August 4, 2021

Is ‘Remote’ a Benefit or a Location?

Paula Santonocito Headshot
Paula Santonocito
SENIOR MANAGER, RESEARCHER & WRITER
August 4, 2021

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Appcast recently published a whitepaper, Best Practices in Job Ad Content, that’s loaded with tips for connecting with candidates. Among other things, the paper talks about benefits – what you should include in a job ad and why.

In the list of benefits is a category called flexible work arrangements, typically defined as flexible schedules or job sharing. However, some employers include remote work in this category.

But is remote really a flexible work arrangement if an employee works remotely all the time? Moreover, is remote a benefit or is it a location?

This may seem like an insignificant point. Yet it’s not, especially in today’s environment.

Research from analytics and advisory services firm Gallup found that in April 2021, a majority of U.S. workers, 51%, did their jobs remotely. The percentage varied greatly by job type: white-collar workers, 72%; blue-collar workers, 14%. (Note: White-collar workers and blue-collar workers are the terms Gallup used.)

Gallup also looked at remote work status from October 2020 to April 2021 by occupation; this information is available here.

Obviously, for the purpose of Gallup and other recent analyses, remote work was driven by the pandemic. But it’s important to note that remote in this context refers to location. Remote is in no way viewed as an employee benefit.

These days, job boards also include remote as a location.

Why does this matter?

If your company considers remote a benefit, you may be out of step with what’s happening in the employment marketplace—specifically, what job seekers want. And, if you think you can pay remote employees less because you view remote as a benefit, you may have a tough time attracting top talent.

This isn’t to say you should list remote as the job location, or as a location option. Whether remote is a fit for a role depends on numerous factors. The whitepaper Appcast Futurecast: Recruiting and Hiring Workers for Remote Jobs can help you make a determination.

If you do decide to include remote in a job ad, make sure you understand exactly what remote means in the context of the position for which you’re recruiting.

Questions to ask include:

  • Are the position responsibilities and deliverables the same as they would be if the role were on-site?
  • Are the number of working hours the same?
  • Are the requirements for the job the same?

If so, remote is merely the job location.

An argument can be made that it (probably) doesn’t matter (much) if you include remote among the list of benefits and as a location. A savvy job seeker may not buy the benefits classification, but it’s unlikely they will pass by the opportunity, provided everything else is a fit.

Your recruiting mindset does matter, though. And to the extent it, as well as your job ad, reflects a 2021 mindset, you’ll attract more candidates.

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