With more working remote, companies tweak in-office culture to recruit new workers
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The city that never sleeps — while it may appear Rohani Mahyera is working from her New York City office, zoom out and you’ll see a different backdrop.
“Is it a good change from New York?” reporter Vic Micolucci asked her.
“Yeah, it’s been really incredible to be here,” the attorney replied.
Mahyera is on a one-month getaway in Jacksonville Beach, Florida – but it’s no vacation.
“I have a full setup. I actually have an excellent setup. As you can see, I have a big monitor. My laptop’s connected and I have my actual work phone with me. Bring my phone with me everywhere I go. And I have a printer as well,” she said, while showing her virtual work setup.
Her law firm is allowing its staff to work from anywhere in the world – for 30 days. She chose a short-term rental as her temporary office.
Micolucci wanted to know where her colleagues were working from as well.
“There are people that are there in Maine. A lot of people are visiting family around the country. There are a couple of people in Europe,” Mahyera said.
“Have you had problems staying focused?” Micolucci asked.
“No,” was her quick answer. “I personally think I work better working from home. There’s less distractions, there’s less people coming in and out of the office. So it’s quiet when I want it to be, and I can step outside when I need to,” she explained.
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And her firm is appealing to a new workforce – with different goals. College students we spoke to seem to be in consensus.
Diana Gura said she wants, “Something where I can work from home because I want to travel.”
Micolucci asked Jas Vali why he didn’t want to work in an office. “9 to 5, dress up, sit in a cubicle? No,” he said.
Thanks to the pandemic, technology and just trends, traditional office life is becoming less appealing.
“I want to travel a lot. I don’t want to be in a confined space. Anywhere around the world would be nice,” college student Sam Mitchell said.
Speaking with Katelyn Green, Micolucci asked, “So you want a job where you can work from anywhere in the world and still get paid?”
Her answer, “Yes.”
“Do you think you can get it?” Micolucci asked.
“I think I could!” Green said.
There’s been a lot of research about this, as more and more people find working remotely to be appealing. Let’s look at what Owl Labs found through surveys, discovering on a global scale:
56% of companies allow remote work.
16% of companies are fully remote.
Those who work remotely are 24% more likely to feel happy and productive in their roles than those who don’t or can’t work remotely.
34% of U.S. workers would take a pay cut of up to 5% in order to work remotely.
The number of job postings that offered hybrid work increased 52% in the period between September 2021 and August 2022, according to FlexJobs. Other trends include a four-day workweek, a wellness stipend and snacks.
Micolucci asked Scott Curry at the University of North Florida if he thinks this generation wants more flexibility.
“I think that this generation had two years of having to be flexible with the COVID pandemic, and so that they have the ability to work from home, they’ve demonstrated it. And so now they know that they can apply it,” he said.
Curry’s job is to get students jobs. He works and interacts with employer partners to help them create internship programs, experiential learning and career opportunities for UNF students.
Micolucci asked Curry what his response was to the perception that today’s young adults are always on their phones, they’re on their computers, they’re not working as hard because they’re not going into the office.
“It’s a different type of work,” Curry said. “Students are able to get a lot done on their phone when it comes to work. A lot of opportunities are remote and allow students to get work done, you know, from the fields or from their living room. So I think it depends on the position. I think it depends on the applicant. So there’s still quality out there. Absolutely.”
He points out that some companies still prefer in-person, making going to work more of an experience than a job.
The CSI Companies in Jacksonville – which offer recruiting, IT, and staffing – immerse employees in an environment that includes massages, sports games, and concerts.
“We realize to retain them we got to keep it a fun setting,” said Kate Mays, COO of The CSI Companies. “Whether you take a break to go play pool or shuffleboard or to go down in the gym, go to the yoga session, it’s been a way for people to kind of get work done.”
Mays said in a competitive job market, offering perks has its perks.
“Oh, yeah. We’ve done a lot of employing engagement surveys and again it’s been through the roof recently, and it’s all the perks that we give back to employees. We’ve had dramatic success over the past couple years and our growth trajectory is through the roof, and we put it back to the culture,” she said.
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