“This will be an adjustment,” Segal said. “Yet we can’t just solve for us extroverts who live close to an office. A video meeting can suck energy from my soul, and today I have a pep in my shoe-covered step, giddy to interact with maskless, vaccinated colleagues.”
Office returns have been varied both within tech and throughout corporate America at large.
Spotify has also adopted a more relaxed working option for its employees by allowing them to “work from anywhere.” Other companies like Netflix, and Goldman Sachs have been more eager to get employees back in the office.
“I’m excited for flexibility and guiltless opportunities to WFH [work from home] when I have a personal conflict or need quiet, thinking time,” Segal added. “I’m thrilled we will hire people that work differently or don’t live near or want to come to an office every day… CFO staff has 3 people remote!”
The pandemic has changed the way we live and work – in some cases permanently. Many employers have decided to keep remote work as an option for some workers. Predictably, many workers have realized the boon to their finances by taking their big city salaries and relocating to cheaper locales.
This trend puts employers in a pickle. Remote workers who relocate are taking advantage of salaries intended to be competitive based on regional housing costs around headquarters. Their salaries now have greater value because of their relocation. Meanwhile, workers required to work at headquarters must continue to pay higher housing costs with the same salaries. Many companies are responding by renegotiating the salaries of their relocated remote workers.
A new term has emerged: localized compensation. Employers must consider the practical and ethical questions when negotiating salaries based in part on where the worker lives. These questions are even more pressing for existing employees who relocated.
Employers have a right to know where their workers live, but do they have a right to know their employees’ rental or mortgage payments? Localized compensation attempts to address this intrusion by setting salaries based on regional housing prices rather than the actual housing costs paid by workers. Fortunately, there are some helpful tools that your HR department can use to determine the costs of housing for relocated workers. The National Association of Realtors’ Housing Affordability Index breaks down housing costs to the levels of county and metropolitan statistical area. There are other similar tools offered by private firms and public agencies, such as the United States Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey.
Once you know the relative difference in housing costs between your headquarters and the relocated worker, you can adjust salaries fairly. At least that’s the simple expectation. The reality might be much more problematic.
What about commuters?
Of course, not everyone who works at headquarters lives near headquarters. What about long-distance commuters who have already been taking salary advantage of housing cost differentials? Should their salaries all of a sudden be subjected to localized compensation evaluations? Many of them moved to the distant ‘burbs to take advantage of lower housing costs as they started their families. Should they be penalized for not living with their new families in a cramped, pricey apartment in the city?
These are questions that every employer will need to consider from an ethical perspective. A good argument against adjusting the salaries of commuters is that the commute itself represents a significant penalty. Unlike remote workers, commuters are not using remote work to take advantage of the housing cost differential. What about those commuters who now work remotely? Again, they did not relocate to maximize their salary against a lower cost of living. Personally, I would leave my commuters alone.
Guiding principles: transparency and collaboration
Determining localized compensation raises a number of ethical, financial, and managerial issues. Employers must work collaboratively with workers to set a salary system that is both coherent and fair. Workers must know what metrics were used to set their salaries. They should also know how their salaries could change if they relocate.
Most of all, localized compensation must account for the reality that some salary advantage will always be realized by those willing to live in cheaper locales. Setting a price on that advantage is the problem that can be solved through a transparent and collaborative localized compensation process.
Ford has become the first automobile company to shift towards remote working on a permanent basis, according to CNBC, with around 86,000 employees being allowed to work at least partially from home.
The policy is aimed at office workers rather than factory workers, who number around 100,000 and have largely returned to work.
Hybrid work plans and remote working will depend on individual and managerial responsibilities.
“The nature of the work we do really is going to be a guiding element,” chief people and employee experiences officer Kiersten Robinson told CNBC. “If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last 12 months, it is that a lot of our assumptions around work and what employees need has shifted.”
Ford’s new policy will be introduced in July when most employees are expected to make at least a partial return to the office after more than a year.
“The nature of work drives whether or not you can adopt this model. There are certain jobs that are place-dependent – you need to be in the physical space to do the job,” chairman and chief executive of Ford Land, David Dubensky, told The Washington Post.
“Having the flexibility to choose how you work is pretty powerful,” Dubensky added. “It’s up to the employee to have dialogue and discussion with their people leader to determine what works best.”
According to a survey conducted at Ford in June 2020, 95% of employees wanted a hybrid form of working and a number of them felt more productive at home.
The move from Ford comes after major companies including Google, Spotify, and Salesforce all announced that they were offering their employees the option to work from home permanently.
“These companies are all looking at each other,” associate professor at Michigan State University’s School of Human Resources and Labor Relations, Angela Hall, told The Detroit News. “And especially someone like Ford, who is a large, respected employer – people are going to model that behavior.”
The Washington Post also reported that General Motors and Toyota were looking at flexible options for a return to the office, although they are both yet to announce new policies.
Remote work might have been hard to come by in the past but times have changed. Although it’s not easy to find a job in today’s market, remote work is increasingly common.
Only one in 10 companies expect all their staff to return to the office after the pandemic and major companies including Google and Salesforce are planning to accommodate remote work in the long term.
There are many similarities between the remote work application process and the standard in-person work application, but there are new factors to take into account.
Here are some specific tips on how to update your résumé, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile to make yourself the perfect candidate for remote work.
Online volunteering, video meetings with clients in other timezones, and working collaboratively online through Google Docs or the Cloud are all part of the remote work experience, said Jennifer Parrish in Remote.Co.
Clearly outlining this in your resume could make all the difference. You could mention it in parentheses after the job title – for example “marketing director (remote).”
Otherwise, you could mention it in the job description by saying something along the lines of: “I remotely managed a team of five employees and increased sales by 20% in the first quarter.”
If you have a lot of experience in working remotely, you may want to create a specific “Remote work” section to highlight this on your résumé. Whatever you choose, don’t assume that your hiring manager knows you worked remotely simply from your job title.
Indeed suggested that you could also make a note of any specific remote work-related skills you might have. You might choose to name specific programs such as Slack, Asana, Trello, Dropbox, and Google Hangouts, or you can be more general and cite video conferencing, email management, cloud storage technology, and office suites.
One important thing is to remember that the company doesn’t want to know why remote working suits you, but rather why you working remotely will be beneficial to them.
Therefore, lines like: “I want to work with you because I can pick up my children from school,” should definitely be avoided.
Instead, try highlighting your remote work skills and what you could do for the company. For example, soft skills such as responsibility, flexibility, time management, and adaptability are even more essential in a remote post – so talk about how you’ve demonstrated them in your previous roles.
A good example or anecdote like this one could go a very long way. “The first couple of weeks of remote working in my previous role were tough. My employees felt demotivated and so I called an impromptu group call. We wrote down all our frustrations on post-it notes and then tore them to shreds, and it helped people realize they weren’t alone.”
If you scan your LinkedIn network, you’ll find lots of people with headlines like “looking for remote work opportunities.” That’s a wasted opportunity to catch a recruiter’s attention.
When a recruiter scans LinkedIn, they’re going to be looking for people working in their specific sector. So to choose the best possible professional headline, you’ll need to do some research.
Search for the profiles of people who have the jobs you want and note down the keywords they’ve used in their profiles or job descriptions. Adding those to your profile and using hashtags in posts outlining what you’re looking for could mean you pop up in the recruiter’s next search.
In your “About” section, be sure to keep it concise and relevant. The first three lines are what recruiters will be scanning so make sure you grab their attention enough that they’ll want to click the “See more” button.
If you lack remote experience, all is not lost
If you’ve never worked remotely before, don’t be discouraged. You’re still likely to have many of the relevant skills needed for remote work positions, like using Zoom, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Slack.
You can also enhance your résumé with online collaborations. There are always people looking for volunteers for projects or writers for blogs.
Volunteering your time will mean you have remote experience to add to your résumé and recommendations to add to your cover letter and LinkedIn profile. You might even collaborate with someone who’s able to recommend you for a job posting down the line.
Networking is key and so even if you don’t end up gaining much from a project, it’s sure to benefit you in some small way – even if you’re not sure what that is yet.
Remote working options have allowed many companies to keep going during the COVID-19 pandemic, with some companies even thriving as a result. However, this hasn’t been possible in all sectors with retail, hospitality, and healthcare among the most affected.
The expansion of remote working has led to labor inequalities in major European capitals including London, Paris, Madrid, and Berlin. Unemployment in the UK hit its highest level in five years last month and job offers have been harder to come by in all the cities and their countries. Meanwhile, remote jobs have thrived.
This is one of the major findings published in a report on remote working in European capitals, co-authored by OECD economist Lukas Kleine-Rueschkamp and the Indeed job portal’s chief research economist for the MENA area Pawel Adrjan.
Using data from the Indeed portal, they said: “Labour markets in these cities are being pulled apart in early 2021, with postings for higher-paid jobs performing better than those for lower-paid service jobs.”
Remote working as a factor of inequality
“The move to remote work is greater and more persistent in these cities than in other places and may be long-lasting,” the report said.
Major companies have recently extended their remote working policies, with Google planning to try and accommodate remote working indefinitely.
“Cities such as London have already experienced population declines,” Kleine-Rueschkamp and Adrjan added. They said that although it was unlikely that living in a major European capital would not have its perks after the pandemic, “the trends COVID-19 has initiated might weaken their appeal.”
Remote working does appear to be much more prevalent in major cities than in the rest of the country. Remote work increased 7.3% higher in Berlin than in the rest of Germany, and 5.4% more in Madrid than the rest of Spain.
Paris and London had smaller disparities but they were still notable. Remote working growth was 4% higher in Paris than in the whole of France, and 2.4% higher in London than the rest of the UK.
Remote job offers previously constituted 5% of the overall workforce in Madrid in 2020 but stood at 15.7% a year later. In the rest of Spain, the rate has increased from 4% to 10.4%.
The report attributes this phenomenon to the fact that “postings in occupations suitable for working at home, like tech, finance, law, and marketing, are most prevalent in big cities.” In comparison, the service sector is heavily affected by remote working and could be “scarred for a long time,” especially in London and Paris.
Fewer jobs available than before the pandemic
The OECD report revealed that job markets in European capitals had been seriously hit by the pandemic. London was the worst affected, with 41% fewer vacancies at the end of January 2021 compared to February 2020.
Paris and Madrid both had around 25% fewer vacancies than before the pandemic, while Berlin had 8% fewer. Paris was the only instance where the capital was worse affected than the rest of the country.
The report warned of the consequences of further decline in European capitals, as their economic growth tended to outstrip the rest of the country. In the years prior to the pandemic, “GDP per capita jumped more than 12% in these cities, almost 3 percentage points faster than national growth.”
At the height of the pandemic-related job market contractions, however, capitals were affected more than the rest of the country.
Job openings in London were 57% lower than before the pandemic, 48% lower in Madrid, 42% lower in Paris, and 26% lower in Berlin. The report noted that “for much of 2020, job openings in these cities were between five and 15 percentage points lower” than the rest of the country.
The report said large cities would “a difficult adjustment period for some urban workers,” adding that “the pandemic’s labor market effects may be temporary for some sectors, but, for others, they may last.”
Policymakers should support displaced workers and those at risk of redundancy by offering comprehensive skills development strategies tailored to local conditions,” the researchers concluded.