ABOUT THIS EPISODE
Brie Reynolds from FlexJobs chats about remote work best practices–from hiring to onboarding–how remote work has evolved over the past 14 years, and what skills are needed to thrive in remote jobs.
Career Development Manager at FlexJobs
Ceci Amador [00:00:16] Hello and welcome to the Future of Work Podcast by Allwork.Space. My name is Ceci Amador de San Jose and today I’m looking forward to chatting with Brie Reynolds, about remote work, the skills needed to succeed in remote jobs, and how the covid-19 pandemic has changed the remote work environment. Brie is a career development manager, career coach, and résumé writer at FlexJobs, a site for remote flexible schedules and freelance job listings.
Ceci Amador [00:00:46] Brie, welcome.
Brie Reynolds [00:00:47] Thank you so much for having me.
Ceci Amador [00:00:49] Of course, our pleasure. I want to start by talking a little bit about FlexJobs. You guys were founded in two thousand seven, so this was way before everyone started to even consider remote work. So, you were definitely pioneers in that area. So how has the remote work landscape changed over the past 14 years? How have you seen company perceptions about remote work change?
Ceci Amador [00:01:18] What were some of the challenges that Flex Jobs thought they would have with remote work that didn’t happen? And what were some things you didn’t have mapped out that where you were like, OK, we did not think about this?
Brie Reynolds [00:01:30] Yeah, no, I love this question because it’s my answer would be very different if it was, we didn’t have the pandemic. So, before the pandemic, I’ve been with FlexJobs since about 2010. So, it had been about ten years at that point. And before the pandemic, I would say the remote work landscape change very slowly. So we would look at the statistics of the number of people working from home and it would grow every year. But it was a pretty slow, steady increase and we always thought, OK, well, that’s going in the right direction. More people are interested in this, but it was a relatively small amount. And just to give you an idea, in the US before the pandemic, about five percent of US workers work from home full time. And then the pandemic happened. And my answer to this question completely changed because remote work has skyrocketed since then. As of February, of this year, about fifty seven percent of the US workforce is still working from home full time. So, it went from five percent, which we got to five percent over the course of about 20 years of looking at these statistics. And then in the span of just a few months, it completely jumps from there. So, it’s an interesting landscape. I think one of the challenges that we always wondered about in the earlier years of remote work was will remote work really last when we had reports of companies that were getting rid of their remote work programs? So just as remote work would start to grow every year or so, we would hear about a big-name company that decided that remote work did not work for them.
Ceci Amador [00:03:04] And some of the reasons – sorry, what were some of the reasons that they gave for remote work, not working for them?
Brie Reynolds [00:03:09] Yeah, we would hear things like that. The people weren’t as productive at home. They missed the office camaraderie that managers couldn’t tell if their employees were actually working all of those sorts of things. And so, every time that happened, we would hold our breath a little bit, wondering, well, if this big company can’t make it work, what’s going on? Is it going to affect the rest of the remote job market? But we never saw any effect from it. So thankfully, that was one of those fears that didn’t really come to pass. And what we’ve seen is that with all of those companies that had pulled back from work, there was something else going on at the company that made it less likely that remote work would actually work for them. So, if managers couldn’t tell that their employees were working, that’s a managerial issue. That’s not a remote work issue. But it was things like that that we kind of felt more confident that the job market would continue to grow for this and that companies would take on more remote workers. And here we are, twenty, twenty-one with most people working remotely.
Ceci Amador [00:04:09] Yeah. And I mean, I don’t mean to say that I’m happy the pandemic happened because I don’t think anyone can say that.
Ceci Amador [00:04:15] But I’m happy that it put companies in a position where it was survive or go down. And there’s no way companies can argue by now that remote work does not work. I think everyone globally, workers all over the place have confirmed that remote work can work, what doesn’t work, is working from home for a lot of people. That’s a whole other topic. But I think that’s one issue that needs to be addressed. That remote work is not equal to working from home. And I don’t know if this is something that has always been like that, that people thought remote work was working from home, or if this is something new.
Brie Reynolds [00:05:00] I think it’s sort of always been conflated, the two things being exactly the same and really remote work is, is that overarching policy that organizational really thought, hard thought put into how to develop this team of agile workers who can work from a variety of different places, not just from home necessarily, but who wherever they’re working from, are connected and collaborative and productive. And that definitely was put to the test with the pandemic. I mean, we saw in the most difficult circumstances companies and employees still saying that they really liked working remotely, all things considered. Do they wish it had been done outside of a pandemic? Of course. But the fact that all of the added pressure had been put on to remote work this year to work amid terrible circumstances, and it still worked really well and like you said, really saved some companies from the choice of surviving or not. It’s been a really interesting test. And it was one of those at the beginning. We were sort of crossing our fingers and just hoping that people would not see remote work during in the pandemic being forced to be stuck at home as the real way that remote work is, because it’s certainly not. I mean, this is a very unusual circumstance. But we always say, if you can do it well in the middle of a pandemic, then you can definitely do it extremely well under normal circumstances.
Ceci Amador [00:06:24] I completely agree.
Ceci Amador [00:06:27] And then still, we’re hearing about companies saying that they will not implement remote work in the long term or in the post pandemic world. Why? Why do you think this is happening? Because it doesn’t make any sense by now.
Brie Reynolds [00:06:40] Yeah, that’s what I want to say, is sort of well, we do have a lot of evidence that shows that this works. But I think there are still those entrenched kinds of 20th century managerial ideas about what work is. And that work is a place that you go. It’s how you interact physically with other people during the day. It’s where you get your socialization. And all of those things are not necessarily the case anymore. And I think the pandemic has at least shown a lot of companies very quickly that those things simply aren’t true. But I do think that there is just that whole of 20th century management practices that have been around for decades. And it’s going to take probably a few more years to undo those ways of managing people, of viewing the workplace and what it actually means to work and to be at work where that actually happens. I think it’s going to take some time to just keep unraveling that and also more time to put people into managerial levels at work who really understand remote work well, who’ve been doing it for a while, who have more of an experience doing this. And so that digital natives, that Millennial’s and GenZ and people who have really grown up with communicating this way and having it be a just a natural part of how they communicate with friends, family, with workers across the board. So, I think it’s going to take a little bit more time, unfortunately, but at least we have a lot of evidence now that it can be done really well.
Ceci Amador [00:08:10] That that’s definitely a good point.
Ceci Amador [00:08:11] And you were just talking about like managerial situations and putting people in managerial positions. What are some of the skills that remote work managers need to have? Because they definitely are not the same ones just in personal ones, especially if they’re more like micromanaging my more controlling and like you said, they believe that work is a place where you go instead of something that you can do wherever.
Brie Reynolds [00:08:37] Yes. Yeah, this is a tough one, but I love talking about it because really to be a good remote work manager, you have to look at your role differently. So, your role is not to look at people working and to assume that because you can see them at their desk or at their station, wherever they happen to work, that they are doing their work, you have to get way more involved, but not be a micromanager. So, you have to be involved at a level that makes you their support person. So, you are there to help them remove barriers and roadblocks to get the information or the tools that they need to make the connections that they need to make in the workplace. You’re sort of a facilitator of all of that as a manager, and you have to be proactive about it.
Brie Reynolds [00:09:21] One of the biggest things that we always talk about it, flex jobs is proactive management, proactive communication. So not relying on face time really gives you a sense of how much that was relied upon in an office having to look at workers and just go, OK, yeah, I think they’re working when you take that component away and you’re not on video all the time, which is probably the number one thing is don’t be on video all the time. As a remote manager, I’ve heard some things that went remote during the pandemic and they’ve had to be on video all day long. And it just sounds draining and exhausting and a little bit intrusive and not a good use of anybody’s time. So really putting yourself in that. Proactive facilitator role and being that support person for your team, that helps just move things along and get people where they need to be doing the things they need to do. That’s the biggest piece of proactive communication, proactive management and trust. The biggest other thing is trust, starting from a place of trusting the adults that you’ve hired on your team to be able to do their job and then to look at their processes and their work product as the results of that. And that will tell you if they’re doing their job well or if something needs to be changed.
Ceci Amador [00:10:31] And that’s the one thing that gets me. And I still cannot believe and cannot wrap my head around the fact that there are software products available for companies to monitor their employees while working remotely.
Ceci Amador [00:10:45] So I have a sister. She used to work for a really big, big, well-known company. And we have a younger sister. She’s 10 years younger than me. And my sister would need to, I don’t know, either go eat something or go to the bathroom. But they would monitor her mousepads, how active it was so she would have my baby sister. Could you please just like I’ll do something for you. I’ll pay you just like make sure that it’s moving so like every two or three minutes and you just like, move the mouse that hit a keyboard key or whatever. And that’s like how like why does this even exist? And then when the pandemic started and companies here in Guatemala were and they started to send workers home, there were like I heard active conversations of CEO saying, OK, so does anyone know if of software we can use them like you’re getting it all wrong from the very get go, like trust people.
Ceci Amador [00:11:43] If they’re getting everything done, it doesn’t matter how or when. So, I think that scheduling is a big thing, especially for people are working from home with kids, with pets, with noisy neighbors or whatever. So, yeah, it just baffled me that trust was nonexistent in companies. How did companies survive up until then if they didn’t trust their employees?
Brie Reynolds [00:12:05] Yeah, they just assumed that that FaceTime piece of it, that that face time equals constant monitoring, which it really doesn’t. There are plenty of things that employees can do in an office on their computers or their phones that make it look like they’re working when they’re not. And again, it pushes everything away from that place of trust. And I love the example. I don’t love it.
Brie Reynolds [00:12:24] But the example we believe is a perfect one of those companies that their first thought wasn’t how do we make this work? How do we equip our managers to support people in this crazy time that we’re going through and to give them the flexibility that they need, like you said, flexible hours, different scheduling to do their jobs, but also be present in their lives? And they didn’t think about that at all. They went straight to how can we monitor people and make sure that they’re working? It was a complete distrust immediately. And that’s just a sign of an unhealthy work environment and an unhealthy way to manage people that nobody is going to like that that sort of forces people like your sister who are, I’m assuming, honest, trustworthy people in real life to be sneaky. Yeah. Why do we want to reinforce that behavior? I mean, it doesn’t make any sense to me. So, yes, I totally agree that trust component is critical.
Ceci Amador [00:13:16] Yeah, not only that, but I think especially now that more companies are embracing remote work and companies have stated that they will pursue remote work in the long term. Those that don’t, they’re going to lose employees. Like there’s no way you can compete with attracting and retaining talent if you’re not offering. One of the things that other companies are offering, which for the most part will be at least part time remote work or remote options, and two, if you’re controlling everything I do in my computer, because that’s another thing, like if it’s a company owned computer, I mean, I can’t say I I condone it, but it’s a company owned computer. But if you’re asking people to install basically spying software in their personal devices. No, like, there’s no way that people are going to willingly and happily stay with the company. Yeah. And so that’s another thing that I wanted to ask you talent wise, do you think that remote work will definitely be a talent attraction and retention strategy for companies in the future?
Brie Reynolds [00:14:26] Yes, that’s the short answer. But the longer answer is we’ve already seen it. So, we’ve seen a number of really large, well-known companies that have said we are remote work first. Now we are moving towards remote work. If our people want to work remotely, they get to do that. They can move to where they want. So they’re actually doing that more expansive work from anywhere type of policy or at least work from a number of different locations instead of being near this one physical place. So, yes, we are already seeing, you know, especially in the tech sector, Facebook, Twitter, Salesforce, moving towards this. This model of remote work is totally acceptable for anybody who wants to do it. And it varies depending on the company.
Brie Reynolds [00:15:10] Every company has its own policies, but they’re also being pretty clear about those policies, which is another nice step to take and something that we usually recommend all companies do when they start remote work. But I think, yes, we for a long time we used to talk at Flex Jobs about companies that would hide their flak so they would actually let people work from home, but they would not talk about it. They would not advertise it in their job postings. And I we’re not really sure why companies did that, but we’ve always encouraged companies to be open with that. That’s an attractive quality and a company. That’s what people want. And I think even more so during the pandemic. We did a survey back in September, I think of twenty about four thousand people who been working remotely during the pandemic. And we surveyed them and said, what do you want to do after the pandemic? Eighty percent said they wanted to continue working from home full time or working remotely full time from home until they were allowed to actually go out into the world again. But 80 percent and that was working from home full time. And then a number another I think it was 15 percent said working from home, at least some of the time. So, they like that office interaction. They like seeing their coworkers face to face. And that’s something companies should definitely consider, too, is that it doesn’t have to be one hundred percent remote work.
Brie Reynolds [00:16:23] You can do what makes sense for your company, for your team, the type of work that you need to be done and make it work for you, but also definitely offer that to people. It’s so attractive. And I think you’re right, companies that say flat out we are not doing remote work after this are going to lose out on talent.
Ceci Amador [00:16:40] Yeah, yeah, I completely agree and what you said, that it doesn’t have to be a one hundred percent remote thing, and I think that’s something that needs to be talked about more.
Ceci Amador [00:16:49] There are different degrees of flexibility that a company can offer. And it’s not just you either come into the office or you stay at home. They can do a hybrid work model. They could use third spaces. And then but one thing that I’m really interested to ask you about is. Do you see or have you seen at the moment more companies embracing international remote work? Because I know that a lot of companies have shifted to allowing remote workers to be so within the continental US or within Europe. But I haven’t seen a lot of job postings that say this job can be done anywhere globally. And I’m assuming there are a lot of challenges that come with that. Legally speaking, contracts, taxwise. But do you think that we will eventually, in the short term, reach a point where companies will feel comfortable hiring across the globe? Or do you think that remote work will kind of stay within like regional areas?
Brie Reynolds [00:17:48] Yeah, I think that will be a continuing challenge. That’s definitely been one of the more challenging parts of working remotely of hiring remotely is that cross-border remote work. And within the US, with all the different states that we have, we have that problem internally as well.
Brie Reynolds [00:18:05] In addition to hiring outside of the US, each state has its own tax and employment regulations. And then the federal government in the US has additional tax and employment regulations. And so companies have discovered, especially in the last year, but companies that have been doing remote work for a while know this, that it is tricky to navigate those waters and to make sure that you are doing everything properly aboveboard. It’s tricky and it’s expensive for companies, so they really have to make that commitment to it. Cross country or international remote work, I think will increase, just as we’ve seen all types of remote work increase. But I do think it is that sort of the trickiest of the bunch. So, we’re going to see more talk at least about collaboration, about amending laws to make it easier for companies to do this. And I think what it’s really going to come down to is companies contacting their representatives, contacting people in power and saying this is an issue. We need you to have talks with these other countries that we would love to hire in or that we would love even our US based workers to be able to work wherever they would like for a year if they want to go off to a different country for a year just to experience working there. What are some of those things working like? And we’ve seen some countries get really creative with remote work visas and trying to attract people to come work in their countries. So, I think there are models here and there of how it can be done. But it’s there’s a long way to go. Unfortunately, that is one of the toughest things I think, to figure out in this whole equation.
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Ceci Amador [00:19:37] I agree, especially because, like you said, there’s like varying regulations and lack of infrastructure.
Ceci Amador [00:19:45] And but I do think that it’s something that governments worldwide need to start thinking about and they need to start figuring out ways in which they will encourage at least that, because I’m sure there’s a way around it. I’m sure there are some incentives that can be given. And then so back to the hiring part of it. What are some of the main differences between hiring an in-person worker versus remotely how are hiring practices different? What are some things that companies that are thinking about implementing permanent work from home or remote work need to kind of know about and consider beyond like, you know, submit your résumé and then type it all out again?
Brie Reynolds [00:20:31] Yeah, well, the nice thing for any companies who are kind of looking at the process and thinking, I don’t know if we know how to do this, is that the general process is very similar to a traditional job search. So, most companies require resumes and sometimes cover letters to apply for their jobs. They put out their job listings, they do an interview process, and that’s where it gets a little bit different. So, in the interview process, companies need to decide how they want to conduct those interviews. Most companies we find right now do phone interviews. At first, though, a quick screening interview. We have seen more companies implementing one-way video interviews where they have programs set up that automatically feeds the applicant. A few different questions that the applicant has to answer on video and then someone can actually review that afterwards. So, it’s not a live person that you’re talking to. If you are applying for the job, you’re talking to a computer and then that gets sent to the hiring manager or the recruiter or.
Brie Reynolds [00:21:29] It’s a little funny. A little uncomfortable.
Brie Reynolds [00:21:32] Yeah. And then, of course, video interviews are another piece of it. So, I think one of the things that remote companies can be really clear about in their job listings to just start right at the beginning is what is the remote work policy and what do they want to see outside someone’s ability to actually do the job, the task of the job. What do they want to see in terms of remote work or trade? What qualifications do they think are really important? What skills do they want to have? People who are great communicators who can do really well written and verbally, companies that do have cross country remote workers will often say our you know, our main language spoken at this company is this. So, you need to be fluent in this language. So, they’re really good, some of these companies about spelling out exactly what they’re looking for in a remote worker. And then also, of course, the key pieces of being a software engineer as a remote worker or a recruiter as a remote worker.
Brie Reynolds [00:22:29] So starting at the job listings, but then the video interviews, really interesting things that we’ve seen to kind of even the playing field a little bit is some companies now will actually provide backgrounds that people can use, like those digital virtual backgrounds so that everyone is on a level playing field, because whether or not we even realize we’re doing it, when we see somebody on video, we’re taking note of all the things that are behind them and we’re making assumptions about who they are as a person based on the room that they’re sitting in. And so, for some people, they’re sitting in a small house versus a large house there. There are all sorts of different things. Even they’re decorating style can influence somebody unconsciously. Of course, it’s not like the record is going, oh, I don’t like that wallpaper. I’m not going to hire that person. But it just it puts too many things in somebody’s subconscious that they’re thinking about it. So, thinking about how you can kind of level that playing field when you interview people is really important and you can get creative with it. Digital backgrounds are easy to provide for people. You just send them the file and say here’s something you can use and get clear about what’s going to happen in the interview process so that people can prepare. That’s one of the big things. Do not everybody is comfortable doing video interviews yet? It’s new to lots of people. And so having just saying we conduct our video interviews on Zoom gives person a chance to go and practice on Zoom before they actually do the video interview. So, keep in mind all those things that people may be stressing out about before they come and talk to you as a remote employer and try to help them out a little bit.
Ceci Amador [00:24:01] And so that’s another thing. So, you would talk about the different traits that they want to see in a remote worker.
Ceci Amador [00:24:09] How important is culture fit for remote companies like Skills Can Be Taught, but you need someone that will definitely integrate well with the entire staff. And so, is culture fit something that they look at? How can companies evaluate that? And then I’ll need I’ll ask you later about the onboarding process and bringing people and integrating them with the rest of the staff.
Brie Reynolds [00:24:32] Yeah, sure. Yeah. I think cultural fit is absolutely vital. Companies that have worked remotely for a while usually have developed pretty strong remote work cultures, and especially for those hybrid companies where some people may be in an office and some people may be from home extending that cultural fit so that it really feels similar, whether you’re a remote worker or an office worker, that the company culture is the same for everyone is really important. So that’s something that people need to pay attention to. But really describing the company culture that you work in as a remote company is. Telling people what your office is like, what to expect, what is the vibe of the office when they’re going to walk in, remote workers still want to know that certain things are kind of expected of them when they come to work on the first day, even if they’re not actually walking into the office. It gives them a sense of the people that they’re going to be working with, the environment, the energy and the expectations and whether or not they’re going to fit really well with that, because there are lots of different remote company cultures. I will say companies are getting better on their career stages at describing that sort of thing. So that’s something to look for. If you are looking for a remote job is just what do, they say about their own company culture and is that a good fit for you? And then how can you actually talk about that, so the employer knows that it’s a good fit?
Ceci Amador [00:25:54] Awesome, and then integrating them with the rest of staff, especially, like you said, if there are stuff in the office and stuff that are fully remote, how do you on board a new employee? How do you break the ice, take away that little uncomfortable first few weeks of work?
Brie Reynolds [00:26:10] Yeah, as somebody who has started at two different remote companies in my career and had that onboarding process twice and then also onboarded a lot of people since then, it is you have to do it really well.
Brie Reynolds [00:26:23] It has to be intentional. You have to put a lot of thought and planning into it. I know having worked at enormous companies before that oftentimes what happens is you show up on the first day and your manager is like, all right, let’s see, where are we going to put you? OK, it looks like this seat’s open and I’m going to talk to it about getting you a computer. You can’t do that in a remote environment because you as the as the new person showing up, you’re going to feel completely lost. You are ready to go. You’ve got your little home office set up going. And when you get there, you want some intentional organized process to go through. So on that side, you know, if it’s H.R., the hiring manager, the team that the person is going to be coming into, all of those people need to work together to create an onboarding process that feels really intentional and is pretty well organized and just let that person know what to expect each day for at least that first week and then even into two weeks. You know what to expect, maybe not quite as detailed in that second week, but for that first week especially, who are they going to be meeting with? What days are they going to meet with those people? Why is it important that they talk to those people? What are they going to cover in those meetings and then making sure that they have a few different touch points? So, you’re not just talking to one person that whole week and you only have that one person to connect to at the company. You want to really try to give them that social feel of being in the office, of saying hello to other people, maybe just say hello. And it’s a quick conversation in the elevator. When you’re going into an office, how can you recreate that in the onboarding process, so they get to feel like they’re working with a larger team. One of the things that we do at flex jobs when we onboard someone, we assign them a buddy that’s at a completely different part of the company. So, somebody they’re not going to work with every day. There’s not that pressure of trying to prove that they are good at their particular job. This person is strictly there to be their buddy at the company to answer those dumb questions that they might be a little uncomfortable asking to get a better feel for what the process is like. And we try to pick people who have been through the onboarding process within the last year or so that it’s still fresh in their mind what it was like to start at a new remote company. And that body is responsible for reaching out to that person regularly, making sure they’re feeling good, talking to them, just kind of explaining what the company’s like and what they can expect and where to go when they have a question, or they need something. So, I think the buddy system can actually work really well.
Ceci Amador [00:28:47] That that sounds actually really interesting, because I from my own experience, at least when I started a new in-person job, there was always just one person that you kind of clicked automatically with a little bit more than everyone else. And they became kind of like, you’re going to person where the bathroom was, the coffee, where the coffee mugs were, what time’s lunch? Something like that. So, so that’s a really interesting, interesting one. And then you talk about how like an in-person job, they’re like, oh, yeah. So, we’ll get your computer. We’ll talk to it to have your email with remote work. What are you seeing companies doing in terms of providing new hires in their current staff with the companies, provide computers, do they have a lot kind of like they give them a stipend for that? What are some of the things? Because and that’s another thing. And at least in the US, it can be tax deductible and all that kind of stuff. I don’t know. I’m not from the US, but I do know that if it’s like work related, it does play into taxes. And so, what are some things that you’re seeing most companies do to provide equipment, make sure that workers are comfortable and that they have all the necessary stuff that they need to do the work effectively?
Brie Reynolds [00:30:02] There are a number of things and actually the pandemic has helped push this a little bit more, I think. So, there are a few different ways companies approach it in different ways. This is actually a really good question for people to ask when they’re in the interview process towards the end or they’re negotiating a job offer. So how does that Home Office set up work? And so, companies do this in a number of ways. The first would be to provide the actual equipment. Some companies do that. They might send you a laptop, maybe a second monitor, a headset. Sometimes you’ll get set up with like a voice over IP phone. We see that especially for jobs that are going to require you to be on the phone or connected talking to someone, a lot of customer service sales, account management. We often see that provided for those types of roles. The other way is the stipend, as you mentioned. So, companies will say you’re responsible for picking out your equipment, we will provide you with a stipend or we will reimburse you for X amount. And usually, it’s an annual stipend so you can refresh your equipment each year, not necessarily get a new computer every year, but you could get a more comfortable headset or an ergonomic pad for your keyboard, little things like that. You can just continuously improve. And then some companies operate on a strict we call it BYOB. Bring your own device environment where they just say it’s up to you. They might have a couple of rules like your laptop can’t be more than four years old or something like that. But otherwise, they say it’s completely up to you to get your own equipment and to handle that. So that’s why I say I mean, for companies that provide equipment or provide a stipend, that’s a lot of money that they’re saving you. So, I would ask in the interview process, what is the company’s policy? Because that can be negotiated to it’s not always something that they say, no, this is that we don’t do anything for anybody. You might be able to negotiate that in there. And for companies that don’t offer anything, consider offering that, because that is a big barrier to getting people into remote work, especially people who are coming from a financial background where they can’t afford the most recent equipment. They can’t afford to upgrade their laptop until they’ve worked for a while, until they’ve had that steady paycheck coming in. And so to provide that for them really gives your candidate pool a more equitable mix of people. You don’t have to have people automatically ruling themselves out because they can’t financially set up their own home office.
Ceci Amador [00:32:26] And that’s another thing, so I know that a lot of companies, it’s not just necessarily the tech equipment that they need, but some will also provide either a stipend for their economic chair or for like a coworking or flexible Allwork.Space membership, which they might come back in the future. Right now, I don’t even know if governments are allowing these types of spaces to operate, but. Yeah, and then are there any other things that you’d like to say? So, you were giving some tips for job candidates, like asking these questions or some other things. So, they need to ask potential remote employers in the interview process.
Brie Reynolds [00:33:03] I think the questions actually that you’ve touched on are perfect. So, what’s the onboarding process like? How do you integrate a new person on your team? Who are some of the key people I’m going to be working with while I’m working remotely? Then you can ask logistical questions like what are the expected hours for this role? And not necessarily like the 40 hours per week, but which hours during the day do you expect people to work? Because not all remote jobs have flexible schedules. Some still adhere to a strict nine to five or eight to four or whatever it is type of schedule. And so, you want to make sure that you’re on the same page with that employer and that that fits what you’re looking for to you could also ask about flexibility in general, shifting your hours. What does that look like? And then I think those are sort of the main things that you would ask the remote companies that you’re looking at. You might also look at sites that offer company reviews to see what other people have said and if there are any pain points, you’re noticing. So, Glassdoor dot com is a really good website for that. You can look up a company and see reviews of people who worked at that company and what their experience was. And if you’re noticing any pain points that you’re like, if that’s true, I don’t know if I really want to work for this company or I want to get some more info about this. You can ask not to like, oh, this person on Glassdoor said that you do this terribly, but you can phrase it in a way that says, you know, I was wondering about the onboarding process and what does the structure of that look like. So, if you read a review that said terrible onboarding, no structure at all, you phrase that differently in the interview process, but you still get the info that you need, hopefully.
Ceci Amador [00:34:41] What are some of the most common pain points that people that you’ve seen people are identifying or that companies are struggling with?
Brie Reynolds [00:34:48] I think one of the biggest well, there’s a couple. So, the first few that come to mind are communication norms. How do people at the company communicate? What is the preferred method of communication? Because usually companies that are working remotely have a variety of communication or methods set up. So, you might have flak for online chats, you might have room for video conferences, you might have email and phone. Some companies do a really good job of spelling out which type of communication is used for what other companies don’t. So that’s something that you could ask in the process is how does communication work at the company? What is the preferred method, sort of the programs you’re using and just see what their thoughts on that are? That might be something in the onboarding process that you could ask, too, is like, OK, so if I have a quick question, should I slap you or do you prefer I email that to you? And that can be a manager to employees talk as well, because there might just be some personal preferences on the part of the manager, but so that’s one. And then the other is the scheduling is knowing when you need to be available and how do you show that you are available. So, is it do you have to have your notifications on in black or something like that? So, people see the little green light and they know that you’re there. And if you walk away for 10 or 15 minutes to take a break, you need to turn that off, so people know you’re gone. It’s kind of like self-monitoring a little bit. But also, there might be some regulations around that. But just kind of letting people like we have a rule, for example, on the career coaching team at Flexion, it’s not a rule. It’s like sort of a request that you say good morning when you arrive, and you say good night when you’re leaving. And just it’s a nice way to kind of start the day and have everybody. Oh, good morning. Nice to see you. How was your night in its first conversation? But you also just kind of know, like, oh, OK, Toni’s here. She’s just started work. So, if I have a question for Tony, I know she’s there and I can ask her. And then if I see that Tony’s gone, I can say, oh, OK, Tony left for the night. I have a question. I’ll ask this person because they’re still here. And so, it’s just that like that sort of interaction, you might even just do that yourself, even if even if they never say anything about it. It’s just kind of start with friends.
Ceci Amador [00:36:54] Yeah, I’m really about updating. So, we do have an intranet where we chat and I’m really about updating my status.
Ceci Amador [00:37:02] So my status always shows that I’m online unless I actually close the tabs and close my computer, which it’s been happening a lot more regularly. But usually I would just like, OK, I’m done, and I leave my computer open. And so, it would always say I was when I wasn’t. So, I do need to get better at that. So, we’re running a little bit out of time here. And just before you go, I wanted to ask, how do you see the remote work landscape evolving? In the short term and in the longer.
Brie Reynolds [00:37:28] I think in the short term, we will still see fairly high numbers of remote workers, at least temporary remote workers because of the pandemic. And then what I was really interested in was looking over the next five to 10 years. What do the predictions look like now that we have had this big surge in remote work? And what we see is that the levels of remote work probably are going to go down. That’s what experts think, but not to pre pandemic levels, in fact, not even close. So, I was mentioning before the pandemic in the US, it was like five percent of the workforce that work from home. And then now as of twenty twenty-five, experts are predicting that about twenty five percent of the US workforce will still be working from home full time, working remotely, I should say, because they hopefully by then will be able to work from a lot of different places. But that is to be five or four years out of the of the pandemic and still have twenty five percent of the workforce working remotely. That’s a huge shift. So, I think that for anybody who’s interested in this, the next few years are going to provide a lot of opportunity for remote work. Companies are going to become better at this over time. That has been the case over the last 15 to 20 years. It just happens every year. They get a little bit better. So, it’s going to be a pretty good time, I think, for remote work.
Ceci Amador [00:38:43] Yeah, I agree, and I’m really looking forward to seeing more companies like formalize remote work arrangements in the near future. So, thank you again, Bree. It was amazing chatting with you. And thank you, everyone, for tuning in to the Future Of Work podcast by Allwork.Space.
Brie Reynolds [00:39:00] Thank you very much for having me.Share this article