The TLDR of “The Great Resignation” is that employees are demanding greater flexibility when it comes to their work requirements and are searching for roles at committed remote-first companies. Professionals want the ability to bring a balance of health and other priorities to their lives. In response, employers have been quick to reconfigure roles to appear accommodating to flexibility, and specifically to remote location. However, not all remote roles are created equal and when we dig into these companies and teams, we uncover inconsistencies about what remote truly means. For example, the job posting might be tagged as remote, but the HR team specifies it requires being in the office three times per week or being within 20 miles of the office.
In order to provide support for those searching for flexible or remote positions, we’ve pulled together the critical elements that a candidate should look for when finding a position that doesn’t include remote as just a buzzword, but is structured to truly support a distributed workforce.
We outline some of the key elements of what to look for in a committed remote position or company.
Key Indicators of Committed Remote-First Companies
Defines a Remote, Hybrid, or Flexible Work Policy
Companies that offer remote positions should have a clear and publicly available remote work policy. A well-defined policy is the first indicator of a remote-first company’s commitment to flexibility. As we highlight in our Placeless Playbook, “A written remote work policy is a vital piece of your remote work strategy. It needs to align with the company’s strategic remote work vision while also setting the foundation for compliance with relevant laws and regulations.”
Posts Roles on Remote-First Job Boards
When remote-first companies are truly committed to improving diversity initiatives, they seek out talent via channels that focus on underrepresented demographic groups. Similarly, if a company is only recruiting via conventional channels that don’t have a remote focus, it’s the first sign they haven’t done their due diligence in seeking remote talent.
Some remote-first job boards include:
Also, look for consistency within the job postings when it comes to remote and flexible requirements. The job description and everyone promoting the position, from HR to management, should be aligned on the remote and flexible references. Inconsistencies are a red flag.
Builds Flexibility and Remote Specifications into Contracts
If you, as a job seeker, have specific preferences or requirements when it comes to the flexibility you are looking for in a role, be sure that you capture this in writing. Just as you would request your compensation package to be outlined in your employment contract, you can also request the same for your flexibility parameters. This helps you and your employer align on fundamental expectations, be it how many days a week or times per year you are expected to report to a physical office location.
Prioritizes Leadership Training for Hybrid of Fully-Remote Environments
One of the biggest challenges over the past two years with remote teams has been leadership’s lag in adapting to remote setups. Many companies offer leadership skills training, but the training lacks a remote-first mindset or the perspective of flexible work setups.
In our 2020 Remote Work Training Report, we learned that when virtual managers received more remote-specific training, the company was more successful. That was true across every metric measured, including “Managing performance across distance,” “Providing growth opportunities for all workers,” and, critically, “Maintaining productivity across distance.”
Additionally, for hybrid team leaders, training can support:
- establishing a balance of power
- mastering time management
- shifting to asynchronous work
- avoiding the bias of physical presence
- leading with empathy
Allocates Financial Resources at Every Organizational Level to Learning Effective Remote Work Practices
Working remotely requires nuanced skills to optimize productivity, feel engaged, and avoid isolation and burnout. Companies can prove their commitment to making remote work successful and sustainable by committing to support the professionals within their teams.
While many companies onboard employees or offer professional development opportunities, it’s rare that either of these things include training on remote work practices. Remote work training is distinct in that it:
- Covers more extensive and applicable skill sets for distributed leadership
- Emphasizes async-first work practices
- Equips employees to respond to current workplace dynamics
- Addresses cultural consideration on distributed teams.
- Prevents inequity on hybrid teams
Job seekers can specifically ask about remote training, skill development, and preparedness during an interview.
Important note: Executives should not be excluded from learning or supporting the development of remote work skills and practices.
Supports Home Office or Work From Anywhere Setups
If centralized office workers are the only ones being offered ergonomic setup evaluations or company laptops, that’s a red flag as to where priorities lie. There are a variety of companies who help support remote office setups, like Firstbase or GroWrk. Alternatively, the organization can offer stipends of equivalent value so the employee can select the home office or coworking setup that is the most effective for them.
Adapts Benefits to Remote Environments
In-office team lunches, free snacks, and onsite gym perks were created to support office workers, and they do serve a purpose for co-located teams. Unfortunately, they are inherently exclusionary to virtual employees. It can be challenging to rethink every benefit from a remote-first point of view. However, companies committed to their remote employees have a great head start with some ideas including:
- Mental health subscriptions
- Flexible wellness programs
- Equivalizing employee recognition in virtual ways
- Professional development funds
- Coworking location budget
References Commitment as a Remote-First Company on Social Media
Since companies can say many things on social media without accountability, posts about their commitment to remote work is not necessarily a guarantee. However, you can glean insights into their approach to flexibility based upon the content of the company posts and the posts of its executives.
Additionally as of early 2022, LinkedIn has introduced a new “Workplace” module for company pages. While companies need to turn on this feature, if it is enabled you can see their proclaimed workplace type from “Remote” “Hybrid” and “On-Site.” and hopefully further details in a linked remote work policy.
Features in Third Party Remote-First Company Evaluations
You don’t have to start from scratch. With the rise of remote work, there’s been a rise of remote company evaluations. These can helpful resources for finding companies that have experienced remote-first success. A couple ideas for places to start:
- Quartz recently published an article ranking remote companies. While we can’t attest to every company listed, we have worked with a few that we know have strong remote work cultures.
- A recent “50 Best Remote-First Companies to Work for in 2021” ranking from Built In definitely has a tech focus, but again some great companies are included.
- Remotely Rated is fairly new, but it is supposedly the “Glassdoor” of remote companies so you can actually get a feel of their commitment to remote.
Keep in mind that not every successful remote-first company will be on one of these lists.
The marketplace of remote and flexible roles is still evolving, and it’s likely that not every role will be able to meet every requirement on this list. However, we hope remote job seekers can use this checklist to vet job postings or phrase the right questions during an interview. It’s also our goal that companies can take these recommendations as they work toward delivering upon their commitments to remote talent.