Is Remote Work the New Normal?

When the pandemic took hold of North America, most technology employers frantically switched to a work-from-home, 100% remote model. Throughout 2020 and into 2021 many companies found their groove and in a lot of cases productivity actually increased. Now that things are starting to cool, everyone is wondering what happens now.  

Employers' Future of Work? 

Shopify was one of the first to announce they would be permanently work-from-home and adopting a 'digital by default' model. Facebook has also shared that most of their employees will either be able to work remotely full-time or in an office-based hybrid model. 

While the tech giants have spoken - what about everyone else? As an executive recruitment firm, we’ve spoken with hundreds of tech startups and their 'return to the office plans' are all over the map. Some CEOs are excited at the opportunity to recruit globally while others still want leaders physically present in-office. It seems, most employers have not come up with a go-forward plan, much less informed their employees. 

How are Employees Feeling? 

In 2020, most managers levelled up and learned to manage their remote staff. The hiccups, the Zoom goofs, the lack of a workstation all got resolved and remote employees learned how to make this new lifestyle work for them. So much so that there is now a hesitation to return to what once was.

A recent poll by YouGov shows 86% of respondents currently working from home say they would be interested in continuing to do so in some capacity and 39% of those, say they want to stay remote full-time.

Another study by HR Reporter concluded 63 percent of workers say that they will only accept a new role if the office has a flexible or remote policy. On top of that, 1 in 3 would be willing to quit their job in search of greener 'remote' pastures if they were 'forced back into the office full-time.'  

While employers are still figuring it out, their employees have spoken. When building out a go-forward plan for employees' working location, talent retention and turnover are going to become major factors. 

How to Manage Talent

Stay Flexible

If the recent polls and reviews are accurate, the 9-5 office grind is dead. If you’re looking to land (or retain) those star employees, you’ll need to be flexible and provide employees with options. Poll your employees, ask how they are feeling, and try to land on a work policy compromise.

Be Clear 

In addition to flexible options, you’re also going to need to be clear on your messaging and policies, fast! Eliminate uncertainty and share your proposed plan for remote work and/or flexible hours. Unclear or wishy-washy messaging is going to lead to nervous employees and subsequent turnover. 

Turn-up Engagement 

When employees were in a full-time office setting, it was easier to build strong relationships and reward them for their accomplishments. If working remotely or in a hybrid model is in your company’s future (and it should be) it is time to start putting extra effort into virtual employee engagement

Whether this is a new employee collaboration software, all-hands Zooms, online awards or digital recognition programs there needs to be something to keep employee enthusiasm and connection high. 

Be Creative

The silver lining to all this is that we jumped ahead 10 plus years and have determined a remote environment is not only possible, but it's also quite successful. We've seen and helped employers leverage this new reality to find and land amazing remote talent; talent they otherwise wouldn’t have had access to. 

No more relocation bonuses or settling for leaders in your local area, the entire world is available to recruit from. If you’re looking to hire global Product, Marketing, or Sales talent, book a consultation with our global executive recruitment firm today.