But in the current war for talent, with job openings near record highs, many companies say flexible work policies are essential to gain an edge over competitors. Women are also much more likely to cite remote work as a job requirement, according to research from Indeed, the job search website.
During the pandemic, Unqork, a software start-up founded in New York in 2017, has reduced its office space in Manhattan’s Flatiron neighborhood to 8,500 square feet, from nearly 50,000 square feet before the pandemic.
The change came when Unqork announced it would become a remote-first company, allowing employees to work from anywhere. The company has nearly tripled during the pandemic and has approximately 600 employees worldwide.
“It’s a more efficient way to find talent,” said Gary Hoberman, the company’s CEO. “If they want to work in Antarctica, that’s fine,” notes that one worker did indeed spend a month of the pandemic near the South Pole.
Nina Anziska, 33, moved permanently to Los Angeles seven months after the pandemic after her boss told her not to return to her Manhattan office. Her employer Skillshare, an online education company, canceled its office space in the Flatiron neighborhood at the end of 2020.
While the company has signed up for co-working spaces across the country, Ms. Anziska has barely used them, saying a requirement to be in an office is “close to a deal breaker” for her.
Skillshare CEO Matt Cooper is reluctant to sign a long-term lease for an office space, fearing that everyone would be pressured into using it. Whenever he sees a competitor announcing a return to the office, he says he directs his recruiters to target technicians at those companies.