How Offering Remote Work is Vital to Attracting the Right Employees

COVID-19 forever changed the way we do business, as both private and public organizations scrambled to find ways to keep employees, customers and clients safe. Agencies were forced to make many positions remote, and the effects are still felt as we adjust to hybrid work environments with a mixture of on-site and remote positions.

Now, as the labor market favors employees, it's more important than ever for public sector agencies to focus on offering great benefits and more remote work positions. Continue reading to learn more about the history of remote work and how to attract highly skilled candidates to your organization.

The History of Remote Work

The history of working from home is fascinating interesting, and you may be surprised to learn that it dates back hundreds of years to the first industrial revolution. Before commercial marketplaces, vendors and craftsmen sold their wares from home. Workplace norms changed after the industrial revolution to something similar to what we know today.

Then enter the digital age in the early 1980s, and we saw another paradigm shift where systems linked networks and connected workers in a whole new way. It was Jack Nilles, a NASA engineer, who first introduced the term telecommuting back in 1973.

A small group of IBM employees worked from home as an experiment to test the effectiveness of remote work. By 1983, 2,000 employees worked remotely, and the call center staff for JC Penney were given the option of working from home.

By 1999, many startups began at home on a tight budget where the founders couldn’t afford to rent an office or even hire more help. And the green movement to take care of our planet made working from home a no-brainer to reduce the number of vehicles on the road.

And over time, remote work evolved into what we know today. According to a remote work survey from 2021, 83% of employers surveyed say that the shift to working from home has been successful. And while the office isn’t going anywhere, fewer than one out of every five executives say that they are returning to it.

It has become increasingly clear that remote work is here to stay. The result is a hybrid work environment where companies search for new ways to build a strong workplace culture and manage employee performance in this complicated new business model.

The Competition for Employees is High

Now that many workers expect remote work to be an option, The Great Resignation shows just how important this benefit is. As of August 2021, 4.3 million people had left their jobs looking for better opportunities and benefits, and that number is likely rising.

It has caused the labor market to swing to favor employees, making it more difficult for organizations to find skilled workers. Hybrid and telecommuting positions are attracting 7 times the applications that traditional jobs do, according to Susan Arthur, CEO of CareerBuilder.

Other factors like the rising cost of fuel also make working from home more cost-effective. And the problem will continue as record-high job openings show that employees are more focused on a better work-life balance—one of the many benefits of remote work. In March 2022, job openings increased to 11.5 million across the nation, which was the largest increase in thirty years.

How to Improve the Recruiting Process and Attract Quality Candidates

As more employees place importance on a better work-life balance, public sector organizations will need to re-evaluate benefits to attract the right employees for their missions.

Restructuring to add more remote work options can help reduce high turnover and provide workers with the flexibility they need to be happier at work and home. The key is to define your organization's ideal employee and then find the benefits that appeal to that person.

Focus on the most important ones that relate to your industry. Examples of ideal benefits include:

  • Onsite-gym and/or an hour each day to work out
  • Digital therapy options
  • Career or health coaching
  • Remote or hybrid positions

Benefits are shifting to focus not on just the workplaces or employees themselves, but on home and family life too. This focus is something to keep in mind when creating benefits and remote work options.

Key Takeaways

One study by Upwork estimates that by 2025, 22% of the American workforce will be working from home. This means that remote positions are becoming an expected benefit, rather than a nice bonus. If The Great Resignation taught us anything, it was to listen to the millions of public sector employees that want jobs that offer remote work.

Some public sector organizations that have begun offering remote jobs include:

  • NASA
  • The U.S. Census Bureau
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • The U.S. Department of the Navy
  • The U.S. Department of Defense
  • The U.S. Department of the Army
  • The U.S. Department of Justice
  • The U.S.Department of State

By offering remote work options, you can attract skilled employees to help you achieve organizational goals and missions.

Remote or hybrid work is becoming an expected benefit, rather than a nice perk. Learn why offering remote work is important for attracting the right people.
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About CPS HR Consulting

CPS HR Consulting is a self-supporting public agency providing a full range of integrated HR solutions to government and nonprofit clients across the country.  Our strategic approach to increasing the effectiveness of human resources results in improved organizational performance for our clients.  We have a deep expertise and unmatched perspective in guiding our clients in the areas of organizational strategy, recruitment and selection, classification and compensation, and training and development.