As a recruiter, I meet with an abundance of candidates on a daily basis. This affords us the opportunity to really understand what is important to candidates when considering a new move or to simply motivate them to stay with their current employer. Historically, salary and career progression have been cited as two of the main drivers for candidates, and this is still the case. However, over the last few years, I have noticed an incredible increase in the desire to have the option for remote work from home from candidates. Even if this is only 1-2 days per week. This is particularly true in the IT industry.
With technology being a fantastic enabler, the ability to work remotely has never been easier. For many professions, from sales people to software engineers, there is theoretically no need to be office based full time. CRM systems and working platforms can be accessed easily from home and there is an argument that employees can be just as, if not more so, productive from home. Employee engagement firm, TINYpulse, recently completed an extensive survey in this area, surveying over 500 remote employees in the US. Remote workers scored 8.10, compared to all workers’ score of 7.42 out of 10, in terms of happiness within their role. If remote work is really this important to candidates, should employers embrace this and start to include it as part of their package offering?
Benefits of Working Remotely
Remote workers argue that the flexibility allows them to be far more effective. Rather than wasting time on long commutes, pointless meetings and other office distractions, working from home can allow you to isolate yourself for a period of time and solely focus on delivering your work. This may increase the output and quality of the work you produce.
According to Ari Zoldan CEO, Quantum Networks, LLC, “For employers telecommuting can limit absences, increase productivity, and save money”. This is especially true in the tech industry, where working from home is easily facilitated by cutting edge technology
- Quality of Candidate
Recruiting for highly technical or difficult to fill skillsets can be challenging. By allowing remote work, employers can broaden their capability to hire and truly hire the best possible candidates. By removing geographical and Visa restrictions, employers can engage with some of the most talented employees on the market.
While this is a brief overview, it does raise some interesting points. Remote work certainly does have its detractors. It has been said that the isolation of working remotely can make it very difficult for candidates to separate their work/ home life, thus making them enjoy their work less. This will also have an impact on the quality of the results produced.
It also presents significant cultural difficulties. If a team is dispersed and rarely physically in the same place, it can be extremely difficult for employers to foster a specific company culture, which is extremely important from a HR and employer branding perspective.
However, I feel that remote work certainly has a place in today’s modern work environment. While a 100% remote work policy may not work, I feel remote work will becomes more and more prevalent over time. Offering candidates the option to work from home for a portion of their working week, after a period of time from starting in the company, can be a key deciding factor in a candidate’s decision to join one company over another.