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That hybrid work conversation


3 November 2022 at 12:57 pm
Ruby Kraner-Tucci
Negotiating whether you work from home, the office or on the go is now an important part of the recruitment process.


Ruby Kraner-Tucci | 3 November 2022 at 12:57 pm


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That hybrid work conversation
3 November 2022 at 12:57 pm

Negotiating whether you work from home, the office or on the go is now an important part of the recruitment process.

There’s a lot about COVID-19 to which we’ve gladly said goodbye. The inability to freely travel or meet up with a group of friends, painstakingly juggling work and homeschooling, and swabbing ourselves silly every time we get a scratchy throat or the most minor runny nose.

But there are some silver linings, which for many workers includes the ability to split their time between the office and, well, the home office. 

The pandemic has radically changed the landscape of work – the rigid 9-5 days have made way for flexible hybrid environments – and it’s fairly easy to see why. 

Without the commute, there’s more time to spend on the parts of life outside of work and more money to dedicate to it. For some, that might look like a morning exercise class or getting the opportunity to walk the kids to school. For others, it could be about making a jumpstart on dinner or supporting wellbeing by meditating or feeding a passion project.

The Financial Review reported that “the shift to working from home has made Australians happier, healthier and wealthier, with remote workers saving an average of $10,000 a year”. As costs of living and inflationary pressures rise, these financial benefits of remote work are not lost on employees, with 71 per cent of workers stating they would factor in these savings when considering a job change.

According to a report from the Australian government’s Productivity Commission, the percentage of Australians who worked from home rose from 8 per cent to 40 per cent over the two years of the pandemic, fuelled by stay-at-home measures that challenged the stigma and organisational barriers to remote work. 

And just because workers are not physically in the office, doesn’t mean the job isn’t getting done. The same report found about three-quarters of workers surveyed considered that they were at least as productive working from home as from the office.

But not all employers are on board. Without government orders requiring people to work from home, many companies have mandated a return to the office, at least in a part-time capacity. Those that resist potentially leave themselves open to disciplinary action, including dismissal.

It’s therefore extremely important to be aware of the preferences of a future employer for those individuals on the job hunt. If hybrid work is high on your priority list, it’s beneficial to confirm the arrangements before you’ve signed a contract.

Here are some tips to consider when approaching the hybrid work conversation:

  • Be clear about your preferences without being overly demanding or inflexible, as this will likely hurt your chances of getting hired.
  • Ask open-ended questions about the employer’s hybrid working policy, as this can be the catalyst for a broader conversation about their workplace culture.
  • Be realistic about the suitability of hybrid work to the job you’re applying for, as positions in hospitality, retail or construction, for example, generally don’t lend themselves towards working from home.
  • To directly address hybrid work, highlight the benefits and how you may overcome potential challenges you foresee. This could include using technology to stay connected with colleagues or providing regular check-ins with your manager to confirm your output.
  • If your potential employer is hesitant about your hybrid work preferences, try suggesting a trial period that can be reviewed upon completion.

Ruby Kraner-Tucci  |  @ProBonoNews

Ruby Kraner-Tucci is a journalist, with a special interest in culture, community and social affairs. Reach her at rubykranertucci@gmail.com.


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