The Remote Roundup October 8, 2021
If you have ever been looking for a remote work strategy you may have noticed there exists a huge gap in between great insights and everything else out there.
So, we created The Remote Roundup where we will scour the internet for the best remote work content and give our analysis on one article while ranking the top 4 blogs of the week. Plus a podcast!
For the weekly collection of relevant and high quality remote work news, jobs, podcasts, guides, and expert advice from remote work experts, subscribe to our newsletter: The Remote Times.
Ok, let's get started with the top remote content for the first full week of October.
Top Article: "A 'Big Four' firm will allow 40,000 employees to work from home" By Ramishah Maruf of CNN Business
Last Thursday, Price Waterhouse Coopers, the accounting and consulting giant, announced that all of their 40,000 client services employees will be able to continue work remotely from anywhere in the United States.
The announcement did come with some caveats:
Workers looking to relocate to lower-cost areas will face a paycut.
Those working in IT or workplace services teams or anywhere outside the U.S have to follow a hybrid model.
Workers are still required to come into the office three times a month for team events or collaboration activities.
The news is bittersweet.
Although we give props to PWC for taking this step forward, it carries some of the contentious ideas we have written about before.
The whole reason that the 160 year-old company made this decision is that in a recent employee survey they found 65% of all US employees are looking for a new job, and 88% of executives said they are seeing higher turnover than normal.
The most cited reasons for job-hunting included wages, benefits, career advancement and flexibility.
Talk about an unhappy workforce.
However, our prediction is that this move won't have much of an impact on the mass employee exodus or help them with their plan to hire 100,000 new workers in the next 5 years.
If you look at the Employee reviews on Indeed or Glassdoor the most common complaints of ex PWC workers are below-market salary and poor work-life balance.
While the company can be forward thinking in their adoption of technology, it is still be held back by archaic beliefs of milking employees for everything they think they are worth.
Certainly the name and network alone are great places to start for any recent grads but it will continue to face low retention rates of great talent if there isn't a fundamental shift in how they treat their employees.
Still, the move alone will have a domino effect as other large corporations take notice and start experimenting with their own sweeping hybrid or remote policies in 2022.
The thing is, you can't just slap a remote work sticker onto your employee benefits and also include a huge "But" or "only if you meet these requirements."
Professionals have realized the bargaining power they have after the pandemic and will expect to have certain flexibility benefits.
And of course, be paid for their skills, regardless of location.
This is just one of the first steps in the future of work and perhaps PWC will keep tweaking their remote policy until they get it right.
The old giants who don't go remote or only go halfway will continue to see employees leave and have trouble attracting a new diverse generation.
Top Blog Posts
4. The Andy Sto Blog goes over how to ask for flexibility in your job.
The number one requests for employees during the pandemic has been flexibility in working hours. It makes sense, considering when you are woking from home the same 9-5 schedule doesn't exactly fit when you have kids or laundry to take care of.
Now that some companies are requiring their workers to come back to the office and resume a pre-pandemic schedule, all that flexibility from working from home is lost. For that exact reason thousands of employees have quit their jobs, rejecting the mandates.
If you love your job though and think your employer would be open to giving you some flexibility, Andy Stoefferis has some tips.
The first step is to explain why you want the flexibility. Everybody has legitimate reasons whether it is to pick up their kids at school or they might be taking an online course. Whatever it is, communicate it clearly to your employer.
The next is to be considerate to your team and colleagues as you don't want to be a blocker. Work with them so they all have the same flexibility as you do. You also want to understand what it means for your employer and if they have to take on any extra costs.
Finally, you want to list the benefits that this will have on your performance and actually demonstrate those results in figures or outcomes.
3. William Dodson guest posts on the Think Remote Blog to talk about how the Peter Principle can destroy remote teams.
The peter principle is when star performers get promoted to manager positions for their job success but actually don't know how to manage people or have the people skills to do it effectively.
Remote work exacerbates this problem because the manager doesn't have the same role of assigning work and evaluating progress. If they continue to practice this, they end up keeping their team in endless video meetings and overall they are less productive.
The new boss' role should actually be more of a collaborator than an overseer. If they weren't already prepared to take this position they may think they have to control every aspect of their teams output.
When in reality they should act as a support mechanism and a resource for anytime a team member gets stuck or a problem arises. Trust is the key component and if it wasn't present in the first place, it never will be.
There has to a renewal of hierarchies in remote teams to prevent the Peter Principle from slowing down productivity and team well-being. These new methods of management should be taught to all recent managers.
2. Jacqueline Zeller of The Workplaceless team gives their guide on how to identify companies committed to remote during a job search.
As more people quit their current jobs and look to get a fresh start with a remote position, they also have to be careful with the options out there. Many companies looking to cash in on remote work are starting to offer options that seem like they are great but aren't truly remote.
In this guide the Workplaceless team talks about the things to watch out for when searching for a remote job:
- The have a clear remote, hybrid, or flexible policy in place. If you don't see any policy in writing anywhere on their website, stay clear. It will be hard to define the terms of your working relationship.
- The job is posted on a legitimate remote work job board. Always start by looking at places like We Work Remotely, Flexjobs, or Remotive for remote roles.
- The flexibility is built into the contract. There should be clear mention if you are able to work remotely and if you will be evaluated on outcomes rather than hours.
- They prioritize remote or hybrid training for their leadership and allocate resources for it. The last thing you need is a boss who doesn't understand how to manage a remote worker.
- They support home office or work from anywhere setups and adapt their benefits to a remote work environment. There are quickly becoming many norms in benefits offered to remote workers. One is a home office stipend or unlimited PTO.
1. Rowena Hennigan of RoRemote posted an article on LinkedIn about leadership in times of crisis and the importance of compassion in the workplace.
Source: Michael Burrows from Pexels.
In times of crisis executives must know how to lead and take care of their people in the office or from a distance.
Rowena says that the pandemic has taught us that it is often managers and leaders who are the bottleneck and not workers logging in remotely. The challenge isn't the physical distance but the mindset in how we evaluate productivity and work itself.
The shift in mindset requires empathy, creativity and a strong commitment to building an inclusive environment. This also mean if they are managing a hybrid environment they need to consider bias and set people up for success regardless of where they logging in from.
Some of the tactics that leaders can start practicing right now to encourage. dynamic and healthy modern workplace are:
- Mimic the commute - suggesting home workers walked, cycled or got outside during the usual commute to/from work time period
- Walkabout meetings - planning walking, audio work meetings
- Plant and Grow - delivering plant boxes to staff homes to encourage non-work activities and sharing of gardening tips
- Step Challenges - team and group walking challenges to build morale and support health and wellbeing
- Zoom quizzes and challenges - supporting team social interactions via various video conferencing events and challenges
Best Podcast: How to Architect Interaction in a Post-Pandemic World
The Herman Miller, Looking Forward podcast brings on Stephanie Akkaoui Hughes, Founder/Lead Architect of AKKA Architects in Amsterdam.
She joins host Ryan Anderson to discuss how to create a hybrid workplace that fosters collaboration.
They talk about how organizations should design spaces with the participation of employee input. This process will create environments that are ready for the future of work.
A future in which workplaces actually support the diverse needs of the people who use them.
Check out this week's featured podcast here.
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See you next Friday for October's first edition of the Remote Roundup!
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