Episode 14: Remote work is the new signing bonus

by Yvonne Harris

In this episode of Welcome to the New Normal, we explore remote work – the new signing bonus.

Research shows that companies wooing future talent are more likely to get the people they want if they offer the possibility to work from home, even if it’s partial, and it’s even more important than the salary level on offer. But succeeding in the new paradigm requires a whole new set of foundational skills that leaders must foster and develop to make it work.

Tune in to the Welcome to the New Normal audio podcast now and follow along with the script below.


Are you looking for a change? A new company? A step up the career ladder? A completely new role?

And if so, what is the perk that’s most likely to tempt you over?

The easy answer might be A significant pay rise.

But there’s a new perk in town.

The ability to work remotely is now the “New Signing Bonus”, according to Marc Cenedella, CEO of high-end job-search site Ladders.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Cenedella said that “Instead of tempting the candidate with an extra $10,000 a year for signing on, the most persuasive argument is now:

‘Instead of having to commute 35 minutes every day, go to work, and get in your car and drive 35 minutes home, you can work from your home office all the time.’”

The WSJ quotes New York software engineer Matt Croak, who wasn’t looking to change his job.

But when he was head-hunted earlier this year, for a role that allowed him to work from home, the conditions of the offer changed his mind and he jumped at the chance.

The job at an eCommerce company means he broaden his professional horizons, but crucially it allows him to spend mornings reading in his living room in Brooklyn, instead of being crammed into a New York subway with all the other commuters for 45 minutes every morning and every evening.

The experience of lockdown had shown him that he could manage to work from home, with more time to pursue activities he liked…

And when lockdown ended, he really wasn’t ready to go back to the office. Probably never again.

As we’ve seen in previous episodes more American workers are quitting their jobs than at any time in at least 20 years.

A big factor is that companies are outlining their return-to-office plans in detail, with some expecting a 100% return.

Salesforce COO Bret Taylor told the WSJ that it’s now a buyers’ market for the best talent, and they can choose the conditions that they want.

He said, “There’s like a free market of the future of work and employees are choosing which path that they want to go on.”

This sentiment is supported by a poll I saw on LinkedIn, by LinkedIn News UK: Titled, what do you now consider the most attractive work perk?

The options were, working from home permanently or hybrid work, Additional leave, or a 10% salary bump, two-thirds of the 20,000 respondents chose working from home, well ahead of the 26% who’d want more money.


And yes, the shift in employees’ desire to work from home is reflected in more and more research. It’s an unstoppable trend.

A new research report from Accenture “The Future of Work: Productive Anywhere” found that 83% of employees say that a hybrid work model where they can work remotely between 25% and 75% of the time is optimal.

40% of employees said they could be just as productive – and happier, wherever they were based.

It’s not all one-way traffic out of the office, however. The study also shed some light on what motivates workers who want to go back to the office.

As we’ve seen before in this series, the two leading causes for people wanting to go back are easier access to technology and collaborating with colleagues, especially for younger employees, who want to actually meet people, form relationships, and start building their working relationships person-to-person.

According to the research, 74% of Gen-Zers want more in-person collaboration opportunities, whereas only 66% of GenXers and 68% of Baby Boomers said the same.


This week’s number is 56

That’s 56 “Deltas” that have been identified by McKinsey, that employees need to have for the future of work.

Wait, what’s a Delta?

Well, a “Delta” is McKinsey-speak for “foundational skills” — the skills are associated with a higher likelihood of employment, higher incomes, and job satisfaction in the future jobs market.

In identifying these so-called Deltas, McKinsey looked at the kind of jobs that will be lost, as well as those that will be created, as automation, AI, and robotics change the game on the jobs market.

What they found was that the need for manual and physical skills, as well as basic cognitive ones, will decline, but demand for technological, social, and emotional, and higher cognitive skills will grow.

So, what are the deltas identified by McKinsey?

Well, they break down into four categories: Cognitive, interpersonal, self-leadership, and digital.

Beneath these categories, there are too many specific ‘Deltas” to list in a podcast,

But here’s a taste:

under cognitive, we have skills like problem-solving, agile thinking, storytelling, and public speaking, creativity, and imagination.

Interpersonal skills include empathy, humility, conflict resolution…

Self-leadership means a degree of emotional awareness, optimism, grit, and persistence.

Do you have these skills? What do YOU think are the most important attributes for employees to have to succeed in our changing world?

Do let us know.

Thanks very much for tuning in. You can follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube for the latest news on the podcast, and don’t forget to subscribe to us on your favorite podcast streaming program.

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