Partial or full-time remote work ranks as one of the top benefits that job applicants seek in a new role. Employees are seeking to take back their time – either through flexible working hours, reducing their commute, or work from anywhere options.
There is a debate about productivity, retention, and the overall benefit of allowing employees to work from home. Last year, IBM recalled many of its employees back to the office – ending a benefit that was once touted for increasing productivity. On the other side, Dell aspires to have 50% of its workforce in remote situations by 2020.
So how do organizations that offer remote opportunities make this perk mutually beneficial? They set expectations. Regional Director Austin Douglas says that setting expectations ahead of time will eliminate a lot of headaches in the long run.
And it isn’t just employers who need to set expectations, Douglas says. Employees also need to be proactive in asking about and conveying expectations.
- How am I expected to communicate with the office or others on my team?
- What apps, communication systems, or software am I expected to know or learn?
- Am I able to work when I want or are there specific hours that I need to be available?
- Do I need to log hours or keep track of projects?
- Is there reimbursement / stipend for my internet, phone, or mobile bills that are associated with working remotely?
- Who covers the cost of travel if I am required to come into the office?
- Do I have the option to work from the office if I do not want to work from home?
- Is there anything in the foreseeable future that would cause circumstances to change as it applies to remote work?
- Who is expected to install or provide the equipment that I will use to work remotely? What if there is an issue?
- Are there any location restrictions to my remote work? I.e. Can I be out of the country?
Based in Los Angeles, Douglas estimates that about half of all job seekers that he works with are looking for some type of remote work. The dreaded Los Angeles traffic means that the commute is one of the top reasons for which an applicant will accept or reject a job offer. Some type of remote work, even partial, is highly desired.
“It is important to know exactly what you want,” says Douglas. “And it is also important to treat remote work as if you are at the office in order to be successful. Create a work-only space, structure your day, log your hours, and get dressed as if you are going to work.”