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3 tips for bridging the gap between remote work and an office set-up that works for devs

20 May 2024 , by Josh Nel

Remote work is about working from wherever you’re most productive, not working from home. It's important for companies to address this gap when relooking current work set-ups.

In this article, we’ll explore why developers love remote work and share some practical strategies for employers to create a work set-up that supports all team members.

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SA devs are seeing the start of a slow RTO in 2024

In the past year, nearly 17% of SA developers lost their fully remote status, making hybrid work more common than remote set-ups. This shift suggests the start of a slow return to the office (RTO).

The majority of developers aren’t too keen on this trend and their preference for remote work has grown over the years. As a result, remote has overtaken hybrid as the most desired work policy.

This shift isn’t just theoretical: Earlier this year we asked the dev community how they felt about moving from fully remote to a hybrid setup, and nearly two-thirds said it made them reconsider their jobs.

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The slow RTO trend shows no signs of reversing any time soon, and companies making the switch will need to ensure a smooth transition back if they want to avoid alienating team members.

We looked at the data from 1293 South African developers to understand what developers feel they’re losing with RTO and to identify the right measures to address those concerns. Here’s what we found.

Remote work is about flexibility, not working from home (WFH)

It’s easy to think that developers’ love for remote work simply means they prefer working from home, especially since most fully remote devs do just that:

But, a closer look at the data on developers’ biggest remote work benefits shows that it’s not just about working from home. It’s more about control over how they work and spend their time.

Not having a commute to the office and cost savings are tied as the top benefits for developers, giving them better work-life balance and increased productivity.

While a RTO inevitably comes with a commute, successfully bridging the gap between remote and the office starts with having policies that maintain your team’s control over their work and enhance productivity.

So how do you do that in practice?

Ensure that RTO doesn’t negatively impact your team’s wellbeing

The first and most important step is ensuring that a return to the office won’t negatively impact your team’s work-life balance due to an understaffed team, unclear projects or project creep from poor management.

Second, focus on creating an environment that helps developers focus with minimal distractions and interruptions so that they’re able to meet their required outputs. One way to achieve this is by designing your office with enough space for focused work and minimal interruptions.

Another practical strategy is to give your developers the flexibility to work when they’re most productive and carve out focused time to complete tasks.

Lastly, to help offset the costs of travelling to the office, consider small tangible benefits like snacks, refreshments or the occasional lunch as these can help your team save time and money:

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If you’re looking for more actionable ways to bridge the gap between job-search expectations and a successful hire, download the Developer expectations report with data from 1293 actively job-searching devs.

In this guide, you'll get a data-backed mental model that helps you:

  • Explore developer job search expectations from actively searching devs
  • Understand the reality they face in the current hiring market
  • Bridge the gap between developer expectations and the current reality

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