been squashed because QA could just show us how they broke the game instead of trying to write a super detailed report.  While we could video chat all of this not everybody keeps a close watch on their Skype chat so the other person could be waiting a while to get a simple answer.  Not to mention trying to get five or six remote people together for a spontaneous discussion isn't exactly easy.

 

Remote can be fine if you are working on mature software that pretty much is set in stone the path it will take as there isn't a lot of room for interpretation on how things should go.  But if you are working on new evolving tech you can't really beat taking somebody over to a whiteboard and quickly laying out your design and letting them show you everything that is wrong with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. "Meat space," huh? You're using an ugly, disturbing, offensive, and dismissive characterization for the traditional office environment. It might help with your thought processes on this question if you stop using the term, even in your own mind.


 

 

It's not a derogatory term at all.

 

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=meatspace

 

It's just a colloquialism to identify the offline realm, vs. the online realm.

 

No doubt, there are some mixing these days, but it's meant to replace the fallacy label of "real life".

 

I used to go offline vs. online, but these days there is a lot of mix and interaction between them, so this term suffices.

 

This in no way was meant to disparage a physical office vs. a digital one.

Edited by GeneralJist

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not a derogatory term at all.
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=meatspace


Of course it's disparaging. Just because the term may be in use doesn't mean it's not
insulting to intelligent talented people who work in an office. Calling them "meat" is
most definitely unkind. Rather than "meat," I prefer to refer to those people as "talent,"
or "teammate."

If you ever said "meat space" in an interview for a job in an office, your chances of
being hired would be chopped way down to near zero. Edited by Tom Sloper

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not a derogatory term at all.http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=meatspace

Of course it's disparaging. Just because the term may be in use doesn't mean it's notinsulting to intelligent talented people who work in an office. Calling them "meat" ismost definitely unkind. Rather than "meat," I prefer to refer to those people as "talent,"or "teammate."If you ever said "meat space" in an interview for a job in an office, your chances ofbeing hired would be chopped way down to near zero.

I can see why you consider that insulting and I agree.

I've also experienced the same in reverse for many years. I've been involved in open source projects online for decades, way before it was common to telecommute or work remotely or do such things when actual jobs working from home were unheard of apart from as postal scams.

Back then it was similarly insulting to me to be told the projects I contributed to meant nothing, would get me nowhere and I was wasting my life away "in cyberspace".

That kind of thing has kind of come full circle in the space of about 25 years...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Getting back to requirements to be in the office, there are other important aspects to consider.

 

 

Not everyone has the tools at home. Someone may require licenses to Photoshop and Maya and ZBrush, plus reasonably fast computer and tablet. Similarly for programmers who may need access to all the build tools. If you need to pull down the latest source tree and there was a massive update, a multi-gigabyte download may be too large for those not living in a modern city with very fast internet connections, or for those who choose not to buy high speed internet at home, or just don't want to store all that stuff on their home computer.

 

If doing console development, the companies require devkits to be in a physically secure location.  If working on contract there may be similar constraints. Even working for a small contracting facility there are requirements for building security, kits cannot be visible from outside the office, there must be physical security, there must be security cameras at all entrances. 

 

Many companies have limits that Internet access be controlled in specific ways, with logging as a bare minimum. Even though a person can still leak the code through their favorite tools, it can potentially be tracked to corporate network logs. Unlikely to track, but still possible.  They may ask 'which person had access to the code base around this date, and which of those had large internet transfers over that time window, now pull up the logs for each of the connections they made'....  quickly drilling it down to an account.

 

Meetings are generally better in person, hallway conversations are better and more fruitful.  There are some people who won't work or can't work from home for myriad of reasons, anything including too many distractions, not enough supervision, or simple lack of motivation. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

We are the game development community.

Whether you are an indie, hobbyist, AAA developer, or just trying to learn, GameDev.net is the place for you to learn, share, and connect with the games industry. Learn more About Us or sign up!

Sign me up!