A unique opportunity for employers

Limited time offer, remote work conditions apply

As we approach August, and the delta variant spreads rapidly in advance of a fall peak, remote work is received renewed attention. Not just as a necessity, but as a competitive advantage.

Mid-summer is a good time to assess what we do, why, and more importantly from where. Rather than frame remote work as an accommodation, what if it was instead framed as an opportunity.

We hypothesize that there are a lot of people who have previously been excluded from the workforce for a wide range of reasons who are now in a position to be part of it. This ranges from relatively low skill to highly specialized and talented.

The question is not whether these people will find jobs or roles in the workforce, but who will be smart enough to hire them first. It’s not just about a labour shortage, but the need to adapt and evolve. Harnessing untapped talent is part of that.

Yet even people who were already working, have found significant relief and benefits from being able to work on their own terms.

Remote work has also influenced broader geographic opportunities to leave crowded and extended commutes behind.

Although moving to another city only works if remote work is permissible in the long term. The debate over the last few months has focused on which companies will stick with remote work, and which ones won’t.

In anticipation of this, a lot of people are saying they won’t come back, even if that means quitting.

One employee said they were currently on an Americans with Disabilities Act accommodation that allowed them to work from home, but were told that accommodation would be denied when the company went back to the office. “I will be out of a job in September,” they wrote in Slack.

Apple typically gives employees 30 days to find a new job within the company if their current team denies a medical accommodation. But one worker said in Slack that there weren’t any open remote positions.

Some employees say they were told only people with documented medical conditions would be approved for permanent remote work. But the form that Apple employees use to request such an accommodation asks them to release their medical records to the company, which made some people uncomfortable.

Apple is not the only company to have anecdotes about their harsh practices circulate online. It’s fueling a larger class culture that has people rethinking work and their own work/life balance. And with it a reassessment of the people who stand in the way of that balance.

We take for granted that there has been no balance. That we live in a society dominated by work, and that even our identities are dominated by work.

Jesse Hirsh

Jesse Hirsh