Remote work is all the rage, and recent high-profile communications from senior executives (Elon Musk’s letter is one example) are likely fueling growing interest in remote work. The good news for those who prefer hybrid or remote working: most companies offer employees the flexibility to work wherever they want, at least some of the time.
But with so many companies adding hybrid working to the options they offer their employees, how can you be sure you’re getting a good work experience? It will be important to consider how companies maintain supportive cultures, how they communicate and lead, and how they support career growth when working remotely. You won’t want to take them at face value. You’ll need to ask some tough questions to make sure your remote experience is positive for your career and your life.
Plus, chances are you’ll face stiff competition for remote jobs. While the number of roles is on the rise, there is also a lot of interest from applicants, judging by the number of people exploring this area. A recent study by Lemon.io revealed the following trends in Google searches:
- Searches for “work when you want remote jobs” increased by 556%
- Searches for “what remote jobs are in demand” increased by 357%
- Searches for “remote jobs” and “remote part-time jobs” increased by 85% and 105%, respectively, to an all-time high.
7 considerations for the right fit
With all the hubbub of remote work, finding your best remote opportunity will take two things to think about – you’ll want to stand out – but you’ll also want to interview the company to make sure the remote work they’re offering is really all that they promise.
Generally, organizations struggle to find workers, but for remote jobs, they tend to have more applicants. Given this dynamic, you will need to differentiate yourself from everyone else who is also pursuing the position. You know how to do this overall, but you’ll need to focus on a few unique issues as you step away from the pack for remote work.
#1 – Demonstrate your commitment to results
Remote work requires a significant level of autonomy, personal integrity, and work ethic, and these will be high on the list of what employers are looking for in an ideal candidate. When you’re home, you may hear the siren song of an afternoon nap or the show you want to see, but you’ll need to stay focused to get things done.
Be clear with the interviewer that you are a hard worker and demonstrate it by providing examples of how you have achieved results in the past. Include examples of your volunteer work or community life as well as your work history, as these show areas where you have put in the effort and achieved results without supervision.
#2 – Demonstrate your commitment to the job and the company
Hiring managers also want to know that you’re interested in the job, and not just trying to get your foot in the company’s door. Plus, they want to hear your commitment to them, rather than just your interest in working for any remote company.
They are challenged to maintain their cultures and ensure people feel a sense of common purpose, so you can set yourself apart by researching the role and company and referring to specific aspects of each that engage and motivate you and keep you engaged and inspired to do great work.
#3 – Demonstrate your commitment to communication, connection and community
Many companies are new to remote and hybrid working, so they’re also learning how to keep people connected. Maintaining a community in a remote working world can be a struggle, requiring a high level of intentionality and time investments.
Organizations will be more enthusiastic to hire those who are committed to being part of their community. Talk about how you communicate and your strengths in fostering relationships, building social capital, contributing to a collegial environment, and nurturing connections. This emphasis on community and relationships will be music to the employer’s ears.
Choose the right opportunity
In addition to differentiating yourself in the process, you will need to be discerning about the organization you are considering. Because so many companies didn’t offer remote work before the pandemic, they may not be very good at it yet. Therefore, it will be essential to consider some key factors in your own assessments.
#4 – Find out about the culture of the organization
This consideration is important because it sets the context for everything else. Ask the company what their culture is and if working remotely (other than during the pandemic response) is new to them. If it’s new and they don’t intentionally plan how they handle it long-term or how their policies, practices, and processes support new ways of working, stay away. But if it’s new to them and they’re actively taking steps to incorporate remote work into their culture, you’ll be in better shape.
Also ask how decisions are made and if others are mostly in the office or working remotely as well. If you’re in the minority of people who work remotely and are likely to be left out, opportunity may limit your career.
Also look for information on how the organization keeps people connected. Do they organize events to bring people together? Do the teams have budgets for activities, retreats or regular face-to-face exchanges that will strengthen ties and belonging? If the organization is actively working to ensure that all workers, remote and on-site, are part of the community, you can welcome this opportunity. On the other hand, if the commitment to remote work isn’t palpable, you might want to keep looking.
#5 – Learn about the organization’s management and teams
Just as many companies are discovering remote working as a strategy for the future of work, many leaders also need to develop their skills to manage remotely and engage their teams. Find out if the company develops leaders and learn more about what is expected of leaders. Find out if leadership development is part of the organization’s approach and if there are many opportunities for feedback to leaders as well as between and among team members.
Remote work can complicate the flow of information, and you’ll want to know that there are adequate opportunities for input and participation to ensure that the organization, leaders, teams, and individuals can continuously learn and improve. .
#6 – Ask about the organization’s approach to career progression
You will also want to consider whether you will have the opportunity to grow and develop in your career. Many companies reward and promote those who are more accessible and have higher visibility, and in these cases, remote work may not be an optimal path for career advancement.
Ask how the company creates presence equity where people have access to compensation, promotion, learning and growth regardless of where they work. Find out if career progression is more structured or more organic, so you know what it will take to progress and grow when working remotely.
#7 – Ask about the amenities of the organization
Also consider the ways the organization will set you up for success when working remotely or hybridly. Does their technology help you in your home office, and does the office technology support participants who are both remote and in the office (think: easy access, large screens, good acoustics, etc. ).
Ask if there are offices available that you can come to if needed, either at the head office or at a work club. And find out if the office is a place you want to be, a place that supports all kinds of work in a stimulating, interesting and connected environment. There may be times when you want to be with your co-workers in the office, so find out if that’s an option.
Although some companies require people to return to the office full-time, remote work is also here to stay with a critical mass of employers offering it, and many employees working from home at least part of the time.
The new working methods will not, however, be automatic. There will be a learning curve for both employees and employers, so you will want to be clear that you are the right candidate and be sure that you are opting for the right job. By paying attention to each one, you will find a fit that will give you the greatest opportunity to contribute and the highest levels of personal and professional fulfillment.