Can I work remotely?
It is one of the first questions recruiters are getting asked when speaking with talent about new opportunities. Still, many businesses haven't decided on their long-term plans for remote work.
And let's be clear – there is a difference between work from home (WFH) and remote work. For this article and future conversations, we'd suggest you think of WFH as an option for employees living near their place of employment who have the flexibility to work from home and can easily be in the office without traveling long distances.
Remote work should be viewed as a long-term plan where the employee's primary place of work is not in and doesn't have to be near the office. The employee can live and work anywhere as long as they have a stable internet connection and work during regular business hours.
Over the last 12 months, many companies have allowed employees to work from home and work remotely. Some have even done a complete 180 hiring out-of-state team members for the first time. For many employers, COVID-19 forced flexibility on a previously closed mindset. According to Enterprise Technology Research, the percentage of employees permanently working from home is expected to double in 2021.
For recruiters, access to a larger talent pool the past 12+ months has been a welcome relief – especially in a field like IT where demand has exceeded available qualified talent for several years.
As a Paragon client shared, "It has been a big win for us so far. I have hired contractors from all over the US, including Texas, New York, and California."
Considering companies in states like Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota don't typically offer salaries that can compete with those states, we can see why it's a big win. Keep in mind, we've also heard the opposite where Midwestern states are losing talent to companies in large metropolitan areas that are now – for the first time – allowing employees to work remotely.
According to data shared in Owl Labs' State of Remote Work 2020 report, 77% of respondents agree that after COVID-19 having the option to work from home would make them happier. And likely more notable statistics:
- 1 in 2 people won't return to a job that doesn't offer flexible work arrangements
- 35% of employees would change jobs for the opportunity to work remotely full-time
So, what is an organization to do? Well, that likely depends on a long list of things…culture, collaboration needs…the ability to retain and attract talent…the list goes on. From Paragon's perspective and what we're hearing from candidates and clients across the US, a "one size fits all" mindset may be detrimental to an organization. Some teams need in-person collaboration, while others may perform better in individual workplace settings. But most of all, working for an organization willing to be flexible is a deep desire for most workers.
Recently, Paragon surveyed more than 50 leaders from its IT Leadership Forum, and many noted the benefits the past year has brought in regard to attracting skills they couldn't find locally. And while many of their organizations haven't announced their long-term plans around remote work, nearly all agreed that the companies willing to offer flexibility will be the ultimate winners.