When did ‘remote’ become such a dirty word?

A few news stories have popped up recently regarding recruiters offering remote working within the job specs they are posting, only for candidates to find out late in the process that although they expect to work remotely, they were expected to work on a hybrid basis, or those expecting to work hybrid being forced into the office full-time.

It got us wondering: what exactly is the point of this subterfuge?

A recent story on Mumsnet highlighted this practice, putting the lady who posted about it in a very tricky situation as she had childcare to consider as the promises were turned on their head, switching from a half office/half home work to a fully office-based role with WFH if it was absolutely necessary.

When someone takes a new job, they envision themselves in that job for at least three years, on average. People moving from roles that don’t quite work for them to a job that seems to answer all of their prayers will feel the betrayal much more acutely than someone moving internally within the company who already knows the situation. And they will certainly jump ship at the first opportunity for a company that tells the truth.

We cannot stress enough how damaging that can be for a company’s reputation. Even though it would almost be a certainty that the aggrieved employee or candidate would write a bad review on Glassdoor, but the anger surrounding these false promises are bleeding over into news stories.

Apart from the PR nightmares, what does this say about a business’ ethics? Who wants to work at a place that routinely misrepresents itself?

Why would an organisation score such an own goal against themselves when their competition could easily utilise the turmoil created by this unnecessary strategic misstep in order to hoover up prospective candidates, clients and positive word-of-mouth. If you say it is remote, keep it remote and keep yourself ahead of the competition.

One could argue that any company acting in such a way must be doing so through desperation. Whilst this is definitely a possibility, there are countless manoeuvres they could have tried before settling on this ridiculous one.

Is the process in which candidates are found actually fit for purpose?

Does the company need specialist recruitment help?

Is the correct information about the jobs being passed along to the recruiters?

Is the main reason that the company is haemorrhaging staff precisely because it is caught in a cycling of disillusioning employees and having to recruit quickly to replace them?

The main question that needs to be answered is: what is so bad with having workers who are working hybrid or remotely?

After a shaky start over the first lockdowns, a lot of businesses have managed to make these new flexible working situations a great success. This is a new paradigm and it is actually exciting to see it play out. As with every innovation, there are always people stuck in their ways. Many surveys, including the recent Owl Labs report, have demonstrated that workers are more relaxed thanks to zoom meetings, are more productive, work more hours and that saving time from commuting positively affected their work/life balance. It is working, and perhaps these organisations haven’t realised that yet.

Let’s get real here, if you and your business are looking to reverse a model that’s been shown to be successful, be prepared to lose staff. As with most problems with recruitment, it does not need to be this way. Figure out your processes and start to trust hybrid and remote working.

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