Decoding ‘Hybrid Remote’: Post-Pandemic Work Misconceptions
Remote work increased during COVID-19. After being confined to an office for so long, the option of working from home was quickly embraced by employees. Employees reported increased productivity and efficiency while doing things like shopping and juggling multiple projects.
More businesses are calling in their remote workers as the pandemic winds down and life returns to normal.
There are a variety of situations that may necessitate a return to work. The claim that remote workers are less productive than their in-office counterparts is unsubstantiated by the data. Since many employees can now do their jobs from home, critics argue that companies should get something in return for the money they spend on lavish office space.
People who work from home are unhappy. Others are looking for remote or hybrid positions because they simply cannot face going back to the office.
A TikTok video by user @alexandra.steinmetz (with over 106,000 views) explains why remote/hybrid job postings aren’t always what they seem to be.
In the video, Alexandra states that in the previous six months, she has applied for two “hybrid remote” positions.
In both cases, she was expected to be in the office five days a week. Alexandra commutes one hour each way.
In both cases, she says she told the hiring manager or human resources representative, “Well, it says ‘hybrid remote,’ so I’m definitely willing to drive in a couple days a week, but I figured I’d be working from home part-time.
She claims that after that, one person stopped responding. That was our fault, the other one admitted. Our apologies. In the future, when I post jobs, I won’t include the words “work from home.”
“She reposted it the next day—and it still said ‘work from home,'” Alexandra explains. “That’s not proofreading,” they said. People are probably adding “remote” and “hybrid” to the job descriptions to attract more qualified candidates.
It was the rise of remote work that prompted Alexandra’s experience. In June 2022, Alison Green of Slate wrote that many companies provide false information about remote work.
As Green points out, “some of this is caused by employers who really mean ‘you can partially work from home,’ but for some reason list those jobs as fully remote” (possibly due to electronic application system limitations). But there are times when working remotely isn’t even an option. If you live close to the office, you may be able to work remotely, but if you don’t, you’ll be expected to be there every day.
Green agrees with Alexandra that a company might do this to entice more people to apply for jobs with them.
In a recent article for the Wall Street Journal, Te-Ping Chen analyzed information from numerous companies that had previously admitted to not hiring despite advertising open positions.
In the summer of 2016, Chen found that 27% of the more than 1,000 hiring managers polled had job ads up for more than four months. Almost half of companies that posted jobs they weren’t actively seeking to fill kept the ads up to give the impression the company was expanding.
In conclusion, the shift to remote work brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has not been without its complications. While some employees have thrived in this environment, others have experienced misunderstandings and frustrations, particularly with ambiguous “hybrid remote” job positions. Companies, keen to attract a wider pool of candidates, have occasionally misrepresented the true nature of these roles. The need for greater transparency is clear, and the use of employee computer monitoring software may be a useful tool in understanding the productivity and efficiency of remote versus in-office work. As we move forward, it is crucial that companies balance their desire to appear progressive and flexible with the importance of clear, accurate communication about job expectations, helping to build trust and efficiency in the remote workforce.