Office Evolution

Work from home. The end of the office. Zoom, zoom, zoom. Quit slackin’ off, I mean, get your Slack on. The great resignation. The great realignment. The death of the downtown and resurgence of the small town.

Yeah. Some of that. Maybe a lot of that.

But here’s something I recently came across regarding office culture vs virtual culture:

  • Offices have limited pools from which to draw talent.
  • Virtual teams can hire from across the planet.

Your 20 person development team, all collected into a big conference room, all working through this quarter’s NCTs—Narratives, Commitments, Tasks (oof, what a load of crap those things are), are here because they live within an hour’s drive of your office. They were hired because they live within driving distance. Sure they have some skills, but consistently showing up on time, getting their assigned work done, not rocking the boat—being a team player, is why your team is composed the way it is.

Now, what if you could hire anyone working from anywhere? Who might now be on your team? You could get some incredibly talented people working for you or with you.

Of course, your office-bound team all get paid roughly the same salary. Maybe 10-50% drift between junior and senior engineers. Paying the best developer three times what the worst developer gets just wouldn’t fly.

But if you could hire anybody… You’d have to pay for the best, right? Maybe the best it worth five times what your Software Engineer Level I is paid. Maybe your architect is worth ten times that.

And pretty soon, with a virtual office, you just don’t settle for poorly performing developers. Those you had to put up with with a brick office constrained by a local, limited talent pool.

And, as I’m writing this, I’m wondering why this company I work for has been on a literal psychotic spending spree when it come to developers. I’m thinking, fill the ranks and then cull the herd after you see who’s worthy, who’s worth it.

This dynamic is not one I’ve considered before. But now that I mull it over, I can see how the all-stars, previously restrained by their location and group-think regarding income, can start to demand much, much higher salaries. And work from anywhere they please.

(Not me of course, I’m the king of mediocre. I’ll be lucky to have a job come summer.)

-Mole

Thoughts? Would you move if you could get paid twice or four times what you make today? Where would you go? Do you see salaries diverging more and more as the skills quotient between employees diverges?


23 thoughts on “Office Evolution

  1. Nah no way would I move for a job. I hate work and prefer the lifestyle of doing the bare minimum to cover necessities, leaving me with time, which is more important to me than lots of money I don’t have time to spend. Don’t get me started on the hiring situation.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. After two solid years of working from home 5 days a week, the government here is demanding their employees start going into the office 3 days a week, even though covid is still rampant here. Not sure what will happen to those who moved out east or relocated. So glad I retired.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow…I could actually feel a new door opening inside my head as I read your post, Mole. I guess the only issue is…how would you know who is the ‘best’ for a given job? Hiring people on the basis of their resume is a bit like buying a show online – it may be great, or it may be the most uncomfortable shoe you’ve ever worn, or not worn as the case may be.
    That said, I think it’s a great idea. In principle. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tech skills are easy to test for, and track records, through linkedin trails, references, are pretty solid these days.
      It’s a dynamic that is here to stay. Those that cling to the old, get back to the office, will suffer, now in more ways than we thought.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s true. Managerial skills would be a bit harder, but I think you’re right about the direction things are heading. Kind of exciting. 🙂

        Like

  4. I definitely wouldn’t move to get a higher paying job. Or even to keep a job. My thing has always been to figure out how to make more money but work less by improving skill sets. There’s always something new to learn in the techno world and so many people are unwilling to learn that it hasn’t been that hard.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m a semi-retired attorney now. It’s an interesting concept you suggest here, and you may have a valid point about working from home opening up many new possibilities, not jsut for the employee but for the employer as well.

    Would I move if I could have made two or three times what I made when I was working full-time? Probably, as long as the new location was appealing to me. I mean … there are plenty of places I wouldn’t live for any amount of money.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I have a developer on my team whose last day is tomorrow, before he goes to work for a company in another geographic region, without leaving his home. I’m sure he won’t be the last.

    And we’re starting an epic project, and were told by the recruiting company that it was unrealistic not to be open to remote workers. Not everyone in our management seems onboard yet, but it seems inevitable.

    The thing to think about is how this plays out over years. Right now it’s great for employees. But consider what happens as companies get used to the idea that they can hire talent anywhere in the world.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The analogy that was referenced in the article was ball sports “all stars”. If they can hire the best basketball player for $5M a year… They will. And all the other teams? They’ll have to follow suit.
      It sets the stage for an escalation of skills & pay that will never stop. The CEO of this company has until December to deliver on the board’s goals — or he’s OUT. Similar situation. I don’t see this reversing. And I’m a total socialist. So, I think if I were one of those stars, I’ll soak the company for as much as I could, and invest it in my local community. Something by the ocean I think. Quiet. A nice place to write fiction.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi A. Mole,
    All suffering is by way of comparison. I really do believe that. I think you do too, yet we are trapped in our conscious mind struggling to get ahead. Tell me, WTF do I mean? Is it at all related to this post? Probably not, but we find ourselves in the glass house of WordPress which is crazy for more and more content. So there you go. Thanks. Duke

    Liked by 2 people

    1. These are market forces expanding where they haven’t before, which always causes ugly disruptions. I despise capitalism, or at least the exploitative nature it tends to. If society can throttle this trend before it becomes ludicrous, I’m all for it. Scaled income tax, wealth taxes, inequality taxes, all things I’ve thought about and pontificated about. All things which would limit capitalism induced misery.
      But then of course, there are assholes (ah-chu-putin, excuse me) in the world who kowtow to no one and wreak mayhem despite obvious rejection by a world that’s moved on from such primitive egotism.
      Do you think this Russian Machiavelli wannabe is the last that we’ll see who can hold the world hostage? The North Korean fudgepacker, notwithstanding (no body takes that dipshit seriously anyway).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As you probably see, this current situation with Ukraine and Russia is far more dangerous than the Cuban Missile Crisis. I’m not optimist due to Putin. Unlike Khrushchev, who was a product of the politburo, Putin has no restraints. I’m pretty sure he is insane. We are watching in real time events that are similar to August 1914 or September 1939, only this time nuclear weapons are in play. Somebody told me recently that it would take 20 or so detonations of the larger nuclear bombs to so pollute the atmosphere that the whole world would be severely affected by catastrophic climate/weather changes. Unprecedented and unknow to modern humans that would hamper us for decades to come. 100 detonations would wipe all of us out in short order. So here we are. Trump set the stage for all of this. Putin figured it was now or never for Ukraine, what with Covid, economies on the brink, the disunity among western nations, and the absolute madness he helped create in the US political system. So he took the plunge, since he is, you know, fucking nuts. Leaders like him are common, only the others don’t have independent control of nuclear weapons. The other ones killed locally. Lots of people for sure, but who gave a fuck? I am encouraged by the courage shown by the Ukrainians, particularly Zalinsky. The question now is, how many Ukrainian civilians can Putin kill before the West sends in troops. Would we stand by and watch him kill a million or more in house to house fighting? I don’t think so. Remember he is killing blue eyed, blonde haired white people, big difference. An African once told me that it takes 100,000 black Africans dead to equal 100 dead white people in the eyes of western leaders. When you start to see large numbers of civilian laid out in a line, that is the moment you should really began to consider the end of what we know. Thanks and good luck. Even the Mexicans are worried like hell. Duke

        Like

  8. It’ll take years for management to decide “who’s best” cause they’re so mediocre they can’t judge. LOL! And working remotely sounds good, but with developing technology to “watch you while you work,” ie, keyboard taps, mouse clicks, mouse moving, soon biometric measurements…you don’t get paid if you’re not breathing or sweating…it’ll be like in-house arrest. Fear not, Mole….fear not.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Definitely a good point to ponder.
    I’m surprised they have not lowered our salaries because we don’t spend as much money on gas as we did back in the day. (They forget that we have to pay more for electricity, etc.)

    Pay is also based on the cost of living. Once you start hiring people from all over, how are you going to adjust that? Should a person from an African village earn less just because their cost of living might be cheaper than that of someone who lives in NY?

    I never felt tied down to a single place, so I definitely would consider moving for better pay (of course the cost of living would have to be less in order for it to make sense). I feel that right now there is a big push in making pay equal for all, which further discourages people from being as best as they can be. Because what is the point?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pay caps, definitely. 64x is my calculated max. Six twices: a CEO might be twice as intelligent, 2x as educated, 2x as experienced, 2x as driven, 2x as loyal, and 2x as senior. 64 times the lowest paid employee. That’s the max they should ever get paid.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s