The pandemic has forced many employers to embrace remote work, and as the world begins to recover, more and more employees are looking for a remote career. I speak to 5-10 leaders every week about hybrid and remote work, and deciding whether to offer a remote career track is a key issue in our conversations. To learn more about this topic, I interviewed Sara Sutton, the CEO of FlexJobs, a job site for flexible work.
Remote Career Seekers Should Be Optimistic
Sutton believes that remote jobs are here to stay, despite reports that the number of remote jobs has decreased by 25% over the last year. She believes that employers will continue to feel the pressure to offer remote work to recruit talent and to remain competitive in the job market. Even though job postings may be decreasing at the current time, there are still many reasons why job seekers want remote work, and those reasons are not going away.
According to Sutton, companies of all sizes will be embracing remote work and integrating it. However, she disagrees with the generalization that smaller businesses are less likely to offer remote work. She thinks that it really depends on the industry and the role of the worker, not the size of the company.
She cautions against generalizing about the types of work that can happen remotely. Sutton believes that it is too early to identify the types of work that are best suited for remote work. She notes that there are many exceptions to the rule, and that a lot depends on a company’s culture, as well as their management practices.
Sutton encourages companies to view remote work as something that is custom and that should be tailored to the company’s needs. She advises companies to focus on their own goals and mission, rather than looking at what other companies are doing. She also advises companies to listen to their employees and to experiment with different approaches to remote work.
Sutton says that remote work is not just a top-down mandate, but something that can be customized to fit the needs of the company and its employees. She recommends a data-driven approach that focuses on success metrics, as well as surveys and experiments to gauge employee sentiment and to improve policies.
Benefits of Remote Work
One of the benefits of remote work that Sutton highlighted is the cost savings for both employers and employees. She noted that remote workers are not limited to talent that lives within an hour of their office and can hire talented people from anywhere. Additionally, remote workers are willing to work for somewhat less than in-office workers because they don’t have to pay as much for commuting. According to Sutton, there are cost savings of between $5,000 to $10,000 a year for a remote worker. These savings include everything from commute costs to wear and tear on your car, as well as childcare costs for the time spent commuting.
Sutton also mentioned that the cost savings component is shifting, with remote work being much more prevalent than before. As a result, there is more demand for remote work, and job seekers are finding jobs that pay more than they would have gotten in their local economy. Additionally, leading remote companies are playing with the idea of same pay for the same role no matter where you are. However, Sutton believes that this is not practical for most organizations, as the bar is too high for smaller organizations to compete with larger ones in cities like San Francisco or London.
Sutton added that remote work has been a way to include more people for a long time, and there is a lot of powerful movement behind this. She pointed out that remote work can benefit a variety of workers, including people with disabilities, caretakers, and people with invisible disabilities. Remote work can also benefit introverts, and people who are highly disciplined, or who have a particular work-life situation where remote work is highly valued.
Sutton mentioned initiatives that she is working on to help make quadriplegics more included in the workforce with robotic arms and elements of how they could do remote work and empower them as well as their caretakers to allow them to have more independence. She also said that remote work helps remove microaggressions that people from minority groups experience, allowing them to work in a much more efficient and equal manner without ongoing differences. Remote work also benefits people with invisible disabilities, including people with long COVID, who are experiencing visible disabilities, such as brain fog and fatigue.
In the end, the success of remote work depends on a variety of factors, including the company’s culture, management practices, and the needs of its employees. Remote work is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and companies need to approach it with flexibility and an open mind. However, the benefits of remote work, including increased productivity, decreased overhead costs, and improved work-life balance, make it a trend that is likely to continue in the future. That’s why, according to Sutton, job seekers who are looking for remote work should be optimistic about the future. While the number of remote job postings may have decreased in recent months, remote work is still in demand, and many companies are likely to continue to offer remote work as a benefit to attract and retain talent. The future of work is changing, and companies that embrace remote work and adapt to the changing landscape are likely to be the most successful.
The benefits of remote work, including increased productivity, decreased overhead costs, and improved work-life balance, make it a trend that is likely to continue in the future, and that’s why remote career seekers should be optimistic…>Click to tweet
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Originally published in Disaster Avoidance Experts on February 22, 2023.