31. October 2023

Why is everyone talking about… remote-first roles?

Personio Pulse: This Week in HR - 3

Welcome to Personio Pulse: This Week in HR, where each week we take a look at the latest trends in the world of work, what you need to know about them and what they mean for you as an HR professional. 

This week we’re talking about remote-first roles.

What you need to know

When it comes to remote-first work, there’s a fundamental disconnect between what employees want and what employers are offering. That’s according to the latest quarterly Flexible Working Index which found: 

  • Remote-first roles have had a 22% decline over the last three months.

  • Hybrid roles offering 3-4 days of home-based work per week have fallen by 24%. 

Despite this, demand for remote-first work remains high with 305 candidates searching for every one remote role. This comes at a time when UK employers are pushing return-to-office (RTO) policies, and more people are working five days in the office than from home for the first time since Covid-19.

What others are saying about it 

“As employers urge their teams to return to the office, companies and their recruiting and people teams should consider and effectively communicate three things,“ says Stacey Slater, Sr. Manager of Talent, Programs & Operations at the global hiring company Oyster:

  • Why: What is the purpose for bringing employees onsite? Have a clear and tangible reason for requiring in person attendance.

  • How: RTO doesn’t look the same as it did pre-pandemic. Companies can provide flexibility for arrivals/departures, supplement commute costs, relax their dress codes, and more to make the process of coming into the office easier.

  • Value: Aside from building office culture and visibility, what benefit does the employee receive from being onsite? What will be accomplished by gathering employees & what outputs are driven through in-person attendance?

”Having these key elements defined and shared (including in job postings!) with candidates and employees will allow them to see the value and benefit of in-office presence; without them it will be challenging for people leaders to bridge the disconnect between employer / employee RTO expectations and outcomes.”

What that means for you

This disconnect has the potential to make recruiters’ lives harder, but there are some takeaways that can help to bring the right people into your organisation:

  • Consider adding remote-friendly terms to job ads. Remote-friendly roles are seeing the most competition amongst job seekers. If you’re struggling to recruit the best talent, a policy re-think may be in order.

  • Some flexibility is better than none. If you can’t offer remote-first roles, a hybrid arrangement with one or two days from home will be more appealing to applicants than office-only.

  • Be clear about what ‘hybrid’ means. Applicants will appreciate specificity over the number of days required in the office, and clarity at the job ad stage could help avoid attrition later. 

  • The remote-first dream isn’t going away. Over the past few quarters, job seekers have shown consistency in their search for remote roles. In September we predicted the RTO battle is far from over — and we stand by that. 

Missing out on great talent and slow hiring timelines can harm business performance. We would encourage hiring managers to illustrate that pain to high-level executives, emphasising the importance of flexibility in your organisation’s work location policy. 

What else should I read? 

That's all for this week's edition of Personio Pulse: This Week in HR. Check back next week as we continue to dissect the latest trends impacting the ways we work. 

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Anna Jager-Elliott

Anna Jager-Elliott

Anna Jager-Elliott is a Senior Content Strategist at Personio. She enjoys watching trends emerge in the world of work and writing about how they'll affect our day-to-day experiences.

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