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What Remote Workers Want: New Insights

As I talk to Baby Boomers, so many are thrilled with the option of working remotely. This change has allowed them to look for jobs throughout the country and not have to worry about moving – at least for now. Many ask in the interview if the Remote work can be permanent, and it’s a deal breaker if the employer says “No”. The other day, I was coaching Sean, a 58-year-old IT Director for an upcoming interview. He lives in San Francisco and was interviewing for a job in another state. He said, “I was very clear with the recruiter. I have teenage kids and my family won’t move. So, I am only interested in going forward if this job is permanently remote.”

On the other end of the spectrum is GenZ, who tell me they hate that they haven’t meet their coworkers or boss in person yet. Many may not have a job now, but in interviews they ask, “How soon can we get back into the office?” Millennials also miss the socialization and the creative interactions that spawn innovations as a result of talking to others in person. As I worked with career counseling client Emily, age 26, a communications specialist, she mentioned how much see misses the office. “I had only been onboard at this company for 2 weeks when we shut the office down because of the pandemic. I don’t feel like I really belong or are a part of their team. They don’t know me, and I haven’t gotten to know them. On Fridays, they always hit happy hour together, but I never got to be experience that. It is lonely and isolating for me.” A key difference between these generational groups are that GenZs and Millennials want a workplace to make friends and socialize. Baby Boomers don’t seem to care about that. They have a family at home, established friends, and prefer safety along with not having to relocate for a job. As COVID-19 vaccinations ramp up, employers will soon have to decide whether they will continue to offer remote work arrangements once the pandemic has passed. As companies weigh the costs and benefits, there is one factor that employers shouldn’t overlook:

HR executives have already been discussing how hiring remote workers can make it easier to build a diverse workforce. But understandably, these discussions are usually from the perspective of the recruiting team — how remote policies allow them to consider more candidates beyond their local market. “It opens up a broader pool of talent that you can hire,” says Damien Hooper-Campbell, Zoom’s chief diversity officer.

Data Insights from a Candidates Perspective LinkedIn’s new data reveals that certain groups of candidates are more likely to seek out remote work. Women are 26% more likely than men to apply for remote work. Why? Ask any working mother and you will likely hear that she does a lot of the housework, cooking, and is the primary one handling childcare. In addition, some women care for her elderly parents too. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average full-time working woman spends 21 hours a week on housework. It makes sense that the flexibility of remote work can allow women to better balance responsibilities at home while maintaining a full-time job.

Education is factored into who is interested in remote work. Those whose highest degree is a bachelor’s or lower (associate degree, high school diploma, etc.) are almost 25% more likely to apply for remote jobs. Advanced College Degrees (PhDs, master’s degrees, etc.) were significantly less likely to apply for remote work. Why? This group is better able to afford childcare, offering more options. Certain roles, like a Doctor or Pharmacist can not be done 100% remotely. What do job hunters want most? LinkedIn’s Talent Driver Survey found that for 40% of remote job seekers, flexible work arrangements were a key decision factor on whether to accept the job.)

Benefits to Employers Talking to HR managers, I hear many are in favor of remote work becoming a permanent option. One Head of HR said confidentiality, “My C-suite execs are not a fan of remote work at all. They think employees steal time and yet we seem to be just as productive as before. In fact, we have some who are more productive. Unfortunately, the C-suite will make the final decision on the policy once the pandemic is over, not me.” She went on to say that she personally felt offering remote work does open the door to a more diverse talent pool. “My company is in a very expensive city. It is a challenge to recruit and hire great people when many just cannot afford this city’s steep housing costs. When it comes to middle aged or Baby Boomers,” she noted, “they have family obligations – caring for their parents or children so they don’t want to relocate. Requiring a relocation for an in-office position can be key factor in turning our offer down.” This Head of HR added, “I see one other major issue. And that is that there are a lot of people – especially older workers — who are very concerned about being anywhere a large group of people congregates. How SAFE is the office, is what they worry about. We are now planning that it’ll likely be a full year or longer to vaccinate everyone in the US who wants a shot. By then, people will have worked from home and become very comfortable doing it and less likely to want to run back to an office. I think the future holds a hybrid schedule for many workers. That means many people will spilt the week with some days at home, and other days in the office.” Source:


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