The world of remote work has completely changed the game for employees and employers alike. In their 2017 State of the Workforce report, Gallup found that 43% of employees spend at least some of their time working remotely – a number that will likely continue to grow as the years go on, technology advances, and employees expect flexibility to be a unanimous perk. Out of all occupations, IT jobs consistently top the list of remote workers.
With many employers warming up to the idea of semi-remote or even exclusively remote employees, the ball is in your court to decide what environment you’d work best in. To help make your decision a little clearer, we break down how three key workplace values differ from onsite to remote work.
Whether it be to combat the growing prevalence of loneliness or to boost creative energy, connections matter. When weighing the pros and cons of remote IT jobs, a lack of human connection can stand out as an obvious deterrent – and to some extent this idea is valid. Laughs around the proverbial water cooler, morning donut runs, energetic brainstorming sessions, and happy hour after a long week are all things that can go sorely missed with exclusively remote work environments. As a result, new technology is continuously being created to help nurture human connection among remote workers. Apps such as Slack, which is a crowd favorite with software engineers, have proven critical for helping IT teams collaborate with one another in real-time.
If you’re considering remote work, you don’t have to miss out on connecting with your colleagues as long as your employer has the infrastructure in place to make it happen. In fact, Gallup’s study also showed that employees who worked remotely at least 60-80% of the time were more engaged than their full-time onsite counterparts. It all comes down to what type of connections you value. If you crave in-person face-time, you likely won’t be satisfied in an exclusively remote role.
Work-life balance is a buzzword that many employers use to attract candidates to their open positions – especially when those positions include working remotely as an added perk. The truth is, this buzzword is a lot more complex than companies make it out to be, mostly because the ideal work-life balance looks a little different for everybody.
Take a second to visualize what this ideal balance would look like for you at this point in your life. Would it include scoping out new lunch spots with coworkers every week or volunteering as a team with a charity your company sponsors? Maybe it looks like the freedom to pick your children up from school every day or even working from a café in the South of France as you really experience what it means to be a digital nomad. All of these are obtainable if you take the time to find an employer whose definition of work-life balance matches yours. Looking at IT jobs specifically, one study showed that the majority of software engineers who opt to work remotely do so because of the sheer convenience of not having to face the morning commute, but they would also welcome going back to the office more so than other professions. Are energetic brainstorming sessions worth the traffic? It’s all up to you.
No matter where you’re at in your IT career, it’s probably safe to say that you want to be included on game-changing projects, have your hard-work recognized by your manager, and grow your career. If you’re considering remote work, you might be worried about being overlooked for new opportunities and well-earned raises in favor of onsite colleagues. While this is a legitimate concern, many employers are actively working to level the playing field by fostering a culture inclusive of its remote employees. This can be accomplished by scheduling weekly feedback sessions, standardizing performance reviews and promotion criteria for all employees, or creating a hybrid onsite/remote arrangement that allows for more face-time. Regardless, as long as you’re doing your best work and taking the initiative to collaborate with your team and develop your skills, your manager will notice no matter where you’re located.
All in all, the environment you choose for your next IT job depends entirely on what you value most at this stage of your life. For some people, this doesn’t equate to a remote work environment. For others, telecommuting has been a saving grace. Working with an IT specialized staffing partner like Select Resources can help you find the ideal position for your unique needs – onsite, remote, or a hybrid of both.