Welcome! We are helping each other build remote careers. Are you looking to build one?
  1. 5

    Lovely topic, though I'd hate it if companies use the answer to lower salaries. I've personally been working from home for over 10 years now on my own business, and a lot of people told me to get an easy government job while keeping my own work. One of my main issues was always commute time.ย 

    I asked someone "Would you take 100 KWD (~$350) cut if I removed all cars from the road for your commute?". He said he'll double that just to remove the taxis from there. This was ofcourse just theoretical to show how bad commute to work was. Throw in remote-work, and definitely a lot of people will be happy to do it. Several reasons

    1- Save on commute time: This is usually 1.5-2 hours daily. This is time you can use to sleep better, do your hobbies, go out, or have more family time.

    2- No stress from commute: Some studies showed long time in traffic jams can have serious effect on person's health.

    3- Less laundry/planning/preparing to go to work.

    4- You can live in far cheaper more beautiful place.

    5- You can even travel the world while working remotely!

    The conflict is interesting as some companies now are using remote work to lure in talents, Switzerland is forcing companies to pay rent for remote workers, as they are using their own home as office, while I expect other companies will impose pay cut for remote workers on the long run.

    1. 4

      thank you very much Bashar for this - you are spot on - yes studies are showing that people are willing to take pay cuts to live a lifestyle they desire.

      I think this new normal will increasingly put pressure on employers to innovate their comp and ben strategies beyond a mere salary cut to be able to attract this increasingly growing talent base.

      1. 3

        Great take and ummary, Bashar. Of course, the future is quite uncertain and also exciting. Will be interesting to see how your predictions play out.

        1. 2

          Great post, Bashar! Absolutely agree with the reasons you stated.

        1. 3

          this is very valuable - thank you very much for sharing Karthikย ย 

          I personally am a big fan of side project in startup marketing - sharing free content with one's audience or clients such as guides and playbooks for example is a very powerful tool and usually creates affinity with the startup. It's a sign of a cusotmer care culture within the startup

          1. 3

            Thanks for the kind words Hana.

            Absolutely - side projects can be super useful. There are certain smart ways of doing them too. With there being so many smart tools, it is easy to convert seemingly plain content into an interactable product. So, I think each startup should look inwards and think of some easy wins they can have by using what they already have :)

          1. 2

            Thanks for sharing this Hanadi. It's a great summary of why flexibility is key for any remote work policy. Remote work should mean working from anywhere (not restricted to office or home) and per the schedule that best suits you (not restricted to 9-to-5). More people are recognising this key difference and I am super happy to see Micorosoft take the lead here :)

            1. 2

              Absolutely hrishikesh - come to think about it...flexibility is the byproduct of a culture of trust and empowerement, made possible by a leadership with people first mindsetย 

              Here's the MS policyย 

              https://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2020/10/09/embracing-a-flexible-workplace/

              1. 2

                True, I've always liked Microsoft in that sense. I heard from a few of my friends that they have a component of 'participation outside work' in their yearly evaluation. This involves things like participation in CSR activities, sports, events etc. Having this as a mandatory component in evaluation clearly shows that you care for people.

                1. 2

                  I don't know if I totally agree with you @hrishikesh. I think employers providing social interaction opportunities is great, but I think "requiring" it (by measuring someone on it) could create a "not great" environment.

                  Work-life balance or integration is so important for people and I'm just imagining the person who is already overworked or burnt out and desperate to have some personal time or time with their personal friends and family, but then feeling "obligated" to go to the work social activities instead.

                  Ideally the organizations that have systems like this aren't overworking their employees and causing burnout. But I can imagine employees being resentful of having their social time set by their employer in addition to their work time.

                  1. 1

                    Right Nancy, that's a valid point.

                    Why I said this is great for employees is because at other places, you're expected to participate in social events or even trainings at work over and above your regular work hours.

                    That's implicitly mandated ย multiple times and I think it's unfair to ask people to put in extra hours because of that. It then completely relies on what your immediate manager does. I myself had both kinds of experiences - Had to stretch because my manager wouldn't consider the extra time time spent elsewhere while there was time when ย another manager gave me some leeway.

                    To be honest, I am not entirely sure about the specifics at Microsoft. The people who told me about this were surely happy and had no qualms about work-life balance. But you're right, even I wouldn't like to be mandated to spend social hours at work when I am already putting in my usual work hours.

                    How's your experience been in this regard? Have you also seen/ heard of other employers mandating social participation at work?

                    1. 3

                      I think we're generally on the same page here. The requirement of time above your normal working hours is not cool.ย 

                      I've seen a couple of things related to this:ย 

                      1. I've worked at a company that measured team members during performance reviews on "contribution to culture/values". This is good in theory, but more often than not people interpreted that to mean participation in social events. The events weren't required, but they became some sort of measurement and that left out parents who couldn't stay for a happy hour, or introverts who needed quiet time after 8+ hours in an office. I don't love when culture is conflated with socialness, and it creates opportunities for inequity.ย 

                      2. I am also just a person who hates "forced fun". ๐Ÿ˜„ So while I appreciate the effort of companies to host fun events, not everyone thinks the same things are fun. So I hate the idea of mandatory events that might just not be interesting to me. I'd prefer some options and choice.ย 

                      1. 2

                        ... events weren't required, but they became some sort of measurement and that left out parents who couldn't stay for a happy hour

                        This is quite nasty. But quite natural that people will interpret things around culture in their own way. Although at some point leaders or senior management should figure this and put corrective measure. Did that happen?

                        I remember our senior management at Adobe ditched objective performance evaluation totally (giving a rating out of 10) & brought in continuous subjective evaluation because they noticed that people were comparing numbers & competing for that.

                        So I hate the idea of mandatory events that might just not be interesting to me. I'd prefer some options and choice.

                        True, I am also against forced fun, particularly at the cost of your personal time.

                        1. 2

                          agree with both of you hrishikesh and Nancy - forced fun is counter productive and more often than yields the exact opposite effectย 

            1. 6

              Interesting numbers, Hanadi.
              Clearly, there are arguments for and against such a proposal. But, one question that baffles me is- why should a person be paid less for doing the same amount of work remotely? ๐Ÿค”

              ย 

              ย 

              1. 5

                Hi Lucas,ย 

                Employers have a built-in level of feedback when someone is present in a workplace, that just doesn't exist remotely.ย 

                If someone is in the office everyday they know what time they arrive and whether they spend most of the day working, or most of the day procastinating. This is an issue of trust, and is why you will rarely see someone transitioning from office based work to home based work at the same company taking a pay cut - they have already built that trust.

                A new hire on the other hand comes with increased risk, someone who isn't meeting your standards in the office can be managed, it's more difficult to identify and deal with such issues with a remote worker. Additionally, it's easier to develop someone you have constant informal contact with.

                This is offset by the increased costs of having someone physically in an office, but you'll find the issue of trust is one that will lead a lot of managers to make lower salary offers for remote workers.ย 

                In short, a remote worker is a bigger risk, so that is built into their salary.

                1. 5

                  Hey Jordan,

                  I really like this explanation of saying that the salary given is an expectation of the amount of risk :)

                  If we were to extend this premise though, do you think:

                  1. Companies could tackle this with a higher component of variable salary instead of reducing the total salary?

                  2. If companies don't do 1., then is there a correction let's say 8-10 months later (or say in the 1-year appraisal) when they feel that the person they have hired is truly trustworthy. I guess, there should be because now the cost of losing a good person is high for the company too.

                  3. If we accept 2., candidates can possibly take the pay cut knowing that there will be a correction just a year into their tenure in the company?

                  1. 4

                    Hi Karthik,

                    My recommendation would be for the candidate to push for an agreed payrise upon completion of a probationary period.

                    This takes away the risk for the hiring company, as they can terminate the contract during the probationary period if the employee isn't performing.

                    The candidate is basically saying, I believe I am worth X, and I'm so confident that you will agree after 3/6/12 months, that I'm prepared to take a pay cut until that point.

                    1. 4

                      Well said Jordan. Makes a lot of sense.

                      1. 2

                        HR's traditional approach to compensation is broken - like talent acquisition, it was stuck in the past.

                        This vertical in HR is begging for a radical shift in thinking and innovating new models that align and support new work models going forward.

                        1. 2

                          Overall, I agree that HR as a department is a bit sluggish to move with the times, Hanadi. But in this context, are you in agreement with what Jordan is suggesting?

              1. 6

                From my observations in hiring people,
                people typically consider equally good to work on-site vs. remote with 10-20% pay cut.

                However, in practice when making job offers, it's hard to convince people to change a job, and it is hard to convince people to go down in salary.

                So in practice, I've noticed that 20% salary increase works well to motivate people to change their job. Of course, this is quite rule of thumb advice, for example, if you have a great employer brand, it will be easier.

                1. 4

                  Agreed, Boris. I think most people living in large cities would be much more interested in taking a 10-20% pay cut to work remotely than in other regions.ย 

                  1. 2

                    agree with you Boris - throw in incentives like cheaper cost of living, healthier lifestyle, closer to nature or hometowns,ย 

                1. 4

                  I would, as long as this would be fully remote. If I can live in a cheaper country working remotely, I'd probably take the pay cut.

                  Really interesting numbers though. I wonder what that would look like in hte rest of Europe and Canada and the US.

                  1. 3

                    I am surprised people in UK are ready to take the cut when the country has some of the most expensive cities & a high cost of living. I am guessing the stats would be skewed towards people who're planning to live in their hometowns instead of cities.

                    1. 2

                      correct Ashley - the new state of remote work is sparking a reverse migration from cities to villages across all countries so people will be willing to take a pay cut if it means they can keep their job and be closer to hometowns at the same time.

                    2. 2

                      companies in the US are also going down that route - tech companies like VMWare, twitter, Facebook were among the first to announce compnesation change plans

                      https://www.businessinsider.com/tech-companies-cutting-salaries-outside-bay-area-twitter-facebook-vmware-2020-9

                    1. 5

                      Thanks for sharing this detailed list, Hanadi ๐Ÿ™Œ
                      Also, I just saw that Dubai has also introduced a remote work visa and I am hopeful that many more cities will come up with such programs to attract remote workers.

                      1. 4

                        you're welcome Cathy and yes indeed Dubai is joining the club... I'm sure many more will too

                      1. 3

                        Yes Hanadi. And this is not going to be restricted to only HR professionals.

                        A few weeks back @nancy raised a very pertinent point about "Office managers" being unclear about their role once there is no more an office. Here is the post link.

                        We spoke to Darren from Gitlab about this and he suggested that they would also have to change context and pick up new skills such as "becoming a company documentarian or executive business assistant".

                        So, things are changing in more ways than one and surely some of this going to be painful. Adapting and upskilling is the only way forward!

                        1. 3

                          thanks Karthik for flagging this convo thread - just replied - awesome insight from Gitlab's Darrenย 

                        1. 1

                          this is a great question nancy and one that many in various other roles should start asking themselves. Of course in progressive organizations which consider talent as their biggest asset, their people strategy will include reskilling employees, helping them pivot, learn new skills, redeploying their existing skills to other parts of the organization or to a different role where these skills are needed. But like I mentioned, this happens in organizations that are very ahead in their thinking. And they are very few.

                          Back to your question - I'd add to all what's been shared so far... think project management or coordination - with remote work and asynchronus scattered teams a project coordinator will help keep projects and their teams intact. Another role woud be a community coordinator. Both examples would require picking up new skills including learning to use vertain tech tools

                          ย 

                          1. 2

                            welcome to the clan everyone ๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿคฉ

                            1. 3

                              congratulations everyone ๐Ÿ‘ย 

                              1. 4

                                Many companies like Samsung, Amazon have tried to break the Google app store monopoly but they haven't been able to capture a significant market share. There is one major dilemma in building such platforms:
                                - users need a large variety of new apps and,
                                - developers need a huge number of users to distribute their app ๐Ÿ”

                                Paytm already has a collection of 300+ mini-apps and around 350 million users on its platform. With the right strategy and execution, I think it can well replace the play store.ย 

                                1. 2

                                  agree...

                                  this reminds me of news emerging earlier this year about chinese tech giants coming together to allow developers outside china to upload their apps to all of the respective app stores in china. The news reported tech companies in china creating a platform to attract developers from countries like India, Indonesia, Russia, Malaysia in an attempt to challenge the dominance of goolge play store outside china.ย 

                                  ย 

                                  1. 2

                                    That's interesting. Wonder how that turns out, especially as Chinese tech companies are facing flak from all across the world ๐Ÿ˜…

                                1. 3

                                  :) The Indian market is quite lucrative but also extremely tricky.

                                  It is a power move to be able to stop a company like Google. But I am not entirely sure how feasible the paytm mini app is from a tech perspective. Maybe I should read a bit more about it and share here :)

                                  1. 3

                                    would love to hear your perspective on this story karthik and from the startups in this clan for that matter

                                  1. 4

                                    As is emphasized in this article, I think the biggest takeaway from this unique global situation is that remote working is a work-in-progress for every company, no matter in what phase or how large. So it helps to realize there's no right or wrong, so long as you're able to acheive the goals you/your organization sets out to do. And in the end, isn't that the more important point of work?

                                    1. 3

                                      Absolutely and that's not restricted to remote work frankly. For startups especially, it always helps to think in that fashion. Popular narratives don't matter as long as you are able to adapt them to the needs of your startup and make them a success.ย 

                                      Of course, in the context of remote work it is more so, because not only are solutions applicable across all contexts, but for some problems no solutions have even been found.

                                      1. 3

                                        Work may organize itself in my formats - but in the end, work is all about finding solutions ... that's how i see it

                                      2. 2

                                        and thatโ€™s an important element of agile mindset

                                      1. 3

                                        Whole-heartedly agree, Hanadi.

                                        For quite a while I have voiced that independent contractors don't get the respect they deserve. I have even written in the past that the best way to make a partnership with an independent contractor a success, is to treat them as you would any other employee in your company.

                                        The perspective that contractors or freelancers are "cheap labour" and not talented professionals is quite a misnomer. Quite a lot of this is going to change over the next decade. With remote work growing, the lines between a contractor/consultant and a full-time remote employee starts becoming quite blurred. And it would be in each company's best interest to have a fair mix of both while treating them as equals.

                                        1. 2

                                          100% Karthik ... this is the age of hybrid workforce and HR better get theor heads around this new workforce planning and management model

                                        1. 3

                                          awesome group ๐Ÿคฉ

                                          1. 5

                                            Congrats!

                                            1. 3

                                              thank you nico ๐ŸŽŠ

                                            1. 6

                                              Congratulations Captains! Wuhooo :)

                                              1. 4

                                                thank you karthik ๐Ÿ’ƒ

                                              1. 4

                                                Congrats @Borisov91 @nancy & @hanadi-540 ๐Ÿ™Œ

                                                1. 3

                                                  woohooo ๐Ÿคฉ thank you hrishikesh and congratulations Boris and Nancy ๐Ÿฅณ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ

                                                1. 5

                                                  Wow. This reminds me of a new hire we had a few years ago. We've always been distributed and rely heavily on Zoom and virtual calls to interface with clients. It was this person's first week on the job and they were vaping on a video call with their new client. On the one hand, he was at home so we couldn't really tell him he couldn't vape, but the client also thought it was really unprofessional and created a really weird tone for the entire project.ย 

                                                  It's a tricky situation!

                                                  1. 3

                                                    I think people are going to be divided on this. While companies consider smoking at work to be unprofessional, it would be really difficult to debate as they are working from home. Maybe a clear set of guidelines and rules while onboarding a new employee would be helpful in such cases.

                                                    1. 2

                                                      you can only imagine the number of similar stories cropping up since the whole world went remote - I think it'll be interesting to document these stories and the impact they had on organization policies, guides, processes, etc.... one can derive huge insights for the future