back to article Don't forget to brush your teeth, WFH staff told as Dropbox drops the office, declares itself 'virtual first'

Cloudy storage company Dropbox has declared itself a "virtual first" company, meaning that for all of its employees "remote work (outside an office) will be the primary experience". The 3,000-staffer company, which has a head office in San Francisco and 12 offices elsewhere around the world, said that while remote will be "the …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I think it really just comes down to how you define "productivity".

    Do you define it like a sane person of "doing the work that needs to be done in a reasonable time to a reasonable standard"? Then no, you don't lose productivity at all from WfH.

    But if you define it the way manglement does in "employee X isn't grinding away at their workstation non-stop from clock in to clock out, that's LOST PRODUCTIVITY" then of course you lose "productivity".

    Work smarter, not harder.

    1. Teiwaz

      Re: Productivity

      But if you define it the way manglement does in "employee X isn't grinding away at their workstation non-stop from clock in to clock out, that's LOST PRODUCTIVITY" then of course you lose "productivity".

      I think, in some management schools of thought, working smarter is an executive area, best results are gained from the drones in some sort of Metropolis-like working environment.

    2. Santa from Exeter

      Re: Productivity @ AC

      Speak for yourself.

      By your very definition I am not as productive whilst WFH and I hate it.

      Can't wait to get back to the oveheard remarks that spark knowledge transfer and creativity personally.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Re: Productivity - Enhance vs. maintain

        Spot on.

        If you want to maintain current levels of productivity measured by current reports and checklists, WFH can manage that .

        But if you want to enhance productivity, the unplanned and unexpected gains in knowledge and creativity which come from F2F interactions in an office are essential.

        1. Loyal Commenter

          Re: Productivity - Enhance vs. maintain

          YMMV, personally, I find the things in the office that are unplanned and unexpected are not gains in knowledge and creativity, but disruptions from things such as loud cow-orkers making phone calls, marketoids peacocking around the office, unnecessary meetings (at least when you're on a VOIP call, you can be doing something else productive if the boss can't see you), and getting stuck in the kitchen with the office bore when you're trying to grab a quick mug of tea/coffee.

          For me, knowledge is gained from being able to focus on learning a skill, and I find learning from written materials which I can cross-reference more natural than listening to someone ramble around a topic. Again, YMMV. As for creativity; that comes from within - inspiration may come from others, but I have to say from experience, people found in offices tend to be a pretty uninspiring lot.

      2. AdamWill

        Re: Productivity @ AC

        yup, the best answer is "it depends on the person and the job". I've been working from home since 2004 and it works great for me, but I have colleagues for whom it doesn't work at all. There's no one answer.

        1. Danny 2 Silver badge

          Re: Productivity @ AC


          "it depends on the person and the job"

          Exactly, it depends on both. I've been in jobs where I would have been more productive in the office/factory, and some where I'd be more productive at home.

          Hopefully from now on employees will have much more input, trust and flexibility about their location.

  2. GlenP Silver badge


    Not everyone is in a position to work from home permanently. Younger people in shared accommodation often find it very difficult, parents with young families can have problems even when there is another carer present, etc.

    There is also the issue of missed interaction, we're trialling a daily "coffee time" online for our office with most of the workforce at home. So far the conversation has mainly been about why X's microphone isn't working or why we cant see Y even though his camera is on, but we'll see ow it goes.

    1. Captain Hogwash

      Re: But...

      You'll find that soon becomes one of the annoying interruptions from colleagues.

      1. Loyal Commenter

        Re: But...

        For me, TPTB have decreed that we should have a daily "check-in" 15-minute call with our colleagues (with obligatory video on of course). That's 15 minutes more than I'd typically choose to spend talking to most of them, and I'm convinced that this is nothing to do with our welfare, but more to do with the need for certain managers to feel like their job is relevant. That, and forcing you to get dressed every day.

        Whilst I can see how some people may need the human contact this brings, we're a team of software developers. There's a certain personality type amongst devs, and it's typically not socially outgoing. Don't get me wrong - I'm not an antisocial person, it's just I can function perfectly well without making mindless small-talk with people I'm forced into a work-space with, and a daily "check-in" is a 15 minute interruption to your flow when you're trying to devise the best way to solve a programming problem.

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: But... @Loyal Commenter

          We feel your pain, Loyal Commenter. :-)

          1. Loyal Commenter

            Re: But... @Loyal Commenter

            At least we don't have the ~3s comms latency you get between Earth and Mars...

  3. MiguelC Silver badge

    I blame The Register

    As my primary source of distraction :)

    (doesn't matter if in the office or at home, though)

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: I blame The Register

      I was just thinking while working from today that I visited El Reg few times than when at the office. I definately get more done on the tech side of my job when working from home, I sifted through 3500 Windows updates in a new WSUS today, last time I deployed one it took me a week because of interruptions at the office - phone calls, colleagues, users and vendors. It's so hard to refocus!

  4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    What to do .... with so much spare time in your hand, and at one's beck and call?

    Step into something novel and noble and EMPowering *?

    "we are not committing to having every employee work from anywhere as we believe there is value in employees being together in the workplace." ... Microsoft

    That and those fully committed to believing working for anyone from anywhere is the right answer for the future, are a valuable asset and almighty powerful tool full of explosive energy. And much more than just a helluva handful to wonderfully mismanage ..... as in attempt to interfere with for anything other than the very best of all good reasons associated with and attending to SMARTR IDEas in Greater IntelAIgent Games Plays.

    The Default Rewarding Punishment for Persistent Failure Ignoring the Need to Heed Any of those Types of Obscure Exotic and Attractively Erotic Seed Feeds, in invariably, for all the very best of great reasons, an Annihilating Spectacular Self-Destruction.

    So take extremely good care in there. It is not unimportant whenever guaranteed so fatal and final to worthy personnel and their systems administrations/willing collaborators/aiding cohorts/conspiring joint enterprise partners/gang leaders and cell members.

    * ... Sounds like an excellent master plan with any number of great ideas possible for Advanced IntelAIgent Realisation .... Future Presentation and Driver Hosting Support Services for Mass Market TeleVisual Rendering via Current Media Mogul Office Command and Control Operations. ...... Entertaining and Leading with Future AI News Rooms.

    Well, what have you been doing lately, with so much free time on your hands and so much not happening practically everywhere struggling in such a manic schizophrenic pandemic environment. Anything really good and awesomely attractive?

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: What to do .... with so much spare time in your hand, and at one's beck and call?

      The title of this comment and its generative post is extremely misleading and it should read as a simple statement on an admittedly decidedly designedly complex matter.... What has been done with so much spare time at one's beck and call

      Now, with that having been said, and clearly enough registered here for personal comprehension and wwwider onward transmission, does the programming morph into another avenue of likely operation and possible, and therefore quite probable stealthy engagement with interested second and interesting third parties if the necessary intelligence is not MIA/AWOL in its executive administrative systems.

      The following is a prime 0day example of such a morph ......

      CyberIntelAIgent Interventions for Both Supply and Delivery of Realistic Tinkering

      cc .... MI5 DG Ken McCallum re the future threat landscape as a suitable case for SMARTR Virtual Treatment ...... Augmented Alternative Reality Presentations

      I Kid U Not. The difficulty you may have in believing in such an advanced development is because of that from which you may suffer to an alarming and disarming degree, and which is succinctly summed up in the acronym, FUD.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The more things change....

    Fortunately, the layers of management that make the final decision will be swayed by only one consideration: "Hey, it costs us less!"

  6. NeilPost Silver badge

    3,000 Employee’s and 12 offices??

    As pretty much a one-product company it seems to me staggering that Dropbox have 3,000 staffers and 12 global offices.... yet have not achieved in the base product (for Windows) as something as simple as being able to map a drive letter to your Cloud Storage without having to resort to kludges like vSubst.

    As with mobile data, I pay for the full whack so how I use it is surely my choice.

  7. ICL1900-G3 Bronze badge


    That is all. Have people really lost all knowledge of what it takes to live a healthy life? Looking at the size of some, maybe they have.

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