We all learned to work remotely during the pandemic, a number of companies have recognised the benefits of this way of working and have maintained it even after the pandemic, or have adopted a hybrid model, and there is a steady increase in the number of job advertisements on the labour market that offer remote work. Many employees see this as a way to combine work and personal life, without being tied to one place, city or even country. Companies can expand their pool of potential candidates considerably by being able to search for future colleagues not only in the same country, but all over the world.
Many of us have noticed that working from home has many advantages, but at the same time there is also life on the side. I myself have had to warn candidates on more than one occasion that they might see my curious cat on the screen during our video call, it is not uncommon for the internet connection to go down and the quality of the call to suffer, and there are situations where a child’s silhouette is flashing in the background, a dog is barking in the distance, or the neighbours are doing renovations. Personally, I have never had a problem with this, because we cannot expect that our daily routine will suddenly cease to exist for an hour or two. As we encourage a culture of remote work, we should also accept what is likely to happen. And often what we see or hear in the background of a video call can be the perfect topic for breaking the ice, connecting, joking, finding common themes and interests.
Some time ago, a job advertisement on Linkedin caught my attention. The company was recruiting for a position of remote work, the responsibilities were not too outstanding, but the list of requirements for the future employee was surprising to me:
First of all, such requirements are not always generally applicable. Not all candidates have exactly the same living conditions, perhaps they live in a small apartment, share space with several family members, and it is simply not physically possible to have a separate dedicated work space. Some candidates are looking specifically for remote work to be able to take care of family members who need extra care. Also, if these are the requirements for candidates, is it realistic to expect external partners and colleagues to meet them 100%?
My advice to companies looking to embrace remote work would be:
- Embrace the realities of working from home: Recognize that occasional interruptions, ambient noise, and technical issues are part of the reality of remote work. Rather than expecting employees to completely eliminate these factors, find ways to accommodate them and make remote work as comfortable and productive as possible;
- Avoid strict requirements for a dedicated and quiet workspace: Instead, focus on the essential skills and qualifications for the job. Consider candidates’ unique living situations and circumstances, and be willing to be flexible and accommodating to ensure that remote work is accessible to a wider range of potential candidates;
- Foster a culture of connection and understanding. Be open to discussing personal experiences and challenges related to remote work, and find ways to support and encourage each other.
To sum up, remote work is becoming increasingly popular and attractive for many workers and companies, especially after the pandemic, and it offers many more opportunities than before. For many, it is associated with flexibility, with the possibility to combine work with hobbies or personal commitments. While there are many advantages of remote work, it is important for companies to take into account the realities of working from home and to be flexible and adaptable to the unique life situations and circumstances of their employees
With best wishes for growth,