Does Working Remotely Hurt Your Career?

What’s the Right In-Office Requirement for You?

In our marketing executive search business at MarketPro, we speak with candidates and companies every day. When it comes to the culture of the company, one of the first inquiries a candidate makes is about location. Is this a remote job? Can I work from home? Do they expect me in the office? If so, how often?

This was not a conversation we were having pre-pandemic. Professional marketers were expected to work in the office five days a week. Largely, there weren’t options to be remote or hybrid. It wasn’t a question because that’s just the way it was.

Once the door opened to location flexibility, employees flocked to the freedom that work-from-home provided. The benefits from an employee’s standpoint were huge. No commute which meant more time at home. More flexibility to get other things done on your schedule versus only after hours. And the big advantage, employees no longer felt tied to a geographical location to land (or hold) a job at a great company. Many employees flocked to areas that gave them a different pace of life, perhaps more sunshine, and possibly closer to family.

More Companies are Requiring Return to Office

Yet, currently, in our marketing executive search practice, we see the tide shifting back a bit which leaves some employees caught in a predicament. Many employees have relocated away from their primary office location and are now being told that they must come into the office at least a few days a week in a hybrid model.

This is perplexing to employees who have effectively been completing their work remotely. Some will argue that they should be able to continue to do so as their work has been effective. And they aren’t wrong.

But when we are speaking with candidates who are considering new roles with new companies, they often ask if they should push for a “remote / work-from-home” arrangement. Our answer: it depends on your career ambitions.

Does Working From Home Hurt Your Chances for Career Advancement?

If a company is fully remote, then the answering is a resounding ‘no’, your chances for advancement are not hurt at all. We have several clients that are fully remote and, while they have a physical office location, there are zero expectations that you go in or show up. Occasionally, they will have meetings there and people will fly in for a few days. These companies recruit for the best talent, regardless of location, and have navigated a way to effectively manage their business through videoconferencing.

However, if you work for a company that expects some in person attendance (whether full-time or hybrid model), and you are working fully remote, then you very well could be hurting your chances for advancement within the company.

The reason usually isn’t about productivity. The pandemic has shown many companies and individuals are very capable in doing work remotely.

Like it or not, however, people that are getting face-to-face time with executives above them will have an edge to those that don’t show up physically. It’s not the message employees want to hear but it is a reality.

The impromptu conversations, the in-person presentations, the discussions after the teleconferences have ended… they all add up to stronger interpersonal relationships which impact career growth.

The majority of companies are in a hybrid or in-office model. The fully remote option is becoming less attractive to companies who believe collaboration is a big part of their culture. And as companies look to “right-size” their organization in response to economic headwinds, this option will shrink even more.

If you love remote work, your choices boil down to this:

• If you want to advance your career, seek a company that has fully embraced remote work.

• If you are satisfied with your career level and aren’t looking for advancement or growth, then the remote option benefits outweigh any perceived benefit from being in the office. Stay remote and enjoy the lifestyle you have chosen.

The business climate is changing quickly, and these aren’t hard and fast rules. But they are indicative of what we are seeing in the marketplace and would be our projection as we head into 2023.

MarketPro Inc. is the leading high-end marketing executive search firm delivering top-performing innovative marketers. As a team of former marketing professionals, we are uniquely qualified to separate “A” players from everyone else. Celebrating our 26th year, we are a certified woman-owned business with headquarters in Atlanta and clients nationwide. Visit us on LinkedIn.

Author: Rob Collins, Principal, MarketPro