back to article Trouble hiring? Consider loosening your remote work policy

For bosses suffering the effects of the Great Resignation, IT decision makers taking part in this survey have a suggestion: go remote and you won't have any trouble hiring people. That's the overall message from Foundry's 2022 Future of Work study, which examined the pandemic's impact on workplaces and how businesses plan to …

  1. Andy 73

    Outside IR-35

    Another consistent way to get people interested in your position, is to give them sensible contract terms. Having a company tell you they want a short-term worker, but then immediately have you jumping through hoops to sign up to the relevant pension scheme, umbrella payment company and all the other rubbish is a deep frustration.

    Having set up a home office for remote working (decent computer, good monitors, keyboard, microphone, webcam and all the other bits), being told "we'll send you a laptop" that you know for certain will be years out of date is also deeply off putting, especially when the company has told you they only want the "best of the best".

    The combination of badly thought out legislation and lazy implementation is killing the mobile skilled workforce.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Outside IR-35

      Well, I can understand that a client might want you to use their system instead of a random PC they have no control over and which may or may not be infected by some malware (and sometimes there are legal constraints when working with sensitive data on top of it), and I have no problem with that.

      But I agree with everything else you said. At home I have a large desk with large, high resolution monitors, comfortable chair, and an environment where I feel comfortable and am able to focus. Forcing me to commute to spend my work day sitting in a worn-out chair on a desk in a nosy open plan office, having to use a keyboard that gives me insight into the dietary habits of its previous users and a shoddy low-grade low-res display, doesn't exactly increase my output.

      And you're right about the IR35 idiocy. Don't farm out work as 'inside IR35' and then complain that you can't filled skilled people.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Outside IR-35

        The company laptop issue is one that can be easily argued in IR35 terms. It's one I'd have used if challenged although in my case it would have applied to desktops and servers, the garage mechanic argument:

        I am My company is hired to make some changes to my client's system. I may well use my own company's laptop as an aid but I need access to that system. My client's laptop provides that access. When your car needs servicing you take it to the garage. You don't expect the mechanic to do the work on his own car instead of yours do you?

    2. Nifty Silver badge

      Re: Outside IR-35

      I like keeping my work laptop totally separate from my home one. Also, company internal support has a backdoor, seems I have to ok each access but that's another reason to keep home & work stuff separate.

    3. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: Outside IR-35

      I do ‘adjunct instruction’ for a local college. They gave me a Surface device, configured with full Active Directory settings, totally under the control of their IT. (Hint: it was a major pain to get non-school email set up in MS Outlook, and I needed that to be able to email stuff to myself, thanks to other ‘security’ settings.) I use it just for school stuff, remote instruction and such. I also have an ancient Dell laptop, semi-retired, and a new Lenovo, which I use for laptop things other than school stuff. I used to use the Dell for school stuff, IT department hated it, I suspect that they couldn’t do certain things on it, and that is why I got the Surface. Note that IT noticed that I never connect the Surface to my home net, I have a nice little hotspot from Verizon just for that unit. Gee. I wonder how they knew, and why they cared. And, yes, there is a piece of tape over the camera and microphone. And it’s turned off and in a bag when not in use.

  2. AndrueC Silver badge
    Happy

    Thirty plus years of programming experience here. The only reason I'm reducing my hours to a four day week instead of retiring next March is that I have an enlightened employer that allows their software developers to work from home as much as they want. In practice we all work from home all the time apart from an occasional meet-up day.

    Managers need to get a clue. Working from home does not mean skiving from home. Me having my bum on a company chair in no way means that I am working. Pay me for the work I complete not for the fact you can see me (as if managers ever deign to visit the likes of us).

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Pay me for the work I complete not for the fact you can see me

      <= This.

      If you need to employ someone you must have a job/tasks for them to be doing, and presumably (if you are not totally dumb) some means of checking they are being done at reasonable and sustainable speeds. Unless it involves local interaction with customers and/or hardware then allow it remote work as desired by the worker.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sorry mate we need 40 years experience in Go.

      1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

        Then you need Norio Kudo, current President for the International Go Federation.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: Working from home does not mean skiving from home

      Whereas when I'm in the office I can skive as much as I like.

      Seems to me the managers pushing for us to get back in the office are the managers who don't really know how things work....

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I got the best of all worlds

    My company has offices in several US states and doesn't pay attention to who is where. The Boss is 1000 miles away and our shifts only overlap 3 hours on 2 days. We do calls once a month and otherwise only deal with each other on email. Because of this, WFH is no different than WFO. Looks like aside ftom an occasional team meeting with the manager and team members at my local office WFH will be permanent. Oh, and it's also four 10s, which feels like I only working half the week.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wish someone would tell some of the 650 duly elected fuckwits, retards and morons in charge of the CS's departments this.

    Might mean we get to keep good people from just not coming to work

  5. trevorde Silver badge

    Remote Deskcrap

    Working remotely for a 'big data' company where they provide me with a remote desktop to a VM running in their data centre. The supposed advantage is that it is colocated next to the data lake/swamp, so there is minimal latency in retrieving 'big data'. Only problem is my VM is dog sloooow and struggles to run the IDE, let alone get any data. Looked at the VM specs and it is literally half the machine from my previous company!

    1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      Re: Remote Deskcrap

      Half the diskspace, half the ram, half the CPUs = 0.125 ( 1/8 th) of you previous machine - which was probably already old.

  6. HildyJ Silver badge
    Angel

    Yes, But

    How about paying better wages?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Yes, But

      Heretic!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yes, But

      Found the communist.

    3. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Yes, But

      How about paying better wages?

      I suspect if many of the projects for which people are being hired had been subject to a rigorous financial analysis they'd have been strangled at birth. Calling for economic logic is a two-edged sword in a business that's often driven by a copycat imperative.

  7. Denarius Silver badge

    In Oz

    A few of the outsourceres pursing their death spirals brought in hot desking, thus losing two hours a day for each of their staff. One would think WFH would fit right in but apparently not.... Modern manglement must take lessons in foolishness. It cant be natural, surely

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: In Oz

      "It cant be natural, surely"

      Citation needed.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You give me job.

    I do job.

    You pay me for doing job.

    It's that simple and it really doesn't matter where I do it the only thing that matters is how long we agree it will take and how much you will pay me. I'll be honest. If I am on a day rate I may stretch it out a little longer than it should be but that extra stretch will give me time to work out any issues or problems in the future with whatever I am doing so in the long run that extra time actually saves you money and time overall.

  9. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    All else apart, the economic model of commuting ever greater distances from ever wider areas into ever larger cities must be regarded as environmentally unsustainable. The pandemic has shown it's not necessary. The present escalation of fuel prices should be an indication that it's becoming economically infeasible. In the UK the return of rail strikes should be warning it might be impossible. Only the meanest intelligence (hi there, Rees-Mogg) can believe it can continue. It's time to consider the alternatives.

    Some jobs such as logistics and manufacturing require physical presence but they're not part of the problem. Except for those catering to the immediate needs of the cities themselves, logistic businesses cluster around the transport network and property prices have long since squeezed manufacturing out of city centres.

    The problem lies with office jobs and there the smart money must surely be looking at better ways. Long term home working might be possible and, in fact, preferable for some. For others it's been a strain because of the nature of their homes and new thinking is needed here.

    For large employers there's the option of fragmenting their offices and scattering the fragments as smaller offices closer to where their employees live. For others the solution might be rent-a-desk arrangements; not the existing model of providing pieds-à-terre in urban centres but the equivalent of the fragmented office where the staff numbers are too small to support a stand-alone fragment.

    As employment starts to move out of the cities the freed up former office space can become homes for those who prefer an urban life-style. Employment doesn't need to move out of the cities entirely. The physical urban structures aren't going to go away that easily, it's more a matter of achieving a balance so that those who want to live in cities can work there (or vice versa) and those who want to live outside cities don't need to commute for work.

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      It's not just about place, it's also about time. I think in the last couple of years people have realised that their time is far more valuable than most jobs are ever likely to pay them for and they're really not going to go back to commuting - paying their own money for the theft of their time - or to work significantly more than is needed to sustain themselves and their families.

      I think that realisation will survive the current economic turmoil and I don't really see any enthusiasm (outside Dacre Acres) for a return to the status quo ante.

  10. ratcatcher67

    Why not consider paying more for your staff.

  11. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

    We are fine with outsourcing to India, Bulgaria

    or wherever. But at home, refusing remote work? The old double standard problem, combined with ignorance.

  12. Binraider Silver badge

    In my local environment, there are probably three major problems. Number one is Morale. Nobody can see a way out of the hole that has been dug; and kicking the can down the road is not a solution. Relatively small projects are all over the newspapers cataloguing the scale of inexperience of short-duration hires that now fill our business. This is doubly damning given the scale of what we need to do over the next 20 years.

    This is compounded by loss of experienced personnel to retirement and/or high priced but short duration contract work. I've been offered such work myself in fact; although I have no desire to work in the Gulf States.

    The third major problem is that routes for progression up the ranks. All but dead mans boots routes are closed. Join as a promising grad? Get a flat pay rise for the forseeable future (below inflation) regardless of your performance. For those of us that are already at the top of the pay scale due to better T&C's 5 to 10 years ago, this is not a big deal. But if you're new, watching your salary go up at a rate below rent and house prices is not conducive to retaining staff. Yet the unions consistently argue against performance-based pay. This is not without precedent, because there are lots of examples of performance based pay being at the mercy of the manager responsible - and also - the forced-fit curve. i.e. for every person "above average" there has to be one below for the budget to fit. So pay has never, ever really been performance based.

    The done thing now is, as a grad, to get three years on your CV with us as a reputable outfit; then move to something better paid.

    The bit that is perhaps most damning about this is that the board are actively pushing the cost cutting agenda while simultaneously whinging about the great resignation. The real great resignation is, that many orgs are resigned to doing nothing about it.

    In the meantime I predict widespread failures of such orgs over the next 5 to 10 years. I have no golden handcuffs, beyond relatively favourable base pay right now; and frankly with the right offer I'd be off. I'll keep looking.

    1. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo Silver badge
      Flame

      Politicians and the like like to ramble on about how the western economy is transitioning into a knowledge based economy, rationalizing to themselves the loss many industrial jobs. However, if the players in a knowledge economy fail to acculumate institutional knowledge in the form of an experienced workforce, they condemn themselves to a life of perpetual beginners, which is as sustainable as slash-and-burn agriculture. It works as long as there is new land to burn and as long as everyone else does the same. If someone finds a better way of doing business, you're screwed

      1. Binraider Silver badge

        There is something of an obsession on expert systems and rapid training packages to try and fill in the knowledge gaps that they know are forming.

        What we do is highly adaptable. Most expert systems do not react well to seeing something outside of the criteria they are told to look for.

        On the "someone else" front; funnily enough, that is coming; notwithstanding a change of govt' leadership. The legislation isn't quite there due to a whole bunch of other garbage getting in the way, but I would anticipate it to be a thing in the the next Tory party manifesto.

        1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

          > What we do is highly adaptable. Most expert systems do not react well to seeing something outside of the criteria they are told to look for.

          You describe artificial "intelligence" in its current state...

    2. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      > The real great resignation is, that many orgs are resigned to doing nothing about it.

      Inertia at speed which makes tectonics look like light speed.

      Or "The problem that has been known for decades, and it it only getting worse".

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