Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Remote work is still very popular with employees and candidates. One of the challenges that organizations have to manage is when they have a job that can be done either onsite or remotely. What if someone is interested in one but not the other? That’s what today’s reader note is all about.
Hi, Ms. Lauby! I really appreciated your insight in the work-related piece on Sage.com and was wondering if you could please give me your advice. I got a great job offer for an onsite role near my home. However, the company is hiring for the same position with a remote option (which I also applied for).
I would rather work remote if possible because I have a disability, but if they didn’t want me for remote, I would still be happy to take the onsite job and do my best. Do you think it would hurt if I asked HR if I could still be considered for the remote position? Thank you for your time!
I don’t want to diminish this reader’s disclosure about a disability. According to the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has said that telework and/or working from home may be a form of reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). We simply do not have enough information to elaborate on this aspect of the scenario.
But the circumstances of a candidate or employee finding out their onsite role can be done remotely (or vice versa), might just happen more than we think. The question then becomes what we should do about it. Here are a few things to consider.
Productivity – Candidates and employees need to ask themselves, “Where can I be my most productive?” And be able to describe it. Even if you’re not considering asking about onsite/remote work, individuals should be able to discuss the work environment that allows them to produce their best work. Preferably with examples.
Proximity – While it might be a preference to work remotely, does it make sense to work onsite for a while before asking about a transition to remote or hybrid work? This allows an employee to familiarize themselves with the onsite environment and build positive working relationships. It’s not impossible to do these things remotely, but it definitely could be easier.
Expectations – Organizations and individuals discussing remote work have to talk through expectations. Everything from equipment to data security to work schedules. Regardless of what side of the conversation you’re on, it’s important to anticipate the questions and the answers. Some of the reluctance to remote work is the perception that it’s more difficult on the employee and the company. Think about how it can be discussed as a win for all.
I understand this reader note has some unique circumstances and they will need to decide what’s best for them. I’d like to believe that, if they discussed the matter with HR, they would be able to investigate the matter and provide an explanation. Let me add, it might not be the answer that the reader is looking for, but they would get a response. Then they could decide the best way to proceed.
But I also believe that this won’t be the first time organizations advertise openings for the same job with one being onsite and the other remote. Candidates and employees might ask questions. HR needs to be prepared to offer answers that make sense. My goal is to hopefully provide both companies and individuals some things to consider when they have conversations about onsite and remote work.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of Washington, DC28