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Remote working: an opportunity or obstacle?

Amal Ravindran
December 19, 2022

Few things have transformed our world since 2020 quite like the remote working revolution. While digital nomads have long been a feature of the tech industry, never before has working 9 to 5 from the beach been such a realistic prospect for so many. But what are the pros and cons of remote working from a hiring perspective?

The remote working debate

Since the world was turned upside down by the ‘rona, the two sides of the remote working debate have boiled down to a simple yay or nay. Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey was quick out of the blocks to declare that its staff could work from home “forever”. On the flipside of the coin, David Solomon, CEO of investment bank Goldman Sachs, described remote work as an “aberration”. And somewhere in the middle are countless tech companies – from Spotify to Salesforce – who are implementing flexible ‘Work From Anywhere’ models, where staff are entitled to a mixture of home or office-based work, or access to a co-working hub.

What does remote working mean for recruitment?

As far as hiring teams are concerned, the remote working juggernaut has brought a number of benefits. On the face of it, for many recruiters it’s a good thing that they can now hire candidates who are located further away; in fact, a study by Cielo found that 64% of hiring managers are now more willing to consider remote workers than previously. The same survey, which polled HR, talent acquisition and business leaders, also found positive sentiment towards virtual interviews, offers and onboarding. It revealed that 82% of hiring managers will continue interviewing candidates by video.

Trouble in remote working paradise

But it’s not all sunshine and lollipops in the world of remote working. Some of the concerns raised by hiring teams have included:

  • Increased likelihood of candidates dropping off earlier in the hiring process.
  • Team building challenges.
  • Difficulty in keeping track of what employees are up to.
  • Harder to promote a company’s wow-factor without an on-site presence.
  • Lack of training for hiring managers to recruit virtually.
  • Absence of technology in place to help with virtual onboarding.
Remote working isn’t ‘cheap’

There are lots of good reasons to embrace remote working, but saving money isn’t necessarily one of them. If you’re going to do it properly, you’ll want to spend money on quality office furniture and equipment to ensure your employees don’t have to do the morning stand-up from their bean bag. Plus, sitting at home all day can leave people stir crazy, so your social budget – from team away-days to Friday drinks – may have to increase, not to mention those pricey subscriptions for co-working space. And while it’s great that you can theoretically hire staff from far and wide, who’s going to pay their train fare when you’re calling them in for an urgent meeting? That’s before we’ve even got into the tax implications of hiring staff in different local and national jurisdictions. All things considered, remote working is no silver bullet if saving cash is your priority.

Beware of the ‘overemployed’

In the old world, most managers would have a clear line of sight on what their employees were up to. Of course, no one wants to be that manager who breathes down their employees’ necks, but in pre-COVID offices, there was generally some transparency in knowing which members of the team were present, and what they were working on. Which brings us to the phenomenon of the ‘overemployed’ worker. 

As the name suggests, overemployment is where an employee takes on multiple full-time remote jobs, sometimes racking up hundreds of thousands in bumped-up salaries without anyone noticing. Away from the prying eyes of an office line manager, the pandemic has created ample opportunities for the ‘overemployed’ to sneakily take on extra work at different companies. There is also the phenomenon of the ‘time millionnaires’, for whom time is more valuable than money. It underlines the importance of hiring managers doing their due diligence on candidates, and making sure they have solid references. This is where trusted referrals with the help of tools like Intrro could help put your mind at rest.

Where does Intrro stand on remote working?

At Intrro, we’re all about working smart, not just working hard for the sake of it. Every role at an organisation is different, and while you wouldn’t want a sales rep to be sitting at home with their headphones on, there is a time and a place for remote and flexible working if it helps generate better outcomes for everyone.

In a world where hiring managers have to second-guess whether a candidate is the right match, Intrro makes the whole recruitment process easier, and less stressful. Take a free trial and discover how Intrro can help you build a merry band of remote and on-site tech talent.


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