Remote vs. On-site: With Guests Katie Womersley & Emily Freeman

On this episode of if/else, host Mayuko Inoue explores a choice faced by developers and the companies that employ them: is it better to work remotely or in an office?

Remote work can give employees and contractors greater flexibility and autonomy, but it can also lead to social isolation. On-site work can result in better social connection with co-workers, but it can also mean annoying commutes for employees, and expensive office space for businesses.

The episode begins with a quick backgrounder on these two options, and you’ll hear from several software developers about what they like and dislike about each scenario.

You’ll also meet Jonathan Sexton. Jonathan is a front end developer based in San Antonio, Texas. He’s weighing two job offers; one for a remote gig, and one at an office. Jonathan values the potential flexibility of the remote job as he manages a busy family life, but he also knows that, as a junior developer, he may learn more from senior colleagues if he’s on-site.

To help Jonathan decide on which option might work best for his career and his young family, we’ve enlisted the help of two experts to debate the promises and pitfalls of remote and on-site work.

Emily Freeman is the author of DevOps for Dummies and leads the modern operations team in cloud advocacy at Microsoft.

Katie Womersley is the VP of Engineering at Buffer and advocates for remote work and distributed teams.

Katie and Emily join Mayuko to explore the pros and cons of each job scenario to give Jonathan—and anyone else facing this important decision—some useful advice on what he should consider as he weighs his options. They also discuss the contentious issue of location-based pay; should remote developers living in areas with a lower cost of living, be paid less than their colleagues in expensive cities?

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