The battle continues. This week, like most recent weeks, the news feed is going off about how bosses “need” employees to return to work. The office is being treated as mandatory, and yet another CEO is trying to state how they “tried remote” and “it didn’t work for us.” This is in stark contrast to companies continuing to work remotely, in no hurry to return to the old model.

“Why are these companies waging a war on where work needs to happen? Because they see it as a perk. Much like free lunches, large sign-on bonuses, and extravagant offsites, for these leaders, remote work is merely a benefit they can roll back in times of economic hardship. But…remote work goes deeper–for employees and companies.” (Van der Voort, J. 2023, May 4)

The problem with the notion of a “perk” is that it’s frequently used as currency in a positive or negative way. But the notion of remote is not a reward for performance like a bonus, a stipend for a gym membership, or some other addition which may be adjusted as leadership’s preferences change. Remote work means working where you’re comfortable and productive.

This means remote work should represent part of the foundation of a company’s culture, a clear signal of aiming for an empathetic leadership style. Even more than that, it indicates a company wishes to grow in a matter that’s smart, focused more on outcome and results than flash and output. Employees love to see this because it means a higher chance of the company succeeding, and interviewing workers sense the potential for something more since the company isn’t spending so much money for the sake of pretense.

The question of what a company’s values are is incredibly important, and to that end, it’s important to find ways to ask questions toward values and culture. We’ll go into more details on this in a future article, but for now, it’s important to note a company’s attitude on what is a perk versus just a normal working option.

Van der Voort, J. (2023, May 4). Remote work is now a bargaining chip. But it’s also a problem for careers. Fortune.

DoDo PHANTHAMALY (n.d) Remote worker in outdoor cafe

Samkov, Ivan (n.d.) Remote worker under tree

Davis, Spencer (n.d) Remote worker at home