Flexible vs Remote Work Part 2 (are you missing great talent?)

By Kristen Harris

In Flexible vs Remote Work Part 1 we talked about these two workforce trends, and how they are NOT the same thing. Flexibility is becoming more commonplace in business and can be a great retention tool.

But Remote Work is another trend that is getting a lot of attention lately. As a refresher, Remote Work is when the job doesn’t need to be done in the company’s offices. The person might work from home, a coffee shop, the library or a co-work space.

With our knowledge economy and business being more global, many jobs can be done remotely. Recently I saw an article about 170 companies that operate with remote workforces. Some companies are embracing it and others aren’t; success can be very dependent on the industry and role.

This week someone was telling me about her last corporate role–she worked for a global company and was the only person on her team in the local office. Her boss was in Europe, and most of her coworkers had no idea who she was or what she did. She often worked at home or from a coffee shop because it didn’t matter where in Columbus she was, she was always remote in relation to her team.

This Remote Work option can have advantages for both companies and workers. The company can access talent from other geographic locations because candidates don’t have to be in their metro area or willing to relocate. This also allows businesses to tap into talent with different skills or experiences, maybe ones that are not easily found in their own market. Having the option to work remotely may also help attract or retain a valued employee who needs flexibility in their schedule or is not able to commute.

For employees, there can be advantages to Remote Work as well. They can take a job or work with a company that is not in their area. If they have a high-level of expertise or a specialized skill set, the number and variety of companies they can work with greatly expands when working remotely. And the ability to work remotely also may make it possible to juggle work and family responsibilities or provide the ability to work for someone who has physical limitations.

In the creative industry, we’ve always had the concept of Remote Work with freelancers building their own book of work, managing several projects or clients, and doing all the work from their own home or studio. They’re not hermits...they often meet with the client or collaborate with other creatives through in-person or video meetings. But the majority of their actual work is done remotely.

However, even with all of these potential advantages, we don’t see a lot of companies taking advantage of, or even considering, this option. Why? We think it’s a matter of trust, and will dig into that more in Flexible vs Remote Work Part 3.