Finding remote positions have never been easy, with one piece of advice I’ve heard being to start onsite, build up your reputation within the team, then transition to remote. I’ve personally seen a fair number of people become remote that way. But with COVID-19 forcing us all to work from home, are we going to see companies accepting remote work?
Today, I’ll explore two reasons why I think now is the time to look for remote work, if that’s something you wanted to do before the pandemic.
Let’s the obvious one out of the way: COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the economy, and unemployment is through the roof. Tech is affected too, with countless posts about layoffs at well-known tech companies.
But the situation isn’t completely hopeless. Think about the advantages we have in tech:
We actually can work remotely. Plenty of people have been saying that forever. The truth is, social distancing isn’t stopping us from setting up shop in our own homes.
Tech underlies a diverse range of industries. Some companies support industries that need people to go out, like those supporting real estate or restaurants. These companies are doing poorly. But Netflix and Zoom? They’re doing pretty great!
Ultimately, this leads to plenty of companies that are still hiring (and as I said before, they should be hiring enthusiastically). So even though the economy is not doing so great, being in tech may grant you more leverage than you thought.
Forced remote work
This is the big open question: does the current forced work-from-home situation translate to more companies embracing remote work in the future? Or will there be a backlash to it, since the current situation isn’t quite representation of what remote work can be at the best of times?
There are three types of companies to think about:
Companies that, even today, will not entertain remote work after the lockdowns subside. These companies were never going to support remote work, so they don’t matter much for our consideration. Treat them as you would have before.
Companies that would have considered remote work before, but the current situation is turning them off from the prospect. From my experience, companies like this wouldn’t commit to remote work normally, and if anything went wrong with their attempts, they wouldn’t have given remote work a fair chance. Unfortunately, it is possible the pandemic will set us back a few years with these companies.
Companies that are now considering remote work. These are the companies who have opened up to you, the remote job seeker. And you’d be in good company. According to LinkedIn’s job data, both remote job postings and remote job searches are on the rise in the last month.
So even if there is a backlash, or we go back to the status quo, there is a small but significant opportunity in that last category.
Finding a job at a time like this won’t be easy, whether that’s because of how companies are hiring or because you have more on your mind than usual. But if you’ve been thinking about finding a remote job, now’s the time to pounce on it. Especially if you’re only looking on the side, look for those remote jobs and have those conversations with hiring managers. It’s certainly a better time to ask now that everyone is already remote!