How To Negotiate Remote Work

We’ve been seeing this trend in a lot of our operations where remote work or work from home is starting to decline as an accepted job description for many companies as the risk of the pandemic starts to wane. As companies are needing more productivity, many are going back to requiring existing employees to be in the office, and also new employees not being able to apply for remote or work-from-home positions. The percentage of jobs being offered that are remote is dropping dramatically. This time a year ago, 30-50% of job offerings on many of the job boards such as LinkedIn or indeed were remote. Now that number is down to 10-20%. Why is this? 

Companies recognize that they want to have more oversight and accountability for employees. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, it’s just a reality of company management. Sometimes it’s because the manager doesn’t feel like their role is required if nobody’s in the office, why do you need a manager to manage people at home? Whatever the reason companies are shifting their job requirements to have more in-office work. Now here’s the thing. Even though remote work is phasing away, the number of people in offices is still going to be less. Why is that? Well, at the same time this is happening there are also more layoffs. Some of these layoffs are quiet, meaning that they’re not really directly laying off existing employees, they’re just not back-filling hiring for people that have lost their jobs or people that have worked from home and decided they don’t want to come back to work if it’s in the office. They just don’t refill that job. 

So offices are still empty and it’s not because of the fact people are working from home, it’s because companies are downsizing their footprint. In fact, we see this with the recent Twitter downsizing after Elon Musk bought the company. You know he fired half the people there. Companies are realizing their employee footprint might be overkill. They might not need that much expense. And whether that’s true or not, they’re going to find out by trying to operate with a smaller employee base. So if you’re job hunting, keep that in mind you may not find as much work from home. If you’re an employer you may find that there are fewer competitive options for an employee. 

So this may shift the balance of employee-employer relationships. If you want to take advantage of it as an employee maybe you start by working in the office. Be productive, show your value, and at some point bring up the idea of remote work. Try offering a trial period of 30 days, rather than an all-or-nothing demand. You can tell your employer you want to try it out and for them to try it out and see if it works. Employers want to keep good staff, if you’re a valuable employee they want to keep you. But on the other hand, they do need that productivity so you can walk a fine line with that balance and diplomatically offer something if you’re a good employee and if you can prove productivity, maybe you can work yourself back into a remote role.

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