Remote work or onsite? 5 considerations

The pandemic created a bevy of lasting changes in the workplace. The concepts of remote work, in-person and hybrid among them.

And while most workers and employers have adjusted to a new normal, many crave the old normal that consisted of mostly – if not entirely – working in the office. And after a couple of years working from home, the coffee shop or any spot with Wi-Fi, the transition may not be so easy as companies try to enforce in-person requirements, either on a full-time or hybrid basis.

For some on either side of the hiring equation, it’s become a make-or-break factor. In fact, it’s not unusual for candidates to walk away from entertaining opportunities requiring team members be 100 percent onsite, says Renee Dovich, CEO of CareerEncore, which specializes in retained and priority search for candidates with a track record of success in high-growth tech firms and also identifying senior C-Suite executives and leaders in sales roles.

“But there are some people who miss being in the office and want to get back to the office,” says Dovich, who has 20 years of recruiting industry experience. “And there are plenty that are happy with a hybrid.”

If remote work or in-person is a key factor for you, here are a few thoughts to keep in mind while navigating these relatively new waters.

When it comes to applying for a position that may or may not require an in-person presence, the process must start with being honest about your preferences. Even if this means being eliminated as a candidate, ultimately, it will free you up for a role that’s more your speed and make anticipating Mondays less agonizing. “Recognizing their own preferences will help them narrow down the options,” Dovich says. “But it does start with being honest.”

Company culture and values
Dovich recommends doing your own research about the company before applying and definitely before the interview process. This will give you a much better idea about their expectations in this space. “They need to make sure the company aligns with their own professional steps and that work culture resonates with each person’s aspirations,” she says.

Effective communications
With hybrid and remote models continuing to be par for the course, today’s leaders must be able to leverage the various virtual communications tools available and demonstrate that to potential employers. While this may not directly affect your in-person or remote requirements, it could be part of the conversation in determining your ability to lead teams effectively. “They may get questions like, ‘How do you manage a team that’s spread out over different locations?’” Dovich says. “You have to be able to speak to that.”

Understanding dynamics
Along those lines, team dynamics is heavily influenced by how many people are working remotely versus in-person. Leading a crew to effective results and accountability could pose unique challenges when it comes to intangibles, which is another factor to consider. “Building camaraderie requires extra effort when you’re not together on a daily basis,” Dovich says. “Being able to assess how you foster a strong team culture is important.”

Collaboration requirements
In Dovich’s experience, if a company wants team members to be 100% onsite, it’s because they have a strong belief or principle that everyone needs to be with each other in order for a well performing collaboration to happen. If this work culture sounds like a fit, even if you prefer the home or coffee shop office, it may be well worth it. “The collaboration goes further in person than Zoom so they tend to want that in person,” she says. “Whether it’s onsite, hybrid or fully remote, it boils down to the collaboration that’s needed.”

Bottom line
Overall leadership transcends geography. But while the debate between fully remote work and fully onsite may continue, the hybrid model is one that appears to be around for a while, so be ready to be flexible.

Georgann Yara is a journalist based in Phoenix. Find her on X @georgannyara and Threads @georganny.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

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