Years ago I had a developer working with me on SQLServerCentral. This young lady was a very talented developer, one of the best that I worked with at Redgate, and I was saddened that she left. Her partner had an opportunity to work in Silicon Valley and decided to take it. I lobbied for her to work remotely, but at that time, Redgate didn't want any remote developer, preferring a culture of close communication and locality.
Today, I wonder how different things would be. All Redgate offices are closed, everyone works remotely over GitHub, Slack, Zoom, and other tools. We still new versions, though our pace slowed as we adapted to the new way of working. Other companies have adapted, and I still talk with customers that are building software, even without buildings. This way of remote working is effective for many organizations.
Silicon Valley and the entire Bay Area is a unique place, home to some of the most famous tech companies in the world. Many professionals have wanted to move there and experience the culture, though that desire has waned across the last decade as the cost of living has skyrocketed. While Apple built an incredible new headquarters, many employees of theirs and other companies struggled to reconcile the cost, long commutes, and long hours. Many residents have expressed their desire to see less tech firms and employees crowding their spaces and budgets.
That may be changing, with the pandemic. Facebook has announced they will let some employees leave and work in other parts of the country, though at a price. They will reduce their pay. I'm not sure what I think of that, though certainly Silicon Valley pay scales reflect the cost of living in the area. I wouldn't be surprised if other organizations follow suit, though maybe some will just continue to pay their employees well, as Basecamp does.
Some employees likely want to leave the area and eliminate some of the hardships of living in the Bay Area from their lives. This article notes that 2/3 of those surveyed would like to go. Some already have, not informing their bosses. Even changing time zones and keeping a schedule that matches your company is something many people might be willing to do.
Would they still go if their salaries are reduced? Some people would. A permanent work from home, from the home located where one chooses, might be worth a pay cut. I made that offer to a few companies years ago, but all my managers wanted someone on site.
That may change now, with companies being forced to learn how to work remotely, and many of them finding success. Would you be willing to sacrifice some pay for permanent, or even mostly the ability, to work from home?