One of ColdFusion’s biggest challenges is connecting ColdFusion developers and employers – looking to fill their positions. I’ve heard this for (literally) decades.
ColdFusion Developer: “Man… fewer and fewer companies are hiring ColdFusion developers any more!”
ColdFusion Employer: “Man… it’s getting harder and harder to find qualified ColdFusion talent any more!”
The obsession of seeking “in-house” developers (ONLY)
Considering the fact that finding ColdFusion developers is not an easy task, I’m surprised when I see job notifications that read “must be in-office” or “on-location only.” Some postings seem offended by the notion that someone would want to work remotely with large “NO TELECOMMUTING” messages in big, bold red letters.
As a managed development service company specializing in ColdFusion, Epicenter software engineers could be physically located on the North Pole. As long as they have broadband internet, they can produce software. The internet is (almost) everywhere, and its availability in the future is only going to be more and more ubiquitous. So why are so many job opportunities on-site only?
In the ColdFusion Job Resource group on Facebook and the CFML Slack “Jobs” channel, the number one question I see when someone posts a job listing is “are you considering remote workers?” With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve heard from friends and co-workers that their company’s clients are asking questions about their remote telework technology. If clients are asking about it, you can be well-assured companies are re-evaluating policies allowing some employees to work remotely.
Epicenter has been a big proponent of enabling developers to work remotely, whether that is from a home office or anywhere they can be productive. Most employees state that they are happier when they can work remotely. They have more personal time available in the day and save money on commuting time and costs, and they’re more comfortable, which tends to lead to higher productivity. Epicenter’s development team is a great example that has been working remotely – for a long time!
Major reasons I’ve heard against allowing remote work:
We like to be able to pop in and have a face-to-face meeting
There is an advantage to being able to have quick meetings and to be able to pop your head into someone’s office to ask a quick question. However, these are also distractions that take away from the head-down development that developers require to crank out work.
I have worked for clients where, during work hours, I would stay logged into a video chat room like Google Hangouts or whereby.com. Managers or co-workers could “pop-in” to the room whenever they liked, so the notion of needing to be in the same space to have quick doorway meetings is, in my opinion, effortlessly resolved with technology.
I like to know and be able to see what my employees are doing
I’ve heard this and thought, “oh, so you’re a micromanager who doesn’t trust that his employees are working unless you see them working.” You either need a better attitude or better employees. Possibly both. Regardless, remote work can foster results-driven teams, bring a highly skilled pool of talent together, and add multicultural diversity in the company – all essential characteristics of a successful business.
We don’t have the infrastructure and/or can’t afford to set up a remote work environment
The reality is that costs tend to be lower for a company when their staff is working remotely. Many of the tools used for video conferencing, collaboration, and communication are inexpensive and sometimes even free. Hence, the reasons not to allow staff to work remotely – are arguable.
What I’ve learned from working remotely for 15+ Years:
FOR REMOTE WORKERS
This is the number one lesson employees need to learn when dealing with remote work. As a remote worker, your company is placing a tremendous amount of trust in you to be able to perform efficiently and professionally. Be responsible and be honest. These are the principles we promote and instill in every developer here at Epicenter.
Remote working takes diligence and discipline
Create a work environment that, when you’re in it, you’re motivated to work. If you have space, create a dedicated office. When you’re in the office, you’re working. Define your work boundaries and communicate your expectations with family or roommates – so that these boundaries are respected.
At one point in my career, I lived in a small apartment where my work station was in my bedroom. It messed with my head because this space where I was supposed to be resting and sleeping – was also supposed to be my workspace. Lesson learned; don’t mix work and pleasure! Separate the two spaces for focussed attention and complete relaxation in their own time and space.
Donald Duck was ahead of his time
If you’re going to work remotely, you’re going to be on some video conferences sooner or later. Some remote workers like to dress comfortably or skip showering in the morning, or whatever their routine may be. I’m not saying don’t make yourself comfortable, but be professional enough to leave a good impression. I’m lucky enough to have a stand-up desk, so when I’m on a video call, I raise my desk and stand up. I’m wearing a collared shirt, and I look presentable. I may occasionally be wearing shorts, but I also make sure nobody is aware of that.
Choose your words carefully and communicate well
Communication is essential to remote work. The better and more frequently you interact, the more you’ll learn and be successful.
This is the number one lesson that employers need to learn when dealing with remote workers. It’s more important – that the development of a software product is completed on time and within the budget – than it is to make sure that your developer shows up every day.
Trust your employees
Remote work does not mean your employees are sitting around in sweats eating Cheetos and watching Netflix in the background. Set some ground rules on what the expectations are and trust that your employees are going to follow them.
Create a level playing field between remote work and office work
Establish rules that everyone needs to follow, whether they’re in the office or remote. Each team has its own set of practices and procedures; make sure they are applied consistently and fairly.
It’s time to re-evaluate remote work for ColdFusion Developers
In a remote working environment, employers can tap into a much larger pool of talent, and more developers would be able to find jobs that complement their skill-sets. Besides resolving the lack of ColdFusion developers, this collaboration can lead to further development of the ColdFusion community – encouraging more developers to learn the language.
P.S.: Trello, the communication and collaboration application, has an outstanding PDF guide on How to Embrace Remote Work. Surprisingly, I found this document after I wrote this article and was amazed at the synchronicity of ideas we reached.