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Remote Work is the New Signing Bonus

13 Mins read

The push for flexibility is adding to the wave of resignations rippling through the U.S., recruiters say. And this is motivating many employers to re-evaluate their work-from-home policies. Some are also realizing that remote work is the new signing bonus.

Canadian video-software firm Vidyard says it has seen a steep increase in job applications in recent months. This is after emphasizing that roles can be after emphasizing that roles can be performed mostly at home. […]

After almost a year and a half of working from home, many white-collar employees say they are not willing to return to corporate offices full-time. Even whispers of returning have been enough to send some professionals searching for an exit—and plenty of bosses are welcoming them to new jobs with the promise they can work remotely, at least most of the time.

The push for flexibility is adding to the wave of resignations rippling through the U.S., recruiters say. And this motivating many employers to re-evaluate their work-from-home policies. Some are also realizing that remote work is the new signing bonus. Canadian video-software firm Vidyard says it has seen a steep increase in job applications in recent months. This is after emphasizing that roles can be performed mostly at home. And at Allstate Corp. , conversations about every new position now begin with the question: “Why can’t this be done remotely?” says Carrie Blair, the insurance giant’s chief human-resources officer. “It’s a big workforce shift for us.”

75% -24% -1%: Remote Work- Hybrid Model – Onsite

Hardly anyone will return to Allstate’s offices full time, Ms. Blair says, after employees expressed in surveys that they didn’t want to and the company found most functions don’t require an office setting. Allstate recently decided 75% of roles can be performed remotely. And that another 24% can be done on a hybrid basis, with workers splitting time between home and the office. The 1% who will go back to a pre-Covid-style office setting include some top executives and certain people in field offices with customer-facing roles.

Marc Cenedella, founder and chief executive of Ladders, a job-search site for roles that pay north of $100,000 a year, says greater flexibility is shaping up as a perk that companies can wield to poach talented people.

“Remote is going to be the new signing bonus,” he says. “Instead of dangling, ‘We’ll give you $10,000 if you sign for this job.’ It’ll be: ‘Instead of having to commute 35 minutes every day, go to work, and get in your car and drive 35 minutes home, you can work from your home office all the time.’ ”

Higher pay, zero commute and meditation time

Matt Croak, a 27-year-old software engineer in New York City, wasn’t actively looking for a new job earlier this year. But believed his consulting-firm employer could begin reopening its offices this summer in a hybrid capacity. So, when a recruiter reached out in April about an engineering role at an e-commerce company that would allow him to continue working fully from home, he pursued it.

The job comes with higher pay and the chance to learn new skills. But it will also allow him to spend mornings reading in his living room in Brooklyn. That is, instead of been hunched over a subway seat while commuting 45 minutes into Manhattan. Mr. Croak says that, over the past 16 months, he has had more personal time for meditation and other self care—activities. And he wasn’t ready to give up in order to rush back and forth to and from an office again.

“I do really want to work from home permanently,” he says.

Why are they quitting just now and not later?

More American workers are quitting their jobs than at any time in at least 20 years, according to the Labor Department. One factor behind the trend, executives say, is that more employers are outlining their return-to-office plans in detail. And this is giving employees a clearer sense of what to expect next. 

Apple Inc. recently said it wants most office workers to show up Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. And this is with the option to work remotely on Wednesdays and Fridays. Other companies, such as Pontiac, Mich.-based United Wholesale Mortgage, are recalling thousands of employees to a corporate campus in the coming weeks, with a goal of getting close to 100% of workers back and resuming a traditional five-day workweek, according to the company’s chief executive, Mat Ishbia.

“You see tons of bold statements. Companies saying, ‘No remote work.’ Some companies are saying, ‘We’re getting rid of all of our offices,’ ” says Bret Taylor, president and chief operating officer of Salesforce.com Inc. In many cases, it is the employees who are primarily calling the shots. “There’s like a free market of the future of work. And employees are choosing which path that they want to go on.”

Looking for a new job post-pandemic

In a recent survey of 2,000 workers commissioned by Prudential Financial Inc., a quarter of respondents said they planned to look for a new job post-pandemic. Many of those planning to leave are citing work-life balance issues as among their top concerns. Half of respondents reported feeling that the pandemic had given them more control in deciding the direction of their careers.

Jeff Simonds, a 38-year-old who lives in Burlington, Vt., began a new remote job this past week as a search-engine optimization manager at Updater Inc., a New York-based tech company, that makes software designed to help with logistical challenges when people relocate. Before the pandemic, Mr. Simonds worked in an office and says he never would have considered doing otherwise.

New realities, new feelings

Over the past year, he says he appreciated being able to throw in a load of laundry during the workday, or to begin his day from home earlier so that he could squeeze in a round of golf in the late afternoon, with his work completed. The new role came with a raise, and he says he considers the ability to work remotely as a kind of bonus. “It’s the freedom to kind of define my own workday,” he says.

His prior company, which provides marketing services and tools for auto dealers, had tentatively discussed returning to the office in September, Mr. Simonds says.

“Knowing that there was somewhat of a looming deadline of life back in the office” helped to inform the career move, Mr. Simonds says, adding that he was primarily drawn to his new employer’s growth prospects and the chance to help shape a new team. “I didn’t hate the office life, but I’m very accustomed to this now.”

Policies must shift

Though a number of companies are still calling workers back to offices, some bosses realize policies must shift to remain competitive. At First Advantage Corp. , an Atlanta technology company that employs more than 3,500 people and had its initial public offering this week, CEO Scott Staples says the company plans to reopen its offices in phases over the coming months. Some employees, particularly those in technology roles, will likely be able to spend more time working remotely.

“I think CEOs of the future just have to have a lot more flexibility on policies and procedures. It’s the only way you’re going to grow and survive,” Mr. Staples says. “There are certain roles where if a person doesn’t want to come back in for a variety of reasons, we can accommodate that. And I think that will make us an attractive employer.”

Big and small companies making big and small changes

Technology giant Adobe Inc. said this week that its roughly 23,000 employees could spend 50% of their time at home once U.S. offices begin reopening in July. But also said that remote-work arrangements would expand for those who desire them.

“Our default work arrangement going forward for employees is to be flexible,” says Gloria Chen, the company’s head of human resources. Adobe won’t mandate which days employees go into offices or track how much time they spend in them. “Flexibility means flexibility,” she says.

Last fall, as Amy Culver’s employer began discussing plans to eventually return to the office, she found herself filled with dread. Without her typical 40-to-60-minute commute, Ms. Culver, a marketing copywriter, had more time to spend with her daughters, 11 and 16. She was able to continue horseback riding, her postwork outlet, even as the winter sun set earlier. Previously, she and her husband, who works irregular hours, might go several days each week without seeing each other. Working from home outside Richmond, Va., eliminated that issue, she says, and made it easier to spend time together as a family.

Autonomy to do more

“I felt like I had a handle on everything for the first time in a long time,” says Ms. Culver, who is 43.

Though her manager told her she could continue to work from home even after the office in Richmond reopened, Ms. Culver worried about scrutiny and whether she’d be treated as a second-class citizen in the company. Possibly losing out on opportunities if she stayed in her basement workspace while co-workers returned. She began applying for jobs at companies that allow most employees to work remotely, and quickly had an offer that appealed to her. In November she started at When I Work, an employee-scheduling software company.

Today Ms. Culver typically works from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. But says she has the autonomy to take her daughter to driver’s ed class in the middle of the day or return to a project later in the evening when she feels creative.

“Now that I work for a remote-first company, we’re all in the same boat. I’m not concerned that’s going to hold me back at all,” she said. “I’m on a team, but I still get to work from home. And I feel like that’s the best of both worlds.”

Then comes in ‘defined remote-work cultures’

Other employees have chosen companies with defined remote-work cultures. Pallavi Daliparthi, a 36-year-old who lives outside Austin, Texas, took a job in May with GitLab Inc., a fully remote company that sells tools for software developers. Ms. Daliparthi, now a senior manager on GitLab’s sales team, had previously worked remotely at a large enterprise-technology company. She already knew that in a hybrid environment, decisions could be made over coffee in the office that she may have missed while at home. “Whereas here, everybody really is remote,” Ms. Daliparthi says. “You know there’s nothing happening in the background, in-person somewhere.”

Quick changes, new possibilities

A lot of people say they hope to stay remote for years to come. Brandon Minaya, a 26-year-old tech-company employee, moved to a neighborhood in Seattle late last year that has few links to public transportation, anticipating that he would no longer be commuting to an office in future roles. In March, he took a fully remote client-facing position with Intellum, an Atlanta-based company that makes education software.

Instead of taking an hourlong bus ride each way to a WeWork location, as he did in a previous role, Mr. Minaya says he often starts his mornings walking to a nearby beach, where he looks for seals and birds. Most mornings, he takes the time to brew himself a pour-over coffee, something he once reserved for weekends.

While searching for a new job, he prized companies that seemed committed to remote work. “I wanted to find somewhere where this isn’t something that’s going to be pulled back in six months,” he says. “Like: ‘Just kidding!’ ”

He has the flexibility to meet with colleagues in person, or to travel to the company’s Atlanta headquarters, he says. But “the fact that it’s not expected of me is kind of the arrangement that I want to keep.”


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5 Ways You Can Avoid Work-From-Home Burnout

  • Create a ‘buddy’ system among colleagues.
  • Have regular check-ins with team members – for example, politely asking for people to keep video on for some time, to see how well everyone is doing.
  • Introduce fun challenges to keep employees motivated – virtual and in-person.
  • Audit your own and personnel home workspaces and perhaps, personal circumstance – this can help you to understand what employees need in their home office space to work optimally.
  • Allow some flexibility – put in some proper guidelines to guard against abuse.

How to Create the Life and Career You Want With Self-Love

Self-love is the process of knowing yourself, connecting with your inner self, overcoming self-limiting beliefs, letting go of everything that doesn’t serve you, and falling in love with yourself.

Self-love helps silence the fear of rejection, our inner critic, and instead befriend it to serve us rather than taunt us. And we develop confidence in what we stand for, when we know who we are from within. With self-love, we are able to let go of self-judgment, negative thoughts, opinions, and people who are not aligned with us.

When we accept ourselves wholly for who we are, people around us also start seeing us in the same light. Likewise, when we love what we do and do what we love, we are alive and soaring in all that we do. This further draws others with positive energy to us. Ultimately, that power of love for yourself, will not only elevate your relationship with yourself, but enhance and deepen your relationship with work, family, life, and everything around you.


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New NHS flexible Working Rights to Improve Work-life Balance and Retain Staff

An agreement on ​​new flexible working rights aimed at giving NHS staff a better work-life balance is announced today (Tuesday) by health unions and NHS employers. The deal will make it easier for workers to request flexible working arrangements. This includes a right to do so from ​the first day staff are employed in the NHS. […]

This is expected to help the NHS recruit and retain health workers. The agreement comes at a time when many health employers and ​their staff are beginning to consider new ways of working. ​The government has ​already promised a consultation on work flexibility for all UK workplaces.

Poor work-life balance is often given as a key reason for employees wanting to leave the health service. The extra demands of the pandemic have left staff exhausted with many re-evaluating their priorities and considering leaving the NHS.

To tackle this, health unions and NHS employers have agreed ​several new flexible measures to encourage staff to continue their careers in health. The provisions will apply in England, Scotland and Wales, with similar measures expected to follow in Northern Ireland.

New Contractual Terms

The new contractual terms will allow staff to:

  • Request flexible working from the start of their employment (removing the requirement to have six months’ service)
  • Make an unlimited number of applications for flexible working, instead of just one a year
  • Submit applications without having to justify requests or provide specific reasons
  • ​Access a process ​where managers must refer ​on requests that cannot be accommodated initially to ensure all possible solutions are explored.

Employers will be expected to promote flexibility options for all jobs at the recruitment stage​ and discuss them regularly with all staff in one-to-one meetings, team discussions and appraisals.

Health employers will also work with unions to develop, agree and offer a broader range of flexible working arrangements. In addition, they will ​monitor and examine what happens to requests ​made across their organisations.

Go to Worklife Feed or https://www.unison.org.uk to continue reading the article


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How to Offer Your Staff the Right Kind of Flexibility

The word “flexible” is broad, and could mean a flexible location, flexible hours, an ethos of flexibility, and many other things that is peculiar to each organization and employee.

Consider these tips to determine what flexibility means to your workforce so you can make sure that policy changes are relevant. But first, take a step back and look at what workplace flexibility could mean.

What Flexibility Means In 2021

Flextime. This can be remote working and ability to set hours outside of the traditional 9-to-5 timeslot. Or, allowing compressed work schedules, which let employees complete the usual 40 hours in fewer than five workdays.

Location. Ability to work outside of the office, like during the pandemic. Or in a hybrid work environment where employees have control over how many days a week they show up in person.

Reduced schedule. Programs such as job sharing and phased retirement give employees a chance to step back from full-time employment while still working at your organization.

Paid Time Off (PTO). A generous—or even unlimited—amount of paid for time, when employees have the freedom to take (and use) the time they need to be productive (doing work or non work related activity).

Finding Out What Flexibility Means To Your Staff

1. Gather information. Start by conducting a survey to get a sense for what your staff wants out of a flexible workplace. Ask specifically about the above workplace policies, what they’ve liked or haven’t liked about remote work, and how their productivity has been affected since having the freedom that remote work provides.

You can continue the conversation by setting up company town hall meetings, focus groups, or one-on-one discussions to dig deeper into what your staff wants.

2. Consider industry trends. On top of employee preferences, there might be certain flexible work policies that are more relevant to your organization than others. For example, if onsite work is required, you can’t offer remote work but could still opt for flextime.

You can also ask other organizations if they’ve taken steps to make work more flexible for their employees and consider how those policies would apply to your own workforce.

3. Shadow employees and reassess. Once you implement your own brand of workplace flexibility, see how your workforce responds. How has productivity been affected? What is the feeling around the office? Have you noticed any roadblocks that you didn’t consider during your knowledge-gathering stage?

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No One Wants To Work Too Much. So Why Do We Do It?

Many people have an inaccurate beliefs about their workload. Here are a few pointers to address this.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Get more done in the same amount of time by learning to work more efficiently. Better manage distractions and attention seeking activities. Learning a comprehensive workflow management system is another way to get more done in less time. 

Ultimately your own work-life balance is completely up to you. No one can “give you” better balance. You have to take it.

Question Assumptions

Stop thinking that other people expect you to be available all the time. Also, trying to conform to the expectations that other people have for you is exhausting and ultimately futile.

You Have a Habit of Distraction

Your most important resources are not your time or your money or even your attention. Your most important resources are your body and your mind.

Manage checking your communication channels during workday every 1-3 minutes. Else, you get conditioned and wont be able to “shut it off,” workday, work week or at your personal time.

You Have Control

Studies show that a boss’s work-life balance is an important factor in the work-life balance of their employees, and that if all better utilize downtimes, everyone will likely to be physically and emotionally healthier.

Recommended: The Third Space according to Adam Fraser is the transitional gap in between what we do. It’s not what we do, it’s what we do in between what we do that is most important.


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How to Offer Your Staff the Right Kind of Flexibility

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