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Old 24th May 2023, 10:42   #586
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Re: Work From Home (WFH): Is this the future for many?

Renting is a nightmare in Bangalore today, just Google bangalore rental stories to know what its like for people in the top of their game to find a place here.
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Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
I empathize with employees and all citizens who need to commute through dense tiresome traffic. I can really empathize with the clerk in Mumbai working in Fort who has limited job change opportunities and commutes from Borivali. He may not have a choice. But on this thread we are talking of highly qualified IT professionals in the most mobile job changing industry in this country. What stops you from taking up employment closer to your residence in super crowded BLR? The fact that IT professionals attrite at 25% to 35% a year indicates an abundance of jobs and a willingness to shift. When a well paid adult who owns a car, has a degree or two says he insist on taking a job he knows will be a 2-hour commute in a crowded city and then expect the employer to accommodate him with WFH indicates IMHO a separation from reality.

Forgive me for my harsh tone. I only want our young and at times innocent members to know the full picture. Otherwise some posts here remind me of the union screamers ...Business cannot invest or generate employment if one side adopts rigidity.
Why the selective sympathy? Did the clerk study 4 years to get a degree? Did he have to pay off an education loan? choices have consequences and yes, your circumstances drive your choices when you are trying to survive. I live very close to where I work, still do WFH due to unavoidable circumstances(so I make myself available even at 9PM on a Saturday in case any issue pops up). The reason I can afford to live here is because I know the landlord, otherwise rent would be roughly half my salary and a move every 2 years, there are no places available for rent today. The advance alone would be a half a years gross pay. The closest available accommodation is about 6 km away, costly, time consuming commutes, zero facilities, unsafe surroundings, simply put, employers are getting what they pay for. What is the point of a long commute to sit in front of a computer?

You haven't worked in IT services, knowing the boss isn't the same as working here. Attrition is driven by people cashing in on their experience and because the new employer is flexible, demand and supply rules here, we have a very short window when we can make enough for a rainy day, which will come. Here is how that works, you have a skill, the company trained you on the job for it and you had to forgo a hike because you aren't up to speed on it. A few years later, another company, offers you double the pay while your own employers offers 40%, you take the double, because the same will play out at your new employer, you don't increase expenses and a few years later have sufficient savings to acquire an asset, not a car or some other useless toy, real assets. Repeat this, until your ID card gets blocked at the gate. If you are one of those wondering why they go onsite and not report to office here, here are the numbers from a decade ago for a bachelor posted in NJ, pay in India ~ 6L vs annual savings equivalent to 25L, those opportunities have dried up, so saving on fuel and clothes with WFH helps when offshore. The majority don't own a car, live in shared accommodation and have huge financial commitments, relative to income. There are no legal protections, no job security, we are on our own, the reported huge pay hikes are a result of inflation and demand, not some charitable handout, talent costs money.

The unions you are talking about were not worker led movements, they were created to destroy industry and make land available for the services economy. IT isn't facing such issues here, the words you use like flexibility and competitiveness are just code for desperation and low cost, the current crop of employees have seen their seniors chewed up and discarded, they aren't going to sacrifice anything for abstract notions.
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Old 24th May 2023, 12:03   #587
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Re: Work From Home (WFH): Is this the future for many?

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There are two key sides to WFH - employee and employer.
I would like to focus only on business / functional side.

In bigger organisations, someone sitting up in hierarchy can't always be considered as "employer"

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This fundamental point is lost on some employees especially on this thread. As a consequence, they deprive themselves of a fuller understanding of the dynamics of WFH.
I feel similar for some employers side as well.

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... and paying customer has suffered at the hands of WFH we risk having one less USP in favour of India's IT industry.

I failed to understand why WFH doesn't work provided below two things works for a customer

1. Outsourcing to a team working in different country under a vendor
2. Even within India, team is geographically distributed between different cities.

Need more objective points to understand why service company management may think that above both can work perfectly well but WFH can't.

I am only speaking about IT service industry, I have spend time in companies working with financial data, there were dedicated sections in office premises where only certain employees can enter who have legetimate need to perform duty. (Which normally doesn't include even higher management / cxo) so there is no question of WFH in such environments.

In my personal experience most of the customers are OK with any kind of model as long as their deliverables don't suffer, It is the higher management which never asks for genuine feedback even from their mid senior employees having 10+ years of proven track record of delivery.
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Old 24th May 2023, 12:10   #588
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Re: Work From Home (WFH): Is this the future for many?

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Why the selective sympathy?
+1 and a 40% hike to this

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Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
I can really empathize with the clerk in Mumbai working in Fort who has limited job change opportunities and commutes from Borivali. He may not have a choice. But on this thread we are talking of highly qualified IT professionals in the most mobile job changing industry in this country. What stops you from taking up employment closer to your residence in super crowded BLR? The fact that IT professionals attrite at 25% to 35% a year indicates an abundance of jobs and a willingness to shift. When a well paid adult who owns a car, has a degree or two says he insist on taking a job he knows will be a 2-hour commute in a crowded city and then expect the employer to accommodate him with WFH indicates IMHO a separation from reality.
If a clerk can be compared to IT employee, then an IT employee can be compared to a CXO who gets an eye watering bonus. Will the CXO sleep on the shop floor to show some empathy with the poor IT employee? Like an actor or a sportsman, the IT employee has a shelf life of ~20 years. So asking and getting a hike isn't obnoxious - in my opinion. Capitalism by the way.

Last edited by AltoLXI : 24th May 2023 at 12:14.
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Old 24th May 2023, 12:53   #589
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Re: Work From Home (WFH): Is this the future for many?

Just a suggestion (again!), there are going to be some IT firms and employees for whom remote work, works and can even be a competitive advantage. For some companies and employees, it's simply not going to be viable.

In a good (as yet, for now) job market like Indian IT, both parties are free to move across to a work model that suits them/their business needs.

But for this thread, perhaps it would be useful to move on from debating whether the remote work concept overall is feasible or not, because that will never end with any conclusion (good for increased page views though!) to strategies that people have used to make it work, challenges that people are facing with the model and advice on those? Just a thought.
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Old 24th May 2023, 13:58   #590
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Re: Work From Home (WFH): Is this the future for many?

I have been working from home since mid of 2019.

I started to WFH in July 201 due to my wife's pregnancy. At that time, I had to write multiple emails to get approval. By mid of September, I went back to office. But then all the weird stuffs started to happen.

After 3 days of working from office, I met with a bicycle accident and broke my nose. So I had to switch back WFH. Then we left to India for vacation and came back in December. At that period my office moved to another building. After vacation, I straight went to the new office.

The new office was awesome. With large workstations, all with 2 additional monitors. The rooms had sound damping features and hence the was not noisy at all even though we had 6 workstations in one room. Only disadvantage was, there was no canteen, but since it was near to central station, there were a lot of restaurants near by. But this all were very short lived due to the covid-19 breakout. I worked from the new office only for like 3 months.

Next 3 months are all blurry to me. It was lock-down time and my family was in India. I was all alone. There was no routine. I get up when I want. Then work and watch movies. I slept at odd hours. There was no one to talk except through teams and occasional group calls from friends. I went out once a week to buy groceries. As soon as, flights started, I went to India and brought back my family and then things got more aligned.

There was always talk of start of regular office within my work circle from mid of 2020. But that is yet to happen. The current condition is that, we can go to office whenever we want, but is not at all mandatory. We go to office once in a while just to meet my team mates.

From last month, my team decided to come to office once per week and but that has brought us new challenges. My daughter has not seen me going to office and she thinks I am going to park or shopping without her. My routines are now based on WFH. I go to grocery shopping or dropping/picking up m daughter form kindergarten and other chores at my office hours (Obviously I make-up for lost hours). These all gets messed up when I go to office. Most annoying thing is my snacks eating habit. While I WFH, I can go and get some snacks from kitchen whenever I want, but this is not the case at office. Even if I remember take something, I have to make sure there is enough for all my colleagues.

But this WFH has been a blessing for me. I was in India for around 8-9 months since 2021. Our parents don't miss us that much. I had a lot of time to play with my daughter while she is growing up. I don't know, how I will cope up when regular office starts, if ever it starts.

One thing is for sure, Working From Home is here to stay, like it or not. May be not as like pandemic level, but WFH will be a normal thing.
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Old 24th May 2023, 16:25   #591
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Re: Work From Home (WFH): Is this the future for many?

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I have been working from home since 2014

If you are billing your client for 8 hours of work, you HAVE to make yourself available for 8 hours of the day. I don't mix other activities with the 8 hour slots I have for the day.

A clear and strict self-imposed distinction in work hours and non office hours has made a lot of difference.
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Originally Posted by ;5553299
I have been working from home since mid of 2019.

My routines are now based on WFH. I go to grocery shopping or dropping/picking up m daughter form kindergarten and other chores at my office hours (Obviously I make-up for lost hours). These all gets messed up when I go to office.
We can see two very different approaches to WFH in our small sample itself. And I don't have to tell you which approach you would prefer your colleagues/team to follow.

If everyone in the team starts following their own schedules and tries to fit in other activities during work hours, team collaboration will become difficult. And the easiest way for companies/managers to control this is to call people back to the office. And I believe that is what is happening.

Personally, I prefer WFH but also understand that it is a privilege and not a right. When people try to misuse the option, the privilege gets taken away.

Last edited by Jaguar : 24th May 2023 at 16:53.
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Old 24th May 2023, 16:57   #592
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Re: Work From Home (WFH): Is this the future for many?

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Originally Posted by Jaguar View Post
...

If everyone in the team starts following their own schedules and tries to fit in other activities during work hours, team collaboration will become difficult. And the easiest way for companies/managers to control this is to call people back to the office. And I believe that is what is happening...
MNC employees regularly work with global teams, and even co-located employees across shifts are spread out time-wise (most services/support orgs use a follow-the-sun model), so the 'schedule' argument is flimsy at best.

Even in office, people eat, smoke, commute, meet and do a bunch of other things that impact contiguous availability, every single day.

All of that is an issue with the employees unable to manage their calendars, and managers unable to manage their employees' bandwidth, effectively.

Dragging everyone to office isn't a magic bullet to solve inefficient time & team management. If that was true, every office-bound business would be efficient and highly productive. That isn't true, is it?

I've also noticed numerous people's distaste for fitting life & work around each other (not pointing at you in particular). In the days of working-from-office, I've had to ask more than one colleague to step into a phone booth (my employer put a few of these, sound proof, around each floor) because their loud personal phone argument was disturbing others on the floor, or approve a team members' requests to leave at short notice to attend to something personal.

Those anecdotes aren't to highlight unruly or unreliable/inefficient colleagues, but to demonstrate life & work aren't always 100% separable, no matter what an employer or employee would like to pretend. A team member did her best work when stuck at home with mobility restrictions due to pregnancy complications, while here office-located backup had to be put on a performance-improvement-plan and eventually dismissed for non-performance.

We work to live; our work lives are a fraction, however significant, of our overall lives, and they often intersect, no matter how hard a boundary is drawn. Some people do subscribe to the 'live to work' mindset, and these are often the kind demanding both hard boundaries and highest priority for work. An ex-colleague boasts proudly that he stopped by in office to resolve a 'production issue', en route to his own wedding! There's all sorts of people, and I don't judge personal preferences, as long as they don't impact mine.

The focus should be on working effectively, not clocking 8-9-10 hour timecards. I frequently work more than my contracted 8 hours, but I don't remember the last time I worked those in a single contiguous time-block. My availability, by necessity, is spread all over a day's 24 hours because of my team's global spread.

WFH isn't perfect, it isn't a one-size-fits-all solution to a modern workforce's productivity challenges, but it also isn't the 'let's just point the finger at it and do nothing else' mindset a lot of corporate leadership is resorting to these days. The reason why their teams and overall business isn't productive and effective might, and very often does, lie elsewhere.

*climbs off soapbox for the nth time*
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Old 24th May 2023, 18:03   #593
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Re: Work From Home (WFH): Is this the future for many?

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MNC employees regularly work with global teams, and even co-located employees across shifts are spread out time-wise (most services/support orgs use a follow-the-sun model), so the 'schedule' argument is flimsy at best.

Even in office, people eat, smoke, commute, meet and do a bunch of other things that impact contiguous availability, every single day.

I've also noticed numerous people's distaste for fitting life & work around each other (not pointing at you in particular).
The focus should be on working effectively, not clocking 8-9-10 hour timecards. I frequently work more than my contracted 8 hours, but I don't remember the last time I worked those in a single contiguous time-block. My availability, by necessity, is spread all over a day's 24 hours because of my team's global spread.
There is a difference between a person taking a coffee break vs going out grocery shopping. This has nothing to do with following the sun model. You need to be available based on your team's requirements, period. It doesn't matter whether you work 4 hours or 14 hours, if you are consistently not available when it matters, then what is the point?

I've also noticed numerous people's distaste for fitting life & work around each other
Why do you feel it is your right to expect others to fit their work around your life? If there is an emergency or genuine concern, yes, but otherwise why?
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Old 24th May 2023, 18:43   #594
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Re: Work From Home (WFH): Is this the future for many?

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There is a difference between a person taking a coffee break vs going out grocery shopping.
If both of them are skipping a committed meeting/deliverable for the same amount of time, what's the real difference?

The primary issue in the scenario you describe, is when people aren't available when they commit they'll be, mentally and productively, not their location.

A WFH home employee shouldn't be out grocery shopping or napping skipping a committed meeting, and a WFO employee shouldn't be out at coffee/lunch at a slot they already committed to a meeting either, or falling asleep at the back of the conference room after a heavy lunch or distracted by their phone, if they do attend. It's about managing schedules and scheduling conflicts for better productivity, a lot more than it's about physical presence.

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You need to be available based on your team's requirements, period.
100% agree, and not sure where your disagreement is. I gave my own example. I'm contracted to work 8 hrs/day, but I have to split those hours to accommodate other team members' availability, who in turn do the same. If my entire team worked a set 8-hour block in our respective timezones (some of which barely overlap, think Australia or Japan and US West coast), we wouldn't get much done as a team. Within a 24-hour calendar day, when I'm not 'at work', I'm cooking, grocery shopping, helping my spouse/parents with stuff, reading, exercising, sometimes catching a power nap. What's the word? Living!

There are use cases for contiguous shifts, say customer service jobs or factory floor jobs. Some even require personal phones/media devices be deposited with security to avoid distractions. There's no one-size-fits-all operating model.

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...Why do you feel it is your right to expect others to fit their work around your life? If there is an emergency or genuine concern, yes, but otherwise why?
You're imagining things. Our employment itself is discretionary, so there's no question of demanding anything downstream from the contract as a 'right.' I just pointed out work and life aren't clearly separated for any of us. It's just a matter of degrees. We pick & choose what counts as acceptable distractions for us, but we get high & mighty about what counts as an acceptable schedule for others.

My job/life probably can't fit your schedule, and yours probably won't fit mine. I simply choose to work for a flexible, competent and highly successful organisation, with a boss and team that fits the same description and measures my performance against clearly-defined outcome-based targets, not the seat I park my butt in. When that changes, I'll reconsider and alter my choices. You're free to make your own choices, of course.

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 24th May 2023 at 18:53.
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Old 25th May 2023, 01:23   #595
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Re: Work From Home (WFH): Is this the future for many?

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Originally Posted by Chetan_Rao View Post
If both of them are skipping a committed meeting/deliverable for the same amount of time, what's the real difference?

A WFH home employee shouldn't be out grocery shopping or napping skipping a committed meeting, and a WFO employee shouldn't be out at coffee/lunch at a slot they already committed to a meeting either, or falling asleep at the back of the conference room after a heavy lunch or distracted by their phone, if they do attend. It's about managing schedules and scheduling conflicts for better productivity, a lot more than it's about physical presence.
Within a 24-hour calendar day, when I'm not 'at work', I'm cooking, grocery shopping, helping my spouse/parents with stuff, reading, exercising, sometimes catching a power nap. What's the word? Living!
Availability is not just being present for pre-planned meetings. Life would have been so much simpler if all one had to do was attend some meetings, finish their task, and go home. But that's not what a typical software job, especially the senior roles, involves. A lot of time is spent on ideation, discussions, and design, which require collaboration with other human beings. It is much easier to walk down to a colleague and get their input than waiting for them to respond to a mail or chat.

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The primary issue in the scenario you describe is when people aren't available when they commit they'll be, mentally and productively, not their location.
No, there is no written or verbal commitment. It is the expectation or sometimes even a requirement that a person be available when their team or stakeholder needs them, yes not physically of course. But, everyone is not a fiduciary and the WFH provides a far more conducive environment to slack off than WFO.

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My job/life probably can't fit your schedule, and yours probably won't fit mine. I simply choose to work for a flexible, competent and highly successful organisation, with a boss and team that fits the same description and measures my performance against clearly-defined outcome-based targets, not the seat I park my butt in. When that changes, I'll reconsider and alter my choices. You're free to make your own choices, of course.

You are making a lot of assumptions about my work choices, performance, and schedule without knowing what I do or where I work. So keep you and me out of the discussion and try to approach the situation from a neutral angle. Oh and cut the holier-than-thou attitude as well.
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Old 25th May 2023, 02:30   #596
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Re: Work From Home (WFH): Is this the future for many?

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Life would have been so much simpler if all one had to do was attend some meetings, finish their task, and go home. But that's not what a typical software job, especially the senior roles, involves. A lot of time is spent on ideation, discussions, and design, which require collaboration with other human beings. It is much easier to walk down to a colleague and get their input than waiting for them to respond to a mail or chat.
But this how things actually work when you have a team spread across the globe. Like Chetan, I too am a contracted IT worker working with folks in different time zones. What you mention about in-person meeting makes sense if the entire team is working out of the same office.
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Old 25th May 2023, 08:50   #597
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Re: Work From Home (WFH): Is this the future for many?

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Having a bunch of people in the same building for few hours a day makes certain things possible, like impromptu ideation/brainstorming sessions, superior triage for production issues, and finally intense focus.
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But that's not what a typical software job, especially the senior roles, involves. A lot of time is spent on ideation, discussions, and design, which require collaboration with other human beings. It is much easier to walk down to a colleague and get their input than waiting for them to respond to a mail or chat.
Exactly, this is a huge part of the creative process. Folks who are unfamiliar with this are not appreciating the value it has.

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But this how things actually work when you have a team spread across the globe.
He is not talking about how a distributed team works across a globe. Creative teams are usually small and located in the same place, and they need to throw ideas at each other all the time, whenever the idea pops in the mind. Very hard to do in WFH situation.

I did 50% WFH for 10 years beween 2010-2020. Since then I am on 100% WFH. I really miss the impromptu ideation/brainstorming sessions now. And I can see how it impacts group creative process. Web meets don't provide the same dynamics of bunch of people arguing in the same room while looking at a white board.

Last edited by Samurai : 25th May 2023 at 08:55.
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Old 25th May 2023, 09:58   #598
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Re: Work From Home (WFH): Is this the future for many?

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He is not talking about how a distributed team works across a globe. Creative teams are usually small and located in the same place, and they need to throw ideas at each other all the time, whenever the idea pops in the mind. Very hard to do in WFH situation.

.
I am not denying that. I am a Network Consultant, working with a small team who handle multiple clients. We design, deploy enterprise networks for our clients. I have been doing this from 8+ years now and haven't met any of my peers located in the US, EU, Asia. We have been able to retain clients, deliver to 100% satisfaction. Does this means we are not creative enough? The WFH model also works, at least for some, not for everyone.
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Old 25th May 2023, 10:27   #599
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Re: Work From Home (WFH): Is this the future for many?

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I am a Network Consultant... Does this means we are not creative enough?
There are different kinds of creative processes, yours may not be affected. Product/Concept development is not the same as network design.
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Old 25th May 2023, 10:37   #600
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Re: Work From Home (WFH): Is this the future for many?

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But this how things actually work when you have a team spread across the globe. Like Chetan, I too am a contracted IT worker working with folks in different time zones. What you mention about in-person meeting makes sense if the entire team is working out of the same office.
If your entire team is spread around, then it is different. But when you have many people (need not be all) in the same location, being together physically makes a lot of things easier.
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