The Future of Remote Work: What Can We Expect?

30 June 2021

Everyone is talking about the future of work and whether we will end up back in the office full time ever again. This has been a huge talking point for a long time because employees are proving that they can be more efficient and successful working from their own homes rather than spending time and often a lot of money commuting to the office. So, since the beginning of 2020, employers and employees have been contemplating the future of work. While many scaling businesses, of course, were adopting a remote-first way of working long before this, the last year has accelerated this for many other companies who may not have considered remote work just yet otherwise.

But remote working during a pandemic is one thing, remote working in a new era of work is another. Don’t underestimate how huge of a shift this is. With many companies and employees waving goodbye to a 9-5 office life favouring hybrid or fully remote work as a permanent solution, our entire way of working is about to change forever. We’re no longer bound by geography and distance to the office.

So we’re looking at the actual impact of remote work on different aspects of the recruitment process and the employee experience:

Remote Work’s Impact on Candidate Expectations

The truth is many candidates now expect the option to work at least some of the time remotely. After over a year of working from home successfully, remote work is no longer seen as a perk but rather something that all companies should offer to employees who want it. What used to be regarded as a benefit, and one that was only taken when needed, remote work is becoming more widely accepted and, more to point, greatly desired. And now we’re in a candidate-driven market; many will look elsewhere for a role if it’s not a possibility. So, if your job descriptions say 100% office based or if it becomes clear from your employer brand communications or application process that you don’t offer remote working at all, will candidates even consider you as an option? The jobs market is fiercely competitive, so scaling tech businesses must work harder to recruit talent. You cannot afford to alienate top talent because you don’t offer the opportunity for remote work.

Remote Work’s Impact on Relocation

In the past, it was perfectly normal to relocate for your career. If job opportunities were few and far between in your hometown, you might have had to consider moving to another city to be able to fulfil your career. Previously, this was accepted because there were no other options. However, now, with a rise in remote work, candidates are questioning whether they should relocate for their dream role. If the industry they work in means that they can work from home, why should they leave their families, friends and life in one city to move to another?

The COVID-19 pandemic has made corporate relocation quickly become an outdated and undesirable prospect. The prospect of working remotely and from anywhere is ruining relocation options for employers who want to have their team in one location. We’ve had clients who have had great roles on offer, which a considerable salary but the candidates to relocate, and it wasn’t easy to find anyone who was willing to do so. It doesn’t matter what compensation you offer or whether you’re an incredibly sexy company; expecting tech talent to move across the country to work with you is now going to hinder your recruitment strategy.

Because of this, many businesses are opting for a hybrid culture; employees can be in the office a few days a week or when it suits them but can also work from home. This partially remote approach is seen as a good compromise to ensure employees are happy with their working arrangements. But, what does somewhat remote working mean? Do candidates have to be commutable to the office at least sometimes, and does this mean they’ll have to relocate after all?

Remote Work’s Impact on Talent Pools

One massive advantage of remote work is that it opens up the potential talent pool to a national or even global market. Now, a tech business based in Manchester can access talent across the globe, which means that even though we’re in the middle of a tech skills shortage, there’s potential to be much more flexible with your hiring. This also gives scaling tech businesses more significant potential to scale into new markets as you can build teams remotely. If you’re happy to work with time differences, recruiting from different countries or areas could help your tech talent acquisition, especially while the demand for specific skills like data science and machine learning is high.

Through digital talent attraction, you can reach passive candidates in all markets, and through talent mapping, you can ensure the markets you target have relevant talent. Making your tech talent acquisition even more strategic means your talent pool can not only be more expansive, as it’s not limited by geography, but you can ensure you’re only reaching suitable, relevant candidates. A higher-quality talent pool will help your future talent acquisition efforts for years to come.

Remote Work’s Impact on Retention

Again, if your employees have been successfully working from home for over a year, can you demand they return to the office? As many business leaders hope for a return to the office, can they expect employees to return full time? Remote work is causing many employees to rethink their working life as many are seeing a much better work-life balance in this new era.

We’re currently in a candidate-driven market, particularly in tech recruitment. Technical talent is in high demand, as are sales professionals, customer success experts, and more jobs on the market than qualified candidates, which means applicants can be pickier about the company they work for. The same applies to your current employees. If remote work options don’t form a part of your EVP and Employer Brand, your team may take advantage of high demand and find opportunities elsewhere with businesses that offer it as standard.

Remote Work’s Impact on Salary Expectations

The talent market is incredibly competitive, and remote work means that, in theory, everyone can benefit from a London salary but work from anywhere within the UK. Remote work could offset average salary expectations globally and salaries in various industries and leave startups and scale-ups struggling to compete with larger enterprises. The talent market, especially in tech recruitment, is also fiercely competitive. Therefore, adding more competitive and high salary expectations will make recruiting the top talent even more challenging for many. This isn’t an easy solution to solve, but it means that companies will have to look into their EVP and employer brand to find more ways of attracting talent. This could be tangible benefits or even emotional drivers, just something that will ensure that talent is engaged with your employer brand and can help you to stand out from the competition.

Remote Work’s Impact on Mental Health and Employee Wellbeing

It’s widely thought that remote working is better for wellbeing and mental health as it frees up more time and gives a better work-life balance, however, for those who have had to juggle home-schooling kids as well as working full time. This may not have been the case. A recent survey by RSPH found 67% of respondents felt less connected to their colleagues while working from home, and 56% said they found it harder to switch off. There have been countless reports of working from home leading to employees working for longer because they don’t have that commute, and it’s harder to detach from work. Plus, without the watercooler chat, it can feel incredibly lonely. For many, the office is an escape from daily life and helps them feel connected to the broader team.

Although many of us are more productive working from home because we can zone in on our work and fewer distractions, others need the office to concentrate and struggle to self-motivation. Therefore, businesses looking into the future of their workforce are faced with a difficult decision; do you unite teams in offices in hopes it improves engagement and wellbeing or do you favour productivity and allow your employees to work from home? The truth is there is no universal solution; different employees will have different ways of working and different personal circumstances. The future of remote work will involve striking this balance.

If you’re looking for help with your talent acquisition in a remote working world, Talent Works can help. We can support you with Talent Mapping to identify where talent with your desired skill set is located and how to connect with them and direct sourcing and improving your employer brand communications to resonate with tech talent.

To find out more about how we can help with your recruitment needs, contact us.

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