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I realise that this might not be the right place to ask questions about employment and that the question my raise debate etc.

The company I work for recently decided that rather than having one web developer working on sites from a branch it would be better to make that person come into head office and work in the middle of a busy call centre. Also they're expecting the developer to answer the phone if it rings and take messages.

Does anyone find that strange? Is it really the right place for a programmer to work?

Thanks for the advice

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Fails the Joel Test on "do the programmers have a quiet place to work." –  user16764 Jul 7 '12 at 19:04
Tell me more? What's the Joel Test? –  Yottatron Jul 7 '12 at 19:05
The Joel Test –  user16764 Jul 7 '12 at 19:05
Please add that as an answer its just the information I was looking for. Now I can go back to my company with some ammo. –  Yottatron Jul 7 '12 at 19:17
Fails reasonable standards for an intense thinking position...also a primary reason I left my last position. Unlikely you will change their opinion without a mass exodus of employees...like you. –  Rig Jul 7 '12 at 19:52

1 Answer 1

up vote 8 down vote accepted

In my experience something like that happens because a couple of reasons.

  • Some higher-up somewhere has zero experience with software development and what is required to work. They might see software developer as nothing more than a glorified keyboard jockey, who is no different than a secretary.
  • Management wants the developer closer to the decision makers and the call center is the only place near them. This happened to me a long time ago, a decision was made to move the developers closer to the project managers. But the only place open was in front of HR, so I got to listen to phone interviews all day.
  • Some higher-up somewhere thinks it is a cost saving advantage. Do they pay the developer while they are traveling out to the branches? If so, that could be time spent coding. I once worked for a company where an executive killed daily stand-ups because they saw we were spending 15 minutes each day not coding.

As @User16764 points out, regardless of the reason, this fails the Joel test of a quiet place to work. But the Joel Test also points out developers should have their own office. As nice as a private office is, most companies are not going to spring for one. I wouldn't go in demanding a private office or anything like that. Just a quieter cube, because that is an easier pill for managers to swallow. If they don't budge then it might be time to start looking for employment elsewhere because what your describing is not an acceptable working environment.

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It's a lot more expensive for them to have me travelling into head office each day than to travel to branch. I have no problem with travelling to HO. It also takes me about 2.5 hours to get into HO each day as opposed to 30 mins to branch. –  Yottatron Jul 7 '12 at 21:30
Also I don't particularly want to be stuck in an office on my own all day. –  Yottatron Jul 7 '12 at 21:31
Make sure they will be paying you to travel to the HQ each day. They may be expecting you to pay for the longer commute, or expecting you to quit. –  mhoran_psprep Jul 7 '12 at 23:11
They're paying for the commute so that's fine :-) –  Yottatron Jul 7 '12 at 23:47
A 2.5 hr commute is not fine, in opinion; what reason have they given for the change of work location? –  house9 Jul 8 '12 at 15:55

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