Organizations around the globe are continuing to navigate their stance on remote and hybrid work. Many are proudly claiming to be a “Remote First” organizations when the truth is they are anything but.
Fauxmote organizations, fake remote organizations, are those that say they provide flexibility via remote work scenarios and then ask employees to commit to a certain number of days in the office, suggest which days they need to be on site, and prescribe the expected hours. That’s not flexible – and that’s not remote.
A fully remote approach may not be the right thing for some organizations and some roles – and that’s okay. For many, going hybrid is a better approach. But even with a hybrid scenario, organizations need to make sure they aren’t packaging their approach as flexibility if they are still prescribing many of the job conditions.
Words matter and consistency between words and actions build trust. Be clear on where your organization stands and share that clarity with your people. Are you prepared to answer questions such as:
- How many days a week are we required to be in the office?
- How many days a week would you like us in the office?
- What are the implications if we choose not to come into the office at all?
- Can we work from any location?
- Can we establish our own hours?
- Are there certain hours we are required to be working?
- Do you offer a 4-day workweek?
Fauxmote organizations are also those that fail to put the appropriate supports in place to facilitate remote working, such as technology or resources to help employees and leaders navigate working and collaborating in a remote world. Leaving employees to their own devices to figure it out can leave them feeling unsupported and they may question the organization’s commitment to remote work – and to them. Fake support can also show up as lack of equity in the way an organization places a higher value on the contributions of employees who may choose to be on site. Remote first organizations tackle equity issues head on so employees know their decision to work virtually won’t be held against them when it comes to performance evaluation or career advancement.
Why does it matter?
An ongoing commitment to remote work can be a boon to organizations but only if there is clarity around key issues. Without clarity, organizations can cause confusion and dissatisfaction despite their best efforts to do just the opposite. What’s more, new employees who are hired as remote staff but come to learn the policy is less-than-flexible, may have buyer’s remorse. By committing to remote work flexibility, and then backing that up with firm support for it, organizations can focus less about marketing themselves as “Remote first” and more on the relationships they can co-create with their employees to make remote work a positive reality.