Non-Verbal Communication Strikes Back

Dr Stuart Woolley
CodeX
Published in
5 min readNov 8, 2022

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“Here’s looking at you, work unit 174 beta…”

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

The move to remote working has been a truly beautiful thing, freeing millions of software engineers toiling away in the grand game from the seemingly endless panopticon like surveillance of the office based work.

No more do we cower in fear whilst peeping into Stack Overflow and have it mistaken for some kind of online shopping or Dark Web drug dealing by vindictive middle managers, nor do we have to hide the fact that we’re not actually productive constantly from 9–5pm by pretending to endlessly type our names on the keyboard whilst the focus is sneakily outside of any useful window.

Those days are behind us.

With the change has come a new age of increased productivity, a decrease in spontaneous managerial defenestrations, and overall a reduced level of stress from the aforementioned decrease in Stasi activity in the workplace and the lengths we had to go to in order to avoid it.

Everything from project manager automatons disturbing you for a 3h ‘quick catch up’ to HR droid units going over the mandatory wellbeing programs and decreased number of days of ‘holiday’ you can carry over to your next year in servitude have been thankfully reduced primarily to the conduit of online interactions.

Damocles Returns

However, as we’ve alluded to in many previous articles, online interactions are fraught with their own dangers and can be quite the double edged sword to the inexperienced among our extensive cohort.

Now, I’m not only talking about the frustration associated with interacting with non-technicals constantly wondering why they’re on mute who look like they’re drowning on screen (as they mash as many buttons as they can hoping for sound), or even having to put up with endless pings from the ‘collaboration’ software as someone from HR rapidly changes dates, times, invitees, and eventually gives up on yet another new hire ‘introduce yourself to the group’ session.

But, what I am talking about is the greatest change, a change that in some circumstances causes us to come under more surveillance than ever before. Not only that, often such surveillance is even recorded, stored, filed, and possibly even…

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Dr Stuart Woolley
CodeX

Worries about the future. Way too involved with software. Likes coffee, maths, and . Would prefer to be in academia. SpaceX, Twitter, and Overwatch fan.