BW 32 Remote Work Myths | BrainWorks
10/21/2021

Myths & Realities of the Remote Work Environment

Working remotely during the pandemic has been an overwhelming success for both employees and employers. A report published by BBC after surveying 4,700 in the workforce found that the majority of these professionals and executives don’t want to return to the office in a full-time capacity. 72% of these workers said that they wanted a hybrid remote-office model in the post-Covid-19 world.

The culmination of all of this data will lead to a massive shift in the way companies will operate and their employees will work in the post-pandemic era.

Before we can adjust recruiting and hiring practices to this new reality, whether in private equity, consumer products, accounting and finance, investment banking or any industry or category, we will need to examine and perhaps let go of some prevalent myths about remote work.

Myth 1: Remote Workers Are Disengaged

Some employees naturally thrive when they are offered the higher degree of independence typical of remote working arrangements. With remote working a necessity, there will be a premium on recruiting “self-starters” and for employers to generate connection, from providing ongoing training and career development opportunities, to organizing get-togethers where folks can bond and catch up with their colleagues.

Myth 2: Remote Workers are Lazy

Remote workers need to be disciplined and able to work on their own initiative, and ambitious and organized enough to keep up high-performance standards without much direction. Those that work remotely need to understand clearly that they will be judged on their output and can lose their remote working privileges if their performance declines. In recruiting for remote work jobs, it is critical to make expectations and consequences explicit.

Myth 3: Work From Home Employees are not Team Players

Working remotely doesn’t mean not caring for the team, nor does it mean that a person doesn’t enjoy the company of others. Those that work from home can be as committed as office-based team members – they actually have to be if they want to be successful. The proliferation of virtual communication tools enables remote teams to stay connected and collaborate on an ongoing, productive basis, regardless of where the members are located.

Some people are self-energizing, finding extensive interpersonal interaction tiring and depleting. Others are externally oriented and energized by interaction. Either could be good choices for remote work, depending on the company’s culture – if your company places a premium on interaction, look for the latter; if meetings are places to air and debate thought-out conclusions, then the former are the better bet. Both are team players, just on different kinds of teams.

 

Recruiting for Remote Work

In hiring for remote (or mostly remote) positions, clarity is key. Using the right language in a job description helps applicants understand that it’s a remote role and helps your job search appear in the search results of people looking for remote positions. Keywords such as work from home, remote, distributed, and virtual paint a clear picture for the potential applicant.

Also, an offer of remote work doesn’t necessarily mean staff can work from home 100% of the time. Define what remote and flexible mean for the role now and in the future. Clearly identify what happens to the role if it’s remote during the pandemic. Can people still work from home when things return to normal? Will it revert to five days in the office, or just a few? If the remote aspect of the role is temporary, make sure that is crystal clear in the job description, so there’s no room for misunderstanding later.

A common misconception about remote work is that someone can live anywhere and still work for a remote company, but that is not always the case. Many remote companies (and around 95% of remote jobs) have location requirements for tax reasons or because of local employment laws. Some companies allow employees to work from home, but they must live close to the office for meetings or to be near the client base.

Whatever the reason, specify where someone must live when they work remotely for you. In some cases, you may also need to spell out why someone needs to live in a specific region. If it’s for clients, say so. Or, if it’s to attend regular weekly meetings, explain that, too.

Some remote companies have mandatory once or twice a year meet-ups for the entire company. And while some positions offer flexibility and control over daily scheduling, staff may still have to be on call for certain hours. Although flexible work usually gives people control over their work hours, there may still be required meetings on X day at Y time. Make sure you include these mandatory meetings in the job description or be prepared to communicate those during the interview process at a minimum.

As you recruit more remote employees than ever before, you should be prepared for unique challenges. First and foremost, use recruiting firms with solid and proven virtual recruiting and hiring processes in place so they can continually measure and optimize effectiveness. This is a case where you should not rely on obsolete internal hiring processes that are geared toward full time office attendance and that have not caught up with the new world of remote work.

 

ABOUT BRAINWORKS

BrainWorks is a prominent boutique executive search firm offering a 29-year track record of successfully sourcing and placing top talent. By harnessing proven strategies, collaborating with stakeholders, and leveraging a diverse and talented candidate network, BrainWorks helps businesses find, attract, and ultimately hire talented professionals that create differentiated results. To learn more about how Brainworks can help you, contact us.

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