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Conquer the Complications of Settling into Remote Work in 2023

The number of employees working remotely on a full-time or part-time basis continues to increase and employers are dealing with this widespread adoption.
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conquer the complications of settling into remote work in 2023

From “return-to-office," which was Glassdoor's 2022 Word of the Year, to quiet quitting, last year introduced several new labor market concepts. And while it's still too early to predict what terms will define our workplaces in 2023, remote work is here to stay. However, the widespread adoption of working from home continues to pose problems to employers.

Where are your employees? In 2019, that would have seemed like a really dumb question. Today—well, it's complicated. 

The number of employees working remotely on a full-time or part-time basis continues to increase. Fifty-eight percent of respondents work remotely at least part-time, according to a recent American Opportunity Survey by McKinsey, with 38% of respondents working remotely on a full-time basis. That's a high percentage, especially considering that some industries with large numbers of employees—such as hospitality and construction—often can't offer any opportunities for remote work.

One thing several workplaces have in common is that flexibility is, and will continue to be, high on the list of what employees want. Flexibility doesn't just mean the opportunity to work from home, but also includes four-day work weeks, split schedules—that allow employees to work in the morning, take time off to pick up kids from school, and go back to work either in the office or from home—and other opportunities that allow employees more control over their schedules. 

The location of employees is also linked to pay differences. Historically, it has been common for organizations to pay employees based on the employee's location. If you're hiring remote workers, you will need to set a fair, competitive compensation level based on the potential location of your new hire.

There are also some remote workers who really don't have a “home." They might spend winters skiing in the west, a few months at the beach, and maybe a few months outside the U.S. Determining fair, competitive compensation levels for these employees will be a significant challenge for employers.

Employers should develop and implement compensation and related policies and practices that support a hybrid workforce and recognize the need for wage differences in different geographic areas.

The rise in remote and hybrid work has resulted in a significant increase in workplace surveillance activities by employers. Sixty percent of employers with remote workers use some type of monitoring software to track employee activity and another 17% are considering it, according to a recent survey by

Employee surveillance is a large component of what Microsoft's Satya Nadella has termed “productivity paranoia." Simply put, productivity paranoia refers to management's uncertainty that employees aren't working as effectively as they can when they can't physically see them. For more information, check out Affinity HR Group's video from December 2022.

Lawmakers and regulators are already considering actions to protect the privacy rights of employees. The Massachusetts State Legislature recently introduced a bill aimed at protecting employees from “non-consensual capture of information or communications within an individual's home." At the federal level, the Worker Privacy Act, originally drafted in 2020 and designed to require employers to report what types of employee data they collect and why, hasn't gained much support for passage but may gain increased momentum as this issue becomes more important to both employers and employees.

It's crucial to develop and provide clear, consistent communications surrounding the use of employee surveillance. Keep abreast of state and federal legislation—this is largely an unregulated area that will come under increased legal and legislative scrutiny.

Susan Palé is vice president for compensation at Affinity HR Group Inc. Affinity HR is the endorsed HR partner of Big “I" Hires, the Independent Insurance Agents of Virginia, Big I New York, Big I New Jersey and Big I Connecticut.

Friday, April 21, 2023
Recruiting, Hiring & Training