can I apply for a temporarily remote job and then insist on remaining remote?

A reader writes:

A work friend and I are on the hunt to escape our hell office. I like remote working, was doing it for mental health reasons before the pandemic, and am trying to apply to permanently remote positions in my field. My work buddy (who was also working remotely before COVID for health reasons) is including “remote during COVID” positions in her job hunt and plans on insisting to be kept remote if there’s any pushback. To be clear: we work in social media and the kind of stuff we do is entirely digital — so, any listing that asks for in-office work strikes me as as boomertastically out-of-touch.

I realize our situations are unique in that we may be able to negotiate remote work by requesting an ADA accommodation (I don’t really want to deal with that, hence why I’m going for perma-remote jobs), but I know my work friend isn’t alone in her line of thought. On one hand, I think “good” because it will put pressure on companies to get with the times, but on the other hand I see how it can be a bit of a gamble. So, what are your thoughts? Is it a bad idea to apply for “temporarily remote” jobs with the intention of staying remote?

Yes, it’s a bad idea. It’s not just a bit of a gamble; there’s a very good chance you’ll be told you need to work from the office as was stipulated up-front when you applied and if you don’t do that, they’ll simply stop employing you.

It’s naive for anyone to think they can just demand it and the company will have to give in. In a lot of cases they wouldn’t budge, especially for a new-ish hire. If you have a lot of leverage (in-demand skills, impressive experience, political capital) … maybe in some cases but still not definitely. And even if they did give in, it might not be the win it seems like; it could use up most or all of your capital, with very little grace extended to you after that, which is not a great position to be in.

And of course, it’s operating in bad faith to take a job knowing you don’t intend to fulfill its clearly stated requirements, but it sounds like your friend might not be terribly concerned about that.

I also wouldn’t assume that you know better than a company you’ve never worked at that they can’t have good cause for wanting the role eventually back on-site. Even jobs where the primary responsibilities are digital can still benefit from having regular in-person contact with colleagues — for training, mentoring, ad hoc brainstorming, and all sorts of other things.

Let me be clear: I fully support remote work when it makes sense for a role, and I’m thrilled that companies are becoming so much more open to it. I work from home and love it and am sympathetic to anyone who wants to stay remote. But there are drawbacks to having remote employees too, ones that are sometimes clearer when you look at a team as a whole rather than an individual role, and you don’t have enough grounding in their context to dismiss those drawbacks out of hand when you don’t even work there. Preferring employees to be in-person isn’t always an indicator that a company is behind the times. Sometimes it’s BS. Sometimes it’s not. Assuming it’s all just “boomertastically out-of-touch” is frankly pretty naive!

If you want to stay remote, apply for permanently remote jobs. Don’t apply under false pretenses to one that isn’t and assume you’ll be able to force the employer to keep it that way.

(ADA accommodations are a whole different thing, but even then employers aren’t required to give you the accommodation you ask for if they find another accommodation that would work.)

{ 444 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    I know that “boomertastically” has touched a nerve for some people, but I’m going to ask that the conversation move on from that because it’s become derailing.

    As I wrote below, I’m not a fan of generational generalizations (and I think this one is particularly naive, as I wrote in the post), but the letter-writer is speaking to a group that has a lot more power than the age group I’m guessing she’s in. She’s punching up toward a group with more power and privilege (as a whole) that has done damage to her own group (as a whole). In the context she’s speaking in, it’s pushback on that. (You may disagree, of course, but that’s the moderation decision regardless.)

  2. Xavier Desmond*

    I don’t think it’s a good mindset to be a relatively new employee and think you are able to insist on working remotely permanently.

    1. EPLawyer*

      THIS. No matter how much you think well they won’t want to take the time to train someone one new so they will just give in, it doesn’t make it so. A company might just cut their losses rather than put up with a problem employee. Which is what you will be.

    2. TWW*

      I understand why people want to WFH, but I don’t know why anyone would want to WFH for an employer who would prefer you didn’t. It seems like WFH would only work well when both parties enthusiastically agree to it.

      1. Dumpster Fire*

        This. I’d also expect that a company that says “return to the office” and grudgingly says “ok, you can stay home” would not be likely to promote that person who’s staying home, or give them the more desirable projects or perks that in-the-office employees get.

        1. Anon for this*

          Very much this. I’m now applying to positions that are exclusively remote work only, because I don’t want to go back into the office at all. If I have to move heaven and earth to persuade them I’m worth hiring as a remote worker, I’d have to do it all over again for a promotion. Like I don’t mind working hard for a promotion, that’s a given, but I don’t want to set the bar for success so artificially high as to be unattainable.

        2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          And of course, if they only give in to OP on a basis of “well she started as a WFH and wants to stay at home, plenty of experienced workers will be jealous.

          Also OP, bear in mind that for a lot of people it’s a matter of out of sight out of mind. When I was working in Paris, with most of the people in charge of sending me work in a different city, I often had to remind them of my existence. I would get all sorts of important, time-sensitive emails rather late, basically at the point where people started wondering why I hadn’t yet answered, then realising I hadn’t been included among the recipients of the email. They didn’t even bother to disguise the fact that I’d been forgotten, in that they simply forwarded the email with a “sorry this is getting urgent now please let me know asap”, barely acknowledging their mistake and putting pressure on me. All rather unpleasant, and I never got to enjoy the various perks of working at head office either.

          I also had to badger people for work, and lost out on some interesting opportunities because someone had a tantrum when I couldn’t fit in her project. They had a meeting to discuss my work because of the tantrum, and they made some arbitrary ruling that meant I would no longer get big projects. Had I been allowed to attend the meeting about my own work, I could have explained certain things, but I wasn’t even aware they were discussing it. I’m pretty sure I’d have been aware of all that hoo-ha had I been in the office with the other staff.
          No longer being given the big projects basically led to my productivity dwindling, because of there being more down-time in between the smaller ones, so I got into trouble for that for no fault of my own.
          Glad to be out of there!

          1. Lucious*

            Setting aside the productivity debate, your post touches on a pragmatic reality: human beings typically value other humans they physically see over ones they don’t. In some workplaces even if WFH is on the table , it may be wiser to work on-site.

            1. Chantel*

              >human beings typically value other humans they physically see over ones they don’t.

              Really? Is this documented somewhere?

              1. allathian*

                It’s the classic out of sight, out of mind mentality. Remembering the perma-remote employee you’ve never met in person is harder than remembering those who work in the same office. But I do think it’s more a matter of remembering them rather than valuing them as such.

                My team has always had one or two employees who work in a regional office while most of the team, myself included, are at the main office. I think it was in 2018 when we decided to have the vast majority of our weekly meetings on Skype, with one meeting each quarter in person, which would involve travel for the two regional employees. The Skype meetings put everyone on an equal footing, while it was obvious that the employees who were calling in had to work harder to be heard than those who were in person. Hybrid meetings can be done, but leading one so that everyone gets a chance to have their say on an equal footing is harder than leading a meeting where everyone is in person or a virtual meeting. That said, being in the same Skype meeting with someone who sits in the next cubicle is weird, because there’s a noticeable lag of about 0.5 seconds on Skype.

                1. selena*

                  I hope that in the future hybrid work will be the norm for office jobs: going to the office only 1-2 days a week. With all the important team-meetings scheduled when everyone is physically present.
                  Because hybrid meetings tend to be a drag on the person calling in: attendees have a tendency to focus much more on the people that are with them in the room, and over the course of many meetings that adds up to less opportunities for the remote workers.

              2. Lecturer*

                Yes. There is extensive research showing that we are much more likely to be friends with someone that is in close proximity to us. Think about a workplace with different floors. Those on the same floor will interact much more with each other than those on a different floor.

      2. TiredMama*

        I think that’s part of the question. Is it worth it to try to push the WFH norm? It seems to me there will never be a better time – when so many companies have moved their workforce, so many people are talking about it, and companies maybe looking for ways to keep operating costs down.

        1. NerdyKris*

          Not as a brand new employee with no concept of what the job entails or what problems work from home might be causing.

        2. MK*

          If you want to push work from home, you need to be able to make a case for it. You can’t make a case for it if you don’t know what you are talking about, like someone who hasn’t even worked for the company yet.

          Even as a seasoned employee, you would probably need to do a lot of research (with clients about whether the service they have been receiving is up tomoar, with coworkers who might have been burdened by others’ wfh etc) to make a case for wfh being a viable solution (and no, the last year+ hasn’t “proved” that, all it has proved is that people make do when there is no other option).

        3. twocents*

          I would be VERY surprised if the newbie was the best person to do it. If the office doesn’t have a good reason to require coming, almost certainly there are existing staff that are already trying to keep WFH.

          1. selena*

            Exactly: the new hire won’t be the first person in the company who has thought about WFH.
            So if it’s not allowed there must be reasons (those might be bad reasons, but the newbie has the least amount of capital to question those reasons)

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I would even expand on that– it’s not a good mindset to be a new employee and expect to make big policy/cultural changes immediately (unless you’re hired for that purpose, of course). It’s like wearing jeans in a suit-and-tie environment– you may prefer the jeans, but that doesn’t mean you should show up in them on your first day if you’ve been given a dress code you’re expected to adhere to.

      1. anonymouse*

        This is my first thought, a comparison of:
        Yes, the Wakeen Lllama Rentals has a business casual dress code, with no detail, but people wore khakis and button down shirts. Well, they went casual-dress during COVID because, well COVID. But now that restrictions are lifted, although business is still limited to curbside llama loans, you can’t keep wearing jeans and t shirts.
        It’s not about the clothing, it’s about a return to normalcy and then seeing what shakes out. Maybe things will change permanently, if they determine there are actual benefits to the company.
        Again, clothing is just a lame example I could come up with. I’m sure there are actual examples others have that will show benefits to employees/management.
        And what about the opposite of this:
        What if people who like coming in like it better with fewer people? Has anyone asked them? They seem to be underrepresented, but I bet there are a few.

      2. AnonRonRon*

        Yep. I love remote work, but this sounds like that infamous letter from the summer interns who tried to change the dress code. Plus going into a new job under false pretenses, which is either going to burn a bridge or haunt you for the rest of your time at the company, assuming you don’t fired.

          1. anonymouse*

            I spent far too much time after writing this post, composing plans for the the Bailey Brothers Llama Loan Company.

        1. Emily*

          My first thought was of the summer interns who tried to change the dress code as well. I hope LW and their work colleague have major attitude adjustments because to approach a new job thinking you know better than the place you are working and immediately try to change things is not a recipe for success.

      3. selena*

        That was where my mind was going as well: unless you are specifically hired to make changes you should expect things to stay as they are (wfh, benefits, amount of meetings, the technologies that you have access to)

    4. NerdyKris*

      And most employers are just going to be like “Well you lied during the interview and you’re refusing the direction to come into the office so you’re being fired for insubordination. Good luck on getting unemployment for what is essentially job abandonment.” Maybe if they’re nice they’ll call it a resignation.

      We already had to let someone go and it completely screwed me over because they were supposed to take on some of my many duties that require being on site. Both that person and the other fully remote person have pretty much been useless for our department, because even though 90% of IT can be done remotely, the remaining 10% needs immediate on site response.

      1. NerdyKris*

        “lied during the interview”
        Assuming they ask if you’re aware the position won’t stay remote.

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          Lying by omission, by not saying you want WFH to be permanent, is still pretty shady IMHO.

        2. anonymouse*

          Lied is a strong word, and I don’t think the phrase “sin of omission” would be appropriate in a work situation. But I think that if someone applies for a job posted as WFH during COVID, interviews and is hired and then states, I want to work from home permanently, there can and should be a discussion.
          Company: “We are not set up for/comfortable with that and will not be continuing that.”
          New Hire: Is that something that will change?
          Company: No.
          New Hire: Then I have to leave.
          Company: we stated in the ad that it was only during COVID.
          New Hire: yes, but…
          So no, new hire didn’t lie, but rather kicked an uncomfortable situation down the road.

          1. Susana*

            Yes, but that is still so disingenuous that I wold provide a very poor job reference if the individual resigned rather than come into the office. And even if said person DID come into the office, s/he would need to spend some time rebuilding trust with me.

        3. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          Yea, we know mala fide because of the LW. All the employer will know is that one detail about the job changed and LW’s friend is abandoning the job instead of complying.

      2. Emily*

        Yep, we’re currently hiring for a position that cannot be done remotely and that was made clear in the job posting and one of the interview questions also explained that the position had to be done fully at the office and the interviewee had to confirm whether or not they could do that. If someone said in the interview that they could work at the office, but then was hired and said they wanted to work from home, they would just be let go. The position has to be done at the office (think receptionist type role) and could not be done remotely, and we had over 300 applications after only having the job posted for a few days, so why would we waste time with someone who was not honest when we have plenty of other choices.

        1. SnowyRose*

          Same! For us, it’s even part of the initial screening questions when they submit their resume. We state up front this is not remote/WFH and will be required to return to the office. During the phone screens it’s reiterated and HR gives them an over of the RTO plan and expected dates. Reiterated in interviews and the weekly RTO staff updates. We still just had to let a few people go because they thought we would change our minds and let them stay remote. (One thought we were kidding!)

          1. allathian*

            Oh dear, I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with such obtuse individuals. Oh well, at least you’re being honest about your impending RTO both in your ads and during the interview process, and aren’t doing a bait-and-switch like some companies that say they’re hiring remote employees and then tell them to come to the office.

    5. Zennish*

      A good rule of thumb in the work world is that the answer to “Can I insist my company do X?” is “No, not if you enjoy employment.” You can ask, you can state a strong preference, but normally, you can’t insist.

      Many employers would let you go if you took a position with stated terms of employment, then refused to fulfill them. If you’re not going to hold to basic stuff like that, they’ll be very concerned about what else you’ll have a problem with.

  3. Mental Lentil*

    Still trying to wrap my mind around “boomertastically”. That’s rather ageist.

    1. D3*

      But also…..I know exactly what she means by it. And I’ve experienced it. The “we are the greatest generation and our way is the only way” approach. I thought the word was pretty descriptive of a common attitude.

      1. KHB*

        I don’t think that attitude is unique to Boomers, though. I (a late Gen-Xer) see it a lot among younger people too. I think there’s a part of every generation that assumes that neither their parents nor their children can possibly have anything to teach them.

        1. Anononon*

          Yeah, I find it amusing because “the greatest generation” was the generation pre-Boomers.

        2. SheLooksFamiliar*

          Thank you for this. I’m a Boomer who fully supports WFH whenever possible, and I am not the minority in my field or function. And my 26-year-old nephew is very social and loves being in the office. Go figure.

          So yeah, I bristle a bit when I read anything that smacks of ‘Okay, Boomer.’ I also bristle when people talk about Gen X, Gen Y, and/or Millenials in terms of ‘These darn kids today…’ Let’s please stop labeling.

      2. StudentA*

        You can apply this “ism” justification to many others, if you wanted to. It just so happens that ageism is not the taboo that other isms are in 2021. Remember that what we consider discriminatory now was accepted as “eh, I know what you mean” about other groups of people. If you don’t want that attitude applied to other groups, let’s not allow it to be slapped onto boomers, just because it’s more accepted these days. It’s messed up.

        1. Shortenedfortime*

          But those groups are historically marginalized, unlike Boomers, who, as a demographic, are wealthier and hold more power currently than other generations. As Alison says, this is punching up, not down.

      3. Anon for this*

        I think the description also applies to the bosses that want to see people still dressed up in the office too, even though there are no clients or opposing parties or anything like that coming in. It is just the employees occasionally seeing each other in the halls but they still want a business vibe. LAME.

        1. purlgurly*

          Just a note that “lame” is commonly considered to be an ableist descriptor (as it equates a mobility impairment with something bad or wrong), and it’s preferable to avoid.

    2. Hummer on the Hill*

      Yeppers. I’m 68 and have been working remotely for over a decade. (Tech writer) Feathers kinda ruffled here.

      1. Fran Fine*

        They shouldn’t be though. As S said below, this was a reference to a mindset. Yours is different because you’re in a role that is pretty well-suited to remote work, so of course that doesn’t apply to you. If it doesn’t apply, let it fly because there are people who have been in the workforce for ages who aren’t in roles that were tailor-made for remote work who, even after seeing that parts of the work can be done from home, still don’t like it and prefer butts in seat because it’s familiar.

      2. Hummer on the Hill*

        Now that I’m a bit more caffeinated, let me add that the OP and their friend might be well-served by not approaching a series of job interviews with age biases.

      1. StudentA*

        She is clearly referring to an age group. Boomers are an age group, a demographic. It’s ageist. No ifs or buts about it.

      2. Observer*

        Sorry, that doesn’t fly. It’s a specifically age related term. And it’s especially egregious for someone who is supposed to be a communications professional. If they don’t understand the implications of the words they use, they are incompetent.

      3. TypityTypeType*

        Then LW ought to refer to a mindset and not an age group, if that is what LW intended. “I don’t mean YOU, I just mean … most people like you” isn’t a great improvement.

        Ageism is offensive — no matter who it’s directed toward.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I’m not a fan of generational generalizations (and I think this one is particularly naive, as I wrote in the post), but she’s speaking to a group that has a lot more power than the age group I’m guessing she’s in. She’s punching up toward a group with more power (as a whole) that has done damage to her own group (as a whole). She’s wrong about the point she’s making, but I wouldn’t dismiss it as just ageist.

      1. Respectfully, Pumat Sol*

        Thank you for acknowledging this, Alison. These defensive comments have an air of “#NotAll__” about them.

        1. Jennifer*

          I agree. It’s kind of similar to the pushback people get when they discuss white privilege. Obviously not every white person on the planet is privileged, and not all behave the same way, but they are discussing the group as a whole, not every individual. It’s frustrating to have to deal with all the #notall___ comments from people who chose to get their feathers ruffled. instead of discussing the issue at hand. Not making this about race, just using it as an example.

      2. Fran Fine*

        She’s wrong about the point she’s making, but I wouldn’t dismiss it as just ageist.

        Yup, agreed. While I am all about remote work having done it successfully now for two years, I will grudgingly admit that there are things that are just easier to do with my team in person than when I’m at home (and my current position is a writing-based role, which you can do pretty much anywhere as long as you have a computer and internet connection).

    4. Greige*

      Same. Also not loving the idea of trying to get a position with a company when you already don’t respect the management.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Eh, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not respecting a company’s management and still wanting to get a job there (see, for example, the discussion last week about the anti-capitalists working at a brokerage firm — people have got to eat).

      2. Chairman of the Bored*

        I’ve had plenty of good job experiences at places where I didn’t respect the management. My last job was a good example.

        The upper level bosses were largely self-important goons who caused more problems then then solved; but they thought they were world-class geniuses. In fact they were just skating by on the good work done by prior management.

        Despite that, I still got paid to do enjoyable and interesting work; so from my perspective it worked out great.

        I actually left that place for another organization that I knew was just as incompetently run. This is also just fine, if anything it gives me more freedom since there’s no real oversight.

        I wouldn’t let my a of respect for management prevent me from applying to an otherwise-appealing job. In the end this whole “work” thing is just a hustle to get paid.

    5. Person from the Resume*

      I agree that’s an unnecessary insult in an otherwise reasonable email.

      I think it impressively out of touch to assume that you know that the job you’re apply for in a company that you do not work for can be done remote full-time with no other knowledge.

      I’ve worked from home full time for 6+ years now. I still acknowledge was is lost by not being face-to-face with colleagues. WFH is better for me and there’s probably more benefits for the company than not, but still to deny that there are tradeoffs is very much out of touch.

      Also better for the employee is not necessarily better for the company.

    6. UKgreen*

      See, ‘boomertastically’ reminded me vividly of the terrible pop song ‘Boombastic’ by Shaggy and now I shall be plagued by it as an earworm for the rest of the evening…

  4. D3*

    I’m also looking for a permanently remote job, and I am seriously frustrated with the number of “remote for another month and then in (location)” jobs that are clogging up the “remote” filters in job searches. It’s at least 75% of the jobs advertised as remote right now.
    So I get the temptation. If they’re advertising the job as remote, we should be able to hold them to it, right? I know it doesn’t work that way, but I wish it was possible!

    1. A Girl Named Fred*

      I think this is a valid critique/frustration, especially when the “remote until X date” language is buried in the ad you’ve already spent time reading. Still doesn’t make applying for it and then demanding full-time remote a good idea, but I definitely get wishing it worked both ways like that!

    2. Clisby*

      ? If the job is clearly advertised as “remote for another month and then [in another location]”, then it’s not a permanently remote job. Even if you could hold them to the terms of the advertisement, those terms are one month remote, on-site after that.

      1. D3*

        My frustration is that these jobs are flagged as permanently remote in the ads. So I filter for remote jobs and 75% of them are…..misleading and not really remote.
        If this is not a permanently remote job, companies should NOT be labeling them as remote jobs.
        Companies are misleading about jobs being remote, so I get being frustrated by that and wanting to turn it around.

        1. Fran Fine*

          Yeah, it would be better if they put the actual office location on the job ad and then a bolded line at the top that says something like, “This position will be remote due to COVID-19 for X more weeks/months. You will need to be in the office once we fully reopen on X date.”

        2. StudentA*

          I see the same issue and I think the problem is with the Indeeds and LinkedIns out there. It wouldn’t be the only user experience issue. I’ve noticed that these platforms get locations wrong all the time–states, etc. Something with aggregation?

          The employer is letting would-be applicants know that they can simply work from home for a little while. That is good info to have.

          1. ElleKay*

            +1 This.
            Most of this is a produce of LinkedIn/Indeed/etc.’s filters and/or a hard-to-fill out system on the employer’s end

        3. Jennifer*

          It would be nice if these job sites had different filters for temporarily remote and permanently remote.

          1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

            It’d be nice, but who saw Covid coming and what jobs were “temporarily remote” five years ago?

            Now that this has happened, I think “temporarily remote” gets baked into the next generation of job-opening databases, but what we have today is what we were prepared for 5-10 years ago when these were being designed.

            1. Jennifer*

              Is it that hard to add another category? I don’t have an IT background but I don’t think it would be that difficult.

              1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

                Code is malleable, but changing tables in databases tends to be more problematic. Trapping every scenario where that new column can be called before it’s populated (so the page or application does not crash) is time consuming at best–and defaulting all the existing entries to “false” carries its own problems (namely the problem you have now, where the label isn’t reliable).

                Obviously I’m speaking in generalities because I don’t work at LinkedIn, Monster, Dice, etc. Their specific implementations may involve further complications. Even if the feature could be brought to market in 3 months (which is probably a breakneck pace), it’d still take months if not over a year to reach the tipping point where it’s more reliable than not by positions aging out or being filled.

                If it were a paper form and manually processed, another checkbox would be easy.

                1. Hare under the moon with a silver spoon*

                  Thanks for explaining this as I had the same question and was with my limited coding skills wondering :)

      2. AndersonDarling*

        What’s stranger is that I applied for some roles that turned out to be remote even though they were advertised as local.

      3. Anoni*

        I have been seeing a lot of companies put “Temporary Remote” and “Remote For Now” in their ads, which is the way it should be. D3 seems to be running into a lot of positions that are tagged remote, which implies permanently remote when they’re not.

    3. Beka Cooper*

      It’s especially annoying on job boards that are specifically meant to help you find remote work. I paid for a few months membership on one of those boards, and it’s kind of annoying that not all the jobs will actually be remote!

    4. MK*

      They aren’t advertising the job as remote. They very specifically advertising it as not-remote, except for the first month.

      1. Threeve*

        But they’re clicking the box to mark the job “remote” when they post, and sometimes including the location only in the actual job description, which means it shows up when you’re specifically searching for true remote jobs and you actually have to open the post to find out that it isn’t actually a remote job. They aren’t being deceptive, but they are being slightly annoying.

      2. D3*

        Yes, they are. They are listing them with tags for remote work, or on job boards that are *specifically* for remote work only.

        1. Tired of Covid-and People*

          You should provide this feedback to the job board in question. The employer isn’t really misleading though, if the job is presently remote.

          1. fhqwhgads*

            I disagree. The purpose of that checkbox on listings is to the indicate that the job in general is remote. Not “remote for now because of good reason”. The employer checking the box is doing a misleading thing if they know the position is not a fully remote position. “Presently remote” should be a caveat on the listing which indicates it is an in-person job, not the other way around.

            1. Triplestep*

              Yes, I don’t understand what the confusion is here. Do people not realize that job boards are giant databases and user’s sesrches apply filters? If you’re an employer filling out an online form to post a job and you click “Remote”, your job post comes up in searches for remote jobs. If the job is not remote it’s annoying to job searchers and a bit misleading. Describing the “not remote” status in the job description does not make it less annoying.

        2. AvonLady Barksdale*

          You’re not wrong, and I agree that it stinks (it really frustrated me during my job search) but that’s one more reason why it’s really important to either thoroughly read the posting or ask during a phone screen. And I know that feels like a waste of time. But I do believe that algorithms and auto-tagging have a lot to do with this.

          1. joss*

            “one more reason why it’s really important to either thoroughly read the posting”? Don’t you think thoroughly reading a job posting is a requirement before deciding to apply for a job? I know that you would not get past a first round of interviews with me, unless you had some unbelievable rare skills, with me if I found out that you did not even bother to carefully read what I had posted about the job. That might just be my reaction of course but somehow I don’t think so.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Eh, it’s become really common for candidates to ask about remote work as long as they raise it early on. It’s okay for candidates to ask if there’s any flexibility on X, as long as they ask if early on if it’s a deal-breaker. These are conversations.

              1. MCMonkeybean*

                That was my question–is it okay to apply for these positions and then ask during the interview process whether they would consider remote work permanently.

            2. EchoGirl*

              I think the bigger issue with the boards in general is having to dig through all the ads for not-really-remote jobs, sometimes reading through them before you find out, just to try and find the hidden gem of what you’re actually looking for. It might not seem like a big thing but it would add up.

          2. Hundredthlion*

            Come on now. It’s not auto tagging that is the problem. At least not 9/10 times. If you haven’t been actively looking in the past year then don’t give the benefit of the doubt where it’s not owed. Most of these are purposely being tossed in the remote tag on purpose. They want to get the most people seeing the post as possible and they are purposely tossing it under remote because they can say “well it IS remote for a few weeks…”

        3. Kaiko*

          I’d love to know which job boards are for remote work only, if you’re open to sharing.

        4. CocoB*

          Unfortunately, some of the job posting platforms don’t have enough specific options. For instance, I posted for a position that at this time is remote only in the geographic area of the organization. I selected remote, but had to put the details in the job details area… And, many people do not read detail, so I ended up with a bunch of applicants from out of state. It can be just as irritating to the employer.

          1. Pickled Limes*

            If the job has to be done in a specific geographic area, why list it as remote at all? You can say in the job description that it can be done remotely, but you don’t have to post it as remote if it’s only open to people who live in a certain place.

            1. metadata minion*

              This sounds like it’s as legitimately work-from-home job, just not work from home from anywhere. Plenty of companies can’t hire international remote employees because taxes get weird, and it’s not uncommon for state or city government-funded positions to require that you live in the jurisdiction.

            2. AcademiaNut*

              There’s definitely a category for jobs that can be done remotely, but the person needs to be living in the same state as the company (for all the complicated financial/legal reasons), or where the job can be remote in the day to day, but the person needs to be able to come into the office on occasion. Applicants would be equally annoyed to be applying for in person jobs, and getting responses where they were required to work at home except for the occasional public event, training, or meeting.

              Really, the categories could be

              – full time in office
              – mostly in office, with some ability for remote work
              – mostly remote, with some need to come into the office
              – fully remote, must be living in a specific state
              – fully remote, any state
              – fully remote, can work from outside the country

              However, as others have said, it’s going to take time for the database schemas and search functions to catch up and become uniform.

      3. Filosofickle*

        But in a way they are advertising the jobs as remote! They code the job listing is as “remote” so when I click the filter to show me only remote jobs, that listing shows up. It’s really frustrating to do a search and find the majority of the results are not actually relevant. They’re being honest in the listing itself, but misusing the headline / tags.

      4. Anoni*

        Except they are. It would probably be best not to tell someone who is experiencing the exact thing they said they’re experiencing that it isn’t happening.

        1. MK*

          I am not commenting on anyone’s experience, I am commenting on what they wrote, taking it at face value. If a job is advertised as “remote for the first month, then in-house”, as the comment said, it is not advertised as remote. If the company is tagging it as remote and clogging the search results of people looking for only remote work, that sucks, though it sounds more like an issue with the site to me. But it still isn’t advertised as remote.

          And in any case, “false advertising” still doesn’t entitle you to change the nature of the offer. If I list a toy car in a car sales site, the listing would be taken down, but I won’t be forced to sell someone a real car. If you apply for a job that clearly states it’s temporarily remote, you aren’t likely to keep it remote because the company tagged the ad incorrectly.

          1. D3*

            No, you were commenting on my experiences, because that’s what I wrote about. My experiences. And you’re trying to gaslight me. So just stop it.
            And I never said I said anyone was entitled to change an offer. I said that isn’t at all how it works.
            What I said was that I understand the impulse to take those jobs and then try to stay remote, given the way job listings DO bait and switch.

            1. Susana*

              D3, I totally get why it’s frustrating to see an ad for “remote,” then learn it’s only remote for awhile (like getting an airfare, then finding out it’s $60 more with fees!). But if the non-remoteness factor is made clear once you make contact with them, it’s not so much deceptive as annoying. And yes, totally annoying.

    5. CmdrShepard4ever*

      If the company is being truthful there is nothing to hold the company to. “Remote for now,” does not mean “remote for ever.” I can understand the frustration but it is better that companies are upfront about things rather than advertise the position as just “remote” but in 2/3 months insist of being back in the office with the idea that the position was 100% remote at the time it was advertised but now it is time to come back, or if the position is advertised as in person only, but would really be done remotely for now due to covid, it could deter some people from applying because they are still concerned about covid and think they would have to go in right away.

      1. D3*

        When they choose to tag it as fully remote instead of listing it as location based then yes, they are not being truthful.
        I’ve had some where I read the entire listing multiple times, researched the company, created a customized resume, wrote a cover letter, filled out several screens worth of questions, only to get to the final screen in the application process and find a question that says “I understand this job is only remote through July 2021 and that after this date I will be reporting to (city 2000 miles away)”

      2. Anoni*

        Y’all seem to be struggling with what D3 is talking about. They are saying that when a post is made, the poster chooses the tag “remote” in the posting, which then lists it as a remote (read: permanently remote) position when what the company means is it’s temporarily remote. That is misleading and while it might be unintentional, it creates an expectation for people looking for specifically remote work.

        1. CmdrShepard4ever*

          In the situation D3 mentioned above waiting till the end of the application process to mention that the position is only remote for a short while longer I agree the company is being crappy. Companies should be upfront about remote work being temporary from the beginning in the job posting.

          In some situations it might not be entirely the companies fault, is the poster actually the one that tags the company with the “remote” tag or is it the job board itself that applies the tag based on keyword search of the job description and picking up on the “remote” part of “remote for another two months then in the office”, does the job board have tags for “temporarily remote, hybrid/partially remote, and permanently remote” or is the only option “remote.” If I were looking for a job right now, I would want a position that is normally in the office, but is remote right now due to Covid, so if a position was not flagged/marked as remote at all, I would likely skip it and miss out on a position that I would have taken if they mentioned remote for now.

          1. Hundredthlion*

            Do you truly think companies are posting on a big platform and leaving it up to the website database gods to select the tag for them? I can’t imagine that being a system that would survive – there is FAR too much room for error in a scenario like that, and you’d see all kinds of posting errors outside of remote vs in office.

    6. Two Chairs, One to Go*

      Same. I think it’s a bit harder to find a remote job right now – not just the search filers like you mentioned, but I think more people are looking for remote work.

      I do agree with Alison’s advice. Personally I’m not going to apply to something that requires office work in a few months – because then I’d be searching again when I had to start commuting!

    7. straws*

      Yeah, this is annoying from both sides in some cases. We were recently hiring, are currently working remote, and will likely return hybrid when we do go back. We’re not hiring as a remote job, but we do specify remote-during-covid in our job description… which is promptly picked up by the websites we’re posting on and tagged to our position. Thankfully Indeed at least has updated to a “Temporarily remote” tag, but near the beginning that wasn’t the case.

    8. CoveredInBees*

      Same! Because of my current childcare situation, only very nearby jobs that have some flexibility or remote jobs are the only ones I can apply for in good faith. It is so frustrating.

    9. Gan Ainm*

      Fwiw it might be worth interviewing anyway (if there’s a role that looks like a particularly good fit) and asking if it’s possible to be fully /mostly remote permanently, because right now a ton of companies are trying to figure out their permanent wfh plans. My company has “temporarily remote for COVID” on their job listings when in reality we’re midway through the process of making almost all employees fully remote.

      Updating job listings is really low priority and they they haven’t figured out how it will all work (do we want people near one of our major sites? Or anywhere? Is it up to the manager? Is there an impact on salary depending on geography? What if we need occasional in person meetings and the person doesn’t live near the office, who pays for travel?). It’s going to take several months or longer to sorry through these decisions and update our policies (we are a massive company) so in the meantime everything is “temp remote”.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        This does sound very reasonable. It’s not what the LW’s friend plans to do, though.

    10. Smithy*

      This kind of frustration reminds me of a period in a job search when I felt like I was being regularly stymied by language demands in job applications. In practice, I knew those “must haves” were just not 100% and felt like I was being punished for honestly applying to jobs where I had all of the required languages. Whereas there were others gaming the system by fluffing their language skills, getting the jobs, and doing fine – because they weren’t really necessary to begin with.

      While it was 100% true that those scenarios were happening, it was also 100% true that I was never going to know by just reading the job application. If after networking/asking around I didn’t get more information – I really did have to let it go.

    11. SchuylerSeestra*

      Sometimes it’s the configuration in the ATS or job boards. My companies jobs are permanently remote, but location specific. Our ATS lets us select remote/location, but there are a lot of job boards that don’t. Ex. I post on Creative Mornings. It gives me the option to post remote or location. Not both.

      There are also 3rd party sites that aggregate information from other job boards leading to inaccurate information. Like wrong location, job titles, even jobs that are no longer

      1. Hundredthlion*

        In a situation like that though – it would make MUCH more sense for them to flag it as a location, and note in the description that it is temporarily remote. That would be the logical thing to do if the intention is for the role to only be remote for another month, because the job WILL be primarily in office. Lots of companies hire recruiters to do this sort of thing, and I have a hard time believing that those people aren’t doing it on purpose knowing that so many people are looking for remote work which means their postings will be seen by the most people.

    12. KuklaRed*

      I understand your frustration. When I was looking for a Training Manager position, sites could not (and still cannot) distinguish between Training Manager roles and Manager in Training roles. Makes me so frustrated.

    13. Generic-username*

      Agree! How have LinkedIn/Glassdoor/Indeed/etc not created a “remote for COVD” button for job listings so that when a company picks remote it is actually remote? It’s so annoying…..

      1. Aitch Arr*

        In LinkedIn as a recruiter/job poster, even if you check ‘remote’, it still makes you put in a location, so it says ‘remote in Llama Falls, CA’ or ‘remote in Greater San Francisco’ or ‘remote in United States.’

        Many of the open jobs my company has are either remote in some states in the US (where we have nexus but don’t have an office) or not remote if in the metro areas where we have offices. And everything is remote at least until the end of 2021 and possibly longer (permanently)…

        So figuring out what to put for ‘remote’ in LinkedIn postings have been a challenge.

        We do include in the posting “this job is currently remote at least through 2021 due to COVID-19”

    14. Software Engineer*

      That sounds like a limitation of the job searching site (does it have a way to search for ‘remote during covid?’ Its been 17 months, seems like something you’d want to add by now!) more than attempts to be shady by the company. When you have only two options to pick and neither one quite applies it’s going to be arbitrary and inconsistent which one is picked

      It does sound really frustrating though and I can imagine it creating a lot of PITA to weed through

  5. Dust Bunny*

    any listing that asks for in-office work strikes me as as boomertastically out-of-touch

    I think you need to check this mindset at the door.

    How badly do you want to get out of your Hell office? Because my grandmother used to say, “You can have anything you want, you just can’t have everything you want.” If you’re that desperate to get out, don’t shoot yourself in the foot by refusing to compromise on a wish list.

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      Oof, yeah, this is not a good look OP.

      Just because most things can be done remote doesn’t mean it’s out of touch or “boomertastic” to want people in the office occasionally.

      1. CmdrShepard4ever*

        I agree some jobs can be done remote, in a way that is acceptable in a crisis/emergency, but in person collaboration, feed back, brainstorming leads to better results 9 times out of 10.

        90% of my job can be done remote at about 80/90% effectiveness if everyone if fully remote, but being in person does lead to better results I would say. Being able to pop in and discuss various things is a lot easier in person than dropping a line on slack back and forth, or even jumping on a video call. I don’t think my job needs to be 100% in the office, a permanent hybrid of 3 days in office 2 days remote could bring the effectiveness up to 100%, or remote as needed basis.

        1. NotJane*

          Also, even if the new company had no issue allowing OP to remain 100% remote, if she’s the only one not coming into the office, I think that would put her at a disadvantage, for all the reasons you mentioned.

      2. Angela*

        Creative work in particular usually benefits a lot from in-person brainstorming and flexible communication. Social Media is still a part of that.

      3. Susana*

        Also.. not everything can be done remotely, or done best remotely.
        We’ve been, as a nation, incredibly productive, working from home during the pandemic – to the point where many of us are getting burned out. But I think the adde is true that people are often more productive from home, bit more creative when with others at the office.
        At any rate – LW, if you haven’t even been working there yet, you’re not really best positioned to determine if remote work would be appropriate.

        1. AcademiaNut*

          That’s a great insight.

          Working from home, I can be very productive working through a list of tasks. The part where we figure out what tasks to do, and work out tricky problem solving and interpretation, however, is much smoother when we can talk face to face, particularly for short questions and back and forth with a white-board and lots of plots. Even one day a week of face to face would get me recharged for working through the task list.

          In my job, we’re currently working through figuring out how to do a process where it would normally be worth having a dozen people from various parts of the world assemble in a single location for a couple of weeks of very intense collaborative technical work. We can’t do it in person, as the non-US participants are, for the most part, not anywhere near vaccination, and it’s a major effort to work around it.

    2. Threeve*

      This. I am not a boomer or a fan of requiring in-office work when it isn’t strictly necessary, but this attitude is off-putting. People who think their personal preferences (or even needs) are universally correct are generally not easy to work with.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Yes. My tech writing job is ideal for WFH, and I resented losing 3day/week telecommute a while back. But it’s not 100% remote–every now and then I need to be hands-on with the equipment and software. That’s how you take photographs for marketing materials, and that’s how you test assembly instructions.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          By the way, I’m Gen X and some of the butts-in-seats upper managers are younger than me.

          1. Uranus Wars*

            Same here.

            But, honestly, its a mindset difference that spans from our youngest to our oldest managers. There are both ends of the spectrum in every generation represented.

    3. Frances*

      I love your grandmother’s saying :)

      To me, the OP’s letter comes off as dripping with entitlement. Maybe I’m missing something or maybe they are just lacking experience enough to realize that they don’t know everything. At least the OP is only looking at permanent WFH options.

    4. KayDeeAye*

      I adore working from home – I (a boomer) wasn’t sure I would even like it, pre-pandemic, but I (a boomer) love it to death, and it looks as though my current employer is going to allow me to continue with it 2-3 days a week for the foreseeable future. Yaaaay!

      But there absolutely can be really good reasons to require employees to come into the office part time, and it’s often impossible to discern how necessary that is from the outside. OP, you don’t know these companies or these people at all, so what makes you so sure you know their business better than they do?

      1. Anon for this*

        Absolutely. This office may very well incorporate other marketing responsibilities into the social media coordinator role. Being able to attend on site events to cover them for social media, or simply living locally to tap into local conversational groups as a resident and keep a weather eye on local drama that wouldn’t really register to someone who doesn’t live in an area. Or even just plain being available to do in person interviews with less tech savvy demographics who might not be able to do phone or online interviews.

      2. metadata minion*

        Hi, Reverse Me! ;-) I, a Millenial, have discovered that I haaaaate working from home and can’t wait to be back in the office.

    5. UrbanGardener*

      I’ve seen something similar referred to as “the triangle of expectation”, where the 3 points of the triangle are good, fast and cheap (when it refers to projects). you can have any two of the three you want, you can almost never have all three at once.

      1. StlBlues*

        Just slightly off-topic, but it makes me think of the career advice my dad gave me long ago. He said to be minimally successful at work, you can still choose 1 “bad thing” on the triangle: (1) being bad at your job, (2) being lazy or (3) being unfriendly/mean. If you are more than one of those things? You’ll frustrate everyone to death.

        Lazy but good at your job and nice? People will largely forgive you.
        Nice and try really hard, but not great at your job? People will largely forgive you.
        Really hard working and great at your job but mean? People will excuse you.

        It still makes me laugh to this day, because sometimes when I get REALLY frustrated with a coworker, I’ll realize they are breaking this cardinal rule.

        **Obviously, in an ideal world you are NONE of those things. This was a “bottom limit” situation.

        1. twocents*

          I really like this! It’s making me think of coworkers I didn’t particularly like as people (jerks) but I never resented them because they still made my life easier by being really good at their job.

          Like please put Phil, the competent efficient jerk on my project over Morris who is nice, but lazy and slow.

        2. UrbanGardener*

          I once got a 60 day “shape up or ship out” notice where my boss explained I was great at my job but people thought I was a bitch. I decided I was done busting my butt for a company that didn’t appreciate me (it was a long time coming) and found a new job, and then he had the nerve to be surprised I was quitting. So that triangle didn’t work for me that time – LOL! It was a situation in a luxury goods field where my previous boss had been fired and I took over the whole department for months while they tried to find a new manager, and I was naive to think if I worked hard enough they’d realize I was great and should get the job. But my colleagues were mostly a bunch of spoiled rich people who weren’t used to hearing no and I was the person who had to say no. So that made me a bitch, I guess?

  6. Cordoba*

    I think it’s a viable plan *if* the candidate is OK with the risk of the employer eventually saying it’s either on-site job or no job.

    The worst that happens is that you lose the job, or end up having to grudgingly go into the office after all.

    1. Butterfly Counter*

      I wonder though, about burning bridges and/or getting a reputation within the industry. I suspect it depends on the size of the industry, but one of the smaller ones, word might get around that OP wasted a company’s time and money on hiring, onboarding, and training only to quit/be fired for not wanting the job to be exactly what was clearly advertised from the beginning.

    2. Observer*

      Actually, there is another potential serious downside – it could really harm their reputation and ability to do their job.

    3. CoveredInBees*

      If they’re ok with that, then bring it up early. Prior to application, if feasible.

      1. ecnaseener*

        I think during the interview process is fine too! Some employers (mine, for one) have yet to give any more concrete info than “stay remote until the fall, and give us a headcount on how many would like to stay remote or hybrid so we can consider options” — so if the official posting says “remote work until the fall” that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone’s going full-time in person at that point.

        TLDR: ask during the interview, it might be ok to stay remote. Don’t just stay silent and plan on forcing the issue though, jeez.

        1. myswtghst*

          Exactly this. A lot of employers are still playing it by ear, waiting to see how things go, and it’s better that they err on the side of “we will return to the office” since that’s the more likely outcome. It doesn’t hurt to ask in the early stages of the process (e.g. initial phone screen) if fully remote past the expiration date is a possibility, and to decide if it’s worth continuing based on the answer you get.

          Plenty of workplaces are adopting return to the office plans that stagger their workforce. It might also be worth it for OP to consider if 1-2 days in the office each week could be workable, even if full time in office wouldn’t be.

    4. ArtK*

      For me, the OP’s approach is unethical. The employer has set the parameters. The OP can *ask* up front for a permanent remote position, but to accept a remote-to-office job and then try to force the issue is going to look very bad for the person. As in a bad reference if the company rightfully lets OP go after the demand.

      1. Anon for this*

        Yeah, my job incorporates some stuff that absolutely has to be on site. Our response to Covid was to transfer all responsibility for on site activities to the one person whose dream job is starting a contracting group that exclusively does this on site work for a variety of clients. Coworker is overjoyed that they’re accumulating this experience faster than before, and the rest of us are glad we don’t have to go on site. But this scenario only worked because we had Coworker willingly volunteering to take on all of the in person tasks, and because the in person tasks we do have are more interesting than printing documents and mailing packages.

    5. Esmeralda*

      Well, the worst would be, the OP and friend lose their jobs AND burn bridges in the industry, or get a less than stellar reference.

      1. Hundredthlion*

        But at the same time – as long as they’re not flipping tables and really mouthing off – would it be THAT bad? I mean at worst what are they going to say – she accepted a temporarily remote job and wouldn’t come back in to the office? It’s not like she’s siphoning funds or kicking puppies. If she does a great job and that’s the worst they can say about her, it really might not be a huge risk.

        All the people talking about what she’d be missing out on are missing the point. At the end of the day she wants to work remotely for a social media job – I don’t see why it would be a huge leap for them to agree to that with the stipulation that for any events or client meetings she still show up in person. A hybrid model. She’s not asking for the downsides of remote work. She’s not posting because she’s concerned about missing out on things or playing the office politics. She’s ONLY talking about whether she should apply or not.

    6. Rosemary*

      As a hiring manager I would be furious if I hired someone with the understanding that WFH is only temporary, only to find out they never had any intention of coming into the office ever. Leaving me with two choices: 1) Fire them, and go through the hassle and expense of another job search, or 2) Letting them have their way. Even though the job can technically be done remotely – there ARE valid reasons for wanting people in the office, at least some of the time. My current employees understand that. Even though there are some that would PREFER to be 100% remote – they are OK with coming into the office 2-3 days a week (which is how we are planning to move forward, post-pandemic). How will it look to these longstanding employees if I let this new person – who essentially strong-armed me into it – be 100% remote but not everyone else?

      If this happened, I would 100% let it be known to anyone who asked that this is why the person is no longer employed by company. Major bridge burned, for sure.

  7. Dumpster Fire*

    If you are applying for currently-remote-but-returning-to-the-office-eventually jobs with the expectation that you’ll be able to force fully remote work, you can expect to NOT be in that office – but not for the reason you want. Not only are you applying for jobs in bad faith but you’re implying that you think you understand THEIR business better than they do. Further, if your attitude in your post gives any indication of how you’ll come across in an interview, even your interview wouldn’t last long with me, never mind a job. “Boomertastically”? THIS is why a lot of boomers think that millenials are naive – because they are. NO job is entirely digital – you can’t represent your company without actually interacting in person with your co-workers. For a generation who claims to be all-inclusive, sensitive, empathetic – there’s sure a lot of ageism evident. “Insisting to be kept remote”? Yup, stay home….you’re no longer welcome here.

    1. A Girl Named Fred*

      I have to disagree with your language re: “no work is entirely digital.” There are whole companies with fully-remote teams who are doing excellent work, never having met face-to-face. There may be reasons in some jobs to meet in person sometimes, and in other jobs there may not be. It doesn’t make millennials naive to seek the latter, any more than it makes boomers awful people to seek the former. It just means each group prefers what they prefer. I get that “boomertastically” was not a good word to use (although I admit I chuckled at it), but let’s not derail this any more into boomers vs millennials than we need to, yeah?

      1. straws*

        A lot of fully-remote teams are fully remote on a day to day basis but do meet face to face. Back in the before times, I looked into full remote jobs because I enjoy WFH. Most of the jobs required travel 1-2 times per year for meet-ups, collaboration, and team-building with the company. I have a lot of personal issues around traveling, so I had to stop looking at full remote because it ended up requiring me to leave my home too much, ironically.

        1. Fran Fine*

          I work in one of those roles/companies. My team is almost entirely fully remote (we’re based all over the globe), but pre-COVID, we met at least once a year in person at an industry conference so everyone can see each other face-to-face (the culture at our company is we generally keep cameras off during calls unless a specific person requests cameras on, so most people don’t know what their team actually looks like unless the person has a photo up, which not everyone does). However, some people opted out due to life things from time to time – I don’t ever think it was mandatory.

          So yes, Dumpster Fire’s statement that no job is entirely digital is wrong.

        2. Cookie D'oh*

          My team is fully remote. Even my boss is in a different state than me. I work with software developers in India and various other locations across the US. We do agile software development so pre-covid, we used to have in person planning events every quarter. That has all be done remotely since last year. I will continue to be a remote employee because my company shut down my office building and several others around the country. There were rumors of that happening anyway, but covid accelerated the timeline.

      2. Colette*

        The OP is in social media, which is not just posting and commenting on social media – she has to represent the company in tone as well as facts. When everyone is online, they have the infrastructure to do that – meetings are online, for example. But when everyone else goes back to the office, the OP won’t be able to do a good job unless she can stay in touch with what is going on in the company – and that is much harder when you’re the only one remote. If you’ve ever been in a meeting with 20 people in a conference room and 1 person on the phone, think about what that would have been like for the remote person.

        So while it’s true you can get everything you need remotely, that’s only true if the majority of people are remote.

        1. Quinalla*

          I think it is easier if the majority of people are remote, but it isn’t impossible with tweaks to meetings, etc. to have one or a handful of people remote. I’ve worked in a job for about 7 years now where I’m one of the few remote people and while I will admit COVID has been a blessing for me in many ways with everyone being remote, we are already working on ways to improve meetings, etc. to better account for me and the few others (more than before mind you) who will continue to be fully remote and for others who plan to be partially remote (in the office 2-3 days a week).

          It is doable, it just takes effort and technology. The fact that everyone at my company now has a webcam they know how to use is a giant step forward, but there are other things too.

          I am personally not opposed to going to the mothership office a couple times a year and that helps too, but it wouldn’t be strictly required.

      3. Susana*

        I agree completely that we should not be making massive generational generalizations. But boy, was that a derisive moniker – and worse, it was based on the presumption that people with less experience have more knowledge about the best way to manage the workforce. Some jobs indeed can be done remotely – but someone who has never worked there cannot make that judgment. You know the unfair, terrible generalization that younger workers are entitled and lazy, and don’t think they need to put in their time to be forwarded at work? It’s off-base, not consistent with what I’ve seen from many. many colleagues that age. But paradoxically, LW fits that caricature entirely with the dismissive remark about older workers who don’t happen to share LW’s view of how the company should operate.

    2. Respectfully, Pumat Sol*

      Agreeing with A Girl Named Fred here. The job I just left completely closed the corporate office in favor of fully remote working. There’s the option to come in to a coworking space, but it’s an option not a requirement. The job I just started is fully remote. My coworkers will return to their office when it reopens, but half my company is on a different continent. I was hired as a remote employee and will remain fully remote even when my coworkers go back. I live close enough that I will be attending some of the team building things they’re doing, but several other folks in the exact role I have live in other states and won’t be. There really can be fully digital jobs.

    3. Bagpuss*

      Yes, while a lot of remote jobs require some in person work, there are absolutely jobs which are fully digital / remote.

      I have a friend who has been working fully remotely for at least 10 years – as in she is employed by an American company which operates solely in the USA. My friend lives in the UK and has not been to the USA for at least 7 years.

      I do agree that the issue of coming over as knowing the employers business better than they do, and pulling a bait and switch on them after accepting the job, are both really bad ideas, but that is not to say that OP might not be able to find a job which is truly permanently remote.

    4. Irish girl*

      I am not sure where you think that no jobs can be done fully without interacting with your co-workers in person? Companies closed offices completely during this pandemic. My father who was fully remote prior to Covid works with people on this team across the country. He has only meet 1 of his co-workers in person and that was before he and that other person went remote 7 years ago. The company also closed the office he worked out of and all the people in the office are now fully remote. On top of that, my dad works a shift that no one else is on 8pm to 4 am so even when he was in the office, none of his co-works were since they fished at 4 or 5 pm. I have coworkers on my direct team that are all over the country and unless the company wants to pay toe fly them across the country and put them up in a hotel and pay for their food, i dont think i will ever meet them in person. Seems like a waste of money to do that for very little benefit.

    5. Program Manager*

      I understand the OPS’s comments touched a nerve but you’re swinging almost as far the other way (and proving their point a little) by saying no job can be entirely digital.

      I work as program manager with a group of about 500 people spread across the world. Probably 70% aren’t in my time zone and only a single person out of 500 lives within 4 hours of me.

      I have never met my managers or anyone who even tangentially works on the same things I do.

      And yet my company says I should:
      – drive 1.5 hrs each way to the office
      – to sit at a freezing cold desk (ugh men and thermostats)
      – to be exposed to lots of other people who can get me sick leading to the need to take sick time
      – to use a crappy monitor that severely hinders my productivity (I have 2 nice wide screens at home while the one at work is 10+ years old)
      – and go in to conference rooms 10x a day to have the sensitive conversations I need to have to perform my job

      Luckily my boss looks the other way because he understands it’s totally insane for me to be going in to an office for literally no reason when my job is entirely digital.

    6. Indigo a la mode*

      It’s rich to clap back at the OP about ageism and then immediately swing into generalizations about and condescension toward millennials – especially when OP could very well not be one. (How long is “millennials” going to mean “young people I’m annoyed with” rather than “people born approximately between 1981 and 1995”?) Lots of people have this difficulty, of course. I just had a conversation with my Gen-Z intern today about how the “older people” he’s thinking we can’t target via social media because they aren’t very technically savvy are, in fact, the very people who invented all the tech he’s going to use in this internship. Bottom line: Age-based assumptions don’t reflect well on anyone who makes them, including you.

      Also, as someone who works in digital marketing, who’s had coworkers move to new places since there’s no in-office requirement on the horizon, who just joined a new part of the company that solely focuses on all-remote software development, I’m here to tell you there’s plenty of business that can be conducted online-only. I miss being in the office because for me personally, nothing beats in-person collaboration – but it’s just not true that it’s required for the business I’m in.

  8. Drago Cucina*

    As Alison said, if you accept a job with conditions A then B (remote and then in office) it’s not realistic to expect the working environment to change. If the new person starts to make demands that changes the job they accepted it raises the question of what else is next. Reasonable accommodations should be a transparent conversation between you and your manager.

    And it’s not “boomertastically out-of-touch.” There are often larger company policies that come into play. In my work place the federal mandate for any teleworker (remote work is a different situation) requires butts in seats two days a week. It may not be something that the local boss can change. We are working the change our requirements, but it’s not quick or easy.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I’m curious, what is the definition of telework vs remote work, and what jurisdiction is that?

      1. LizM*

        I’m not Drago, but I am a federal manager subject to what I think is probably the same rule. The difference is your duty station.

        For telework employees, their duty station is the office, but they are authorized to work away from the office. For remote work, their duty station is their home (or sometimes another agency’s office, if there’s an agreement in place). We use duty station to determine travel reimbursement, cost of living adjustments for pay, local taxes, etc.

        1. Drago Cucina*

          Yes. And for some agencies telework requires being within a certain geographic distance (say 50 miles). An occasional trip is okay. Remote work means I can permanently be anywhere. If my home office is in DC, I can opt to live in Oklahoma. I can opt to live in and RV and constantly be on the road, as long as I have good Wi-Fi.

        2. allathian*

          Great explanation, thanks! The terms are often used as if they were synonyms, but they aren’t. By this definition, I’m a teleworker. I’m not in the US, but I work for a governmental agency that has more than 30 regional offices around the country. My duty station is our head office, but I could work at any of them temporarily if my manager agreed and I had a reason to visit another office. If the reason was business-related, I’d expense the trip, but even if I went there for primarily personal reasons and paid for the trip myself, I’d still be able to work at another office. In some cases it’s possible to compromise and combine business with pleasure, so that I’d be able to expense half of my travel expenses.

  9. You can call me flower, if you want to*

    This is a pretty adversarial way to approach job searching, and I don’t think you want to start a new job off that way. I think your decision to look at only permanent remote is a good one (your friend’s approach isn’t right for all of the reasons Alison lists), but you don’t have to get frustrated with the companies that won’t allow permanent work from home. Just decide that obviously that means that the position won’t be a good fit and move on. I get that you really want to leave your current job, but I’m worried that this “me versus them” attitude may hold you back.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I completely agree with this. If a job listing calls for something you don’t want, then… just don’t apply. If the hours are 9-5 and you want 11-7, then this is not the job for you. If there’s 25% travel and you want zero, then it’s probably not the job for you. If you’re in a position to have a wish list, then great, but I don’t see how you can expect an employer’s wish list to match yours exactly.

      I’ve taken two jobs “with me” when I’ve moved. In both cases, I was an experienced senior employee, and in both cases, I had a plan B in case my employer didn’t agree to it. That’s life, and if they hadn’t agreed, it would have been disappointing but not unfair– nor necessarily “out of touch.”

      My current job is full-time remote. I actually would prefer some office time, but I compromised because I wanted this job. Had I started and insisted on commuting in, I probably wouldn’t have made it past the first month.

    2. Colette*

      Exactly. I don’t apply for jobs on the other side of downtown, no matter how much I’d like the job, because I don’t want that commute. This is the same kind of thing – the job is not located where you want it to be, so it’s not for you.

    3. Smithy*

      Calling out the adversarial attitude is a good one.

      My last two job hunts have happened during periods of time where I really wanted out, and I learned from the first one that it’s incredibly important to do my best as possible to leave as much of that behind as possible. Otherwise it’s really easy to focus so hard on just leaving, that some really key features are ignored. I work for a nonprofits and at one point made it through 4 interviews and when finally speaking with the CEO he directly said “I don’t think you’d align well with the mission. You could do the job, but I’m really worried if we’d fit with you.”

      I went home, thought about it, and he was absolutely right and did me a huge favor. But I was so focused on just getting a new job that I was letting some key pieces slide. If the OP wants to be full-time remote, pushing an employer not really set-up for it to begrudgingly agree could really set up some significant pain points.

    4. Ray Gillette*

      “Me vs. Them” is pretty common mindset for people who feel trapped in the Job from Hell to get stuck in. Highly recommend LW and friend find a way to detox from that before they take it to their next jobs.

      1. Fran Fine*

        This is why I always keep an eye out on job postings, even when I’m in a job I’m happy with, and apply at my leisure because if you wait to begin job hunting when you really hate where you are, you’re almost guaranteed to carry that negativity into your job search and will either miss red flags or torpedo your own chances at a good employer during the interview stage. I had to learn this lesson the hard way – I hope OP and her friend heed Alison’s advice and change tactics if not their mindsets entirely.

        1. Smithy*

          Absolutely to this. It’s also helpful when it comes to those gut checks on what the other opportunities out there look like when it comes to pay but also how your experience is perceived by others.

          Additionally, interviewing really is a skill. Some people are naturally great at it and others naturally really struggle – but I can’t imagine anyone out there who doesn’t get better overall just by doing it more frequently. How to talk about your current job, your professional history, etc. – all of that just gets easier and smoother. And you’re in a place to catch yourself approaching interviews with a gut check on whether or not you need to kick off a larger search if any given interview doesn’t work out.

    5. Fran Fine*

      This is a pretty adversarial way to approach job searching

      I totally agree, and it can backfire spectacularly.

      1. ecnaseener*

        Yep. It can be a hard balance to strike — we all know the perils of putting the company’s needs over yours, assuming if you’re “loyal” to your company they’ll be “loyal” to you — but the answer isn’t to approach your entire professional life as a game of wits.

    6. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

      I can’t agree with this enough. I’m a Millennial who is really enjoying WFH and hope to have more flexibility to work remotely when my office reopens in a couple months, but I hate the framing of “remote = good, office = bad” that seems to pop up so often on this site and others. There’s nothing inherently wrong with requiring onsite presence, even full-time presence. Not everyone likes or has the ability to work from home! Some jobs really do require regular personal connection, and even if a job can be 100% fulfilled remotely, it’s inherently a business’ right to determine they’d prefer staff to be in the office together.

      The LW should consider this to be just another requirement she has for her job search and filter out openings that don’t meet her needs, just like if it were salary or job duties; however, she shouldn’t mentally castigate the employer for not happening to offer a work environment that suits her needs.

    7. Eefs*

      This might get lost in the “boomertastically” noise (and while I find the word hilarious – I’m not a huge fan of generational oversimplifications either. I’m a Dec 96 baby living on the cusp of millennial and Gen Z and somehow getting described as both all the time while feeling connected to neither) I would recommend the LW join some “digital nomad” Facebook groups. There’s lots of fully remote social media opportunities out there for full time travellers, and it’s a great community. You won’t need to sift through all the temporary remote postings either.

  10. Gem*

    The adversarial mindset seems unhelpful in the job search. And it’s not adversarial to say you only want to work remotely but once you get into demand territory and applying for jobs under the pretense that you’re ok with the terms … your friend isn’t doing herself any favors

  11. RainbowTribble*

    This person is also not taking into account that working out of state can create all sorts of headaches for their HR and they may not want to deal with that long-term.

    1. Reluctant Manager*


      After Wayfair v S Dakota, the question of tax nexus may eventually diminish somewhat, but the laws in different states and even different municipalities can cause so many wrinkles! CO now has laws requiring posting a salary range, which I think is great for fair pay but could be a big deal for companies that operate on other states

      1. Observer*

        CO now has laws requiring posting a salary range, which I think is great for fair pay but could be a big deal for companies that operate on other states

        That’s the least of it. It’s relatively easy for a company to just change it’s job posting across the board to include this information. But other stuff is much more complicated. The thing that jumps to mind is tax withholding. But there are other labor laws at play. Also, contract law. The issue of nexus doesn’t only affect state taxes.

      2. goducks*

        Wayfair only affects sales tax nexus, there’s a whole host of other concerns including payroll taxes, employment laws, property taxes, workers comp, benefits and other things that can be a giant pain to deal with for just one employee.

    2. Nanani*

      You can be remote without being out of state though? I’m not American but last I checked some of your states were big and most of them have more than one city with people living in it.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Yup, and incidentally cities can have taxes for both residents & for non-residents working there.

      2. Rainbow Tribble*

        No need to be snarky about it, obvious I know this. But we have no context on where they are applying and out of state complications is definitely a fact businesses are considering whether to do long-term remote.

    1. StudentA*


      Someone out there wants the job and will take it under the conditions the employer has outlined and won’t “insist” on having the job their way. Let those people apply and get out of their way.

    2. Begonia*

      I see it more as frustration. We live in a capitalist society where we are exploited by employers and forced to endure it because we have no other options. Sometime I say things like, this corporation is evil, when what I really mean is I have no agency and think the system is inherently flawed. I feel OP’s pain.

      1. Shenandoah*

        Same. It sucks feeling like you have no power in a situation, and I definitely read/heard more frustration in OP’s tone than arrogance.

      2. ecnaseener*

        We do indeed, but this LW seems to be taking it too far in trying to “game the system.” They’re *not* being forced to do anything by these companies, they have the option of only accepting fully remote jobs!

        1. Fran Fine*

          You mean the LW’s friend – OP has clarified several times, and even states in the letter, that she has no intention to apply to temporary remote jobs and try to force an employer’s hand to make it permanently remote. That’s her friend.

          1. ecnaseener*

            We’re not talking about LW’s actions here but their adversarial tone. (Ik I said “trying to game the system” which is an action — so that part only applies to their friend.)

      3. Anoni*

        I think there’s a little from column A and a little from column B. I can understand frustration in not finding as many remote jobs as you’d like, or being frustrated that jobs that seemed to work just fine remotely would require people to start showing up in an office. However, I do think it’s naïve and a little arrogant for the OP’s friend to assume that just because it was remote, that means it was working well remotely.

        I worked remotely for over a year. I work with clients who are normally on-site, but are still required to be remote right now. While we were getting by, it was by no means going well and it was frustrating and isolating, for staff and clients. So just because something looks functional on the outside doesn’t mean it can, and should, stay that way.

      4. Observer*

        ometime I say things like, this corporation is evil, when what I really mean is I have no agency and think the system is inherently flawed.

        It’s kind of hard to read “Anyone who doesn’t see it my way is just wildly incompetent” that way. And that’s the polite reading of what the OP says.

  12. Insnerd*

    To be fair, OP is looking for a perma remote role, it’s their work friend that’s hoping to change goal posts once hired and they were doublechecking that what the work friend was doing could blow back quite badly and Alison and all other commenters confirmed this.

  13. Kiitemso*

    I used to do social media as a part of my work but we had a digital communication company help us out with our social media strategy. I was born in the late 1980’s but still I sometimes wished we could have met them irl and not have only disembodied voices. They felt very distant often and I think a face-to-face meeting could have benefited us in troubleshooting some of our social media strategies.

    While I agree such jobs can be remote (this company was in another city, albeit one where they could’ve visited us or the other way around very easily) I still think it hindered our collaboration that we were never in the same room.

    1. allathian*

      Disembodied voices are pretty awful, I agree. As much as I’d dislike sitting in video conferences all day, I’m getting used to video meetings. They aren’t perfect, but much better than just voice for getting to know people a bit. Once you know someone, just voice can be fine for many things. I also think that it helps just to have a photo of the person if they can’t or don’t want to use video.

      While I really enjoy WFH and my job doesn’t require much collaboration with others, I still think that collaboration in the office has its place and I’m looking forward to being able to do that in the fall, when I’m fully vaxxed and hopefully don’t need to wear a mask at the office. I’d far rather have video meetings than masked in-person meetings. I’m glad our senior management agrees with me on this and won’t be allowing mandatory in-person meetings for as long as the mask and social distancing mandates are in place.

  14. mediamaven*

    As a business owner I take offense at the term “boomertastically out-of-touch.” Your age and lack of experience does not make you the expert on all of the components that make a business run successfully. We are all trying to navigate the growing desire for more WFH but there have been wildly varying degrees of success in regards to this flexibility so rest assured companies are trying to make decisions that drive happiness among staff while maintaining profitability and culture. You are likely looking at it from YOUR point of view and what you want rather than the entirety of the needs of the business.

  15. wee beastie*

    I work in a business that employes people to do our social media and I think it’s true that people who are good at it really need to know how the ethos of social media works, but they also need to know how the company works, who is in the company, and what the company’s mission and products are or and about—same as any marketing job. A lot of that is more quickly inculcated into the employee if they are onsite, even just periodically. Plus, our social media specialist routinely makes presentations to the group on her work, and it’s easier to get good at that when you are on site and can see people’s reactions and know what is landing and what is not. I absolutely agree that remote work full time is possible, but I also can understand why a company might choose not to do that. (My industry is going hybrid, which is its own issue. I appreciate the work from home flexibility, but I can’t afford nor do I have the space to set up a home office and I think it’s a cheat to offload all the cost of having a healthy ergonomic work station on the employee.) (Young Gen X’er)

    1. Smithy*

      This is my chief complaint around this idea of the magic of hybrid work schedules. During COVID, I chose to pay significantly for all sorts of ergonomic office equipment because I was in far too much pain to take the time to push my employer to cover any of it. I do my best work with multiple screens, an ergonomic keyboard, an ergonomic chair, etc.

      I got a new job during the pandemic that is technically 100% remote but also moved to a city where there is an office. While there will certainly be “face time” advantages in coming into the office, if I will be doing it under a hot-desking guise – I really don’t want to do it more than once a week, unless it’s for work with heavy face time meetings and minimal computer time.

    2. Allonge*

      Yes, this – also for us social media is a trust-based, collaborative position where there are a lot of gains for knowing the company and its staff really well and bumping into people in the corridors can help do the job.

  16. HR Exec Popping In*

    The only thing I would add is for the OP to consider how she would feel if an employer purposefully advertised a job as with a specific benefit but fully intended to change the terms once the employee started. This is essentially what you are proposing.

    1. D3*

      They do it all the time when they advertise a job as remote with no intention of keeping it remote.
      Which is EXACTLY what the OP is facing.

      1. I should really pick a name*

        The OP is explicitly referring to jobs that state they are remote for COVID only. That’s different from a company claiming the position is remote permanently and then changing it.

      2. Can Can Cannot*

        Not exactly. The OP is talking about jobs that are temporarily remote (“remote during COVID”), and asking if it’s OK to refuse to go into the office when the temporary remote-mode ends. It’s not about jobs that are advertised as strictly remote.

    2. SnarkyMonkey*

      I agree with you here, and specifically, there is an ethical problem with the “bait-and-switch” mentality – on both sides of the problem!! You may have lots of great skills, but without integrity, you aren’t offering much to any company.

      1. Green Goose*

        So true. I’ve been on both sides of this and it really sucks. It just doesn’t blow over, and it can end or seriously sour relationships on both sides. When I was an employee and I had a bait-in-switch it impacted how involved I was with the company for my entire employment. I never did beyond the requirements of my job because I felt they didn’t deserve anything extra after they had lied to me.
        On the other side at a different organization, we had an employee come on board who said they were okay with our non-traditional work hours. After a very lengthy interview process, and after we had rejected all other candidates, the new employee said on their first day that the hours didn’t work for them. It was so frustrating to know that they had known all along and were planning to do this and see if we would let them go. It was for a really crucial, public facing role and redoing the hiring process was really hard on clients, staff and HR.

      2. Simply the best*

        I agree with this. Pretending you’re okay with a job requirement when you know you’re just going to refuse it and dig your heels in just a few months into your employment is unethical. Just like a company offering you a job with perks they know that they won’t honor is unethical.

        On the other hand, a job where perks go away or people are laid off because the needs of the job change isn’t unethical. Just like it wouldn’t be unethical for somebody who took a job in good faith to have to go to their employer and say my circumstances have changed and I can no longer fulfill this requirement.

    3. Lora*

      Oh you mean like most of the companies I have worked for??
      “Your insurance costs are going up, we can no longer afford to pay 80% of the costs”
      “The previous insurance plan was getting too expensive, now you have to pick between two crappy high-deductible plans that don’t cover half of what you need”
      “We are discontinuing the pension plan, you’ll get a notice whether you want a payout on 20% of the benefit or some kind of roll-over system to an IRA. We don’t have any information about the roll-over system, you’ll have to call MegaBank yourself.”
      “We decided to have a re-org. Your Nice Experienced Boss who you love working for is taking early retirement, your new boss is Fresh Outta Grad School A-hole. Deal with it.”
      “I know we promised minimum 6 months of severance for laid off employees during the merger, but now it’s 3 months, take it or leave it.”

      1. Chairman of the Bored*

        Bingo. Companies don’t stop hiring when they’re re-evaluating their benefit package or related policies.

        If employers can bring employees on under benefit Package A without disclosing that a switch to a less-generous Package B is in the works then employees should be equally free to change the terms from their end after hiring on.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Sure, you can try that at any time. But the answer to “will it work?” is vastly different when it’s an employer vs. employee due to the power differences.

          1. Chairman of the Bored*

            In practical terms it may or may not work depending on how much leverage the employee has at the company etc.

            But it’s not unethical to do the same thing to a company that they routinely do as just part of normal business: changing employment terms after hiring on a “take it or leave it” basis.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              I agree with that. Everyone’s a free agent, free to try to renegotiate the terms of their employment at any time. (Employers just have a whole lot more power when doing it, and thus more of a responsibility not to be cavalier about it.)

              1. Chairman of the Bored*

                It seems like there are many responses here that seem to think an employee taking this approach is somehow unethical.

                Is there anything to this viewpoint, or is it just employer-favorable conditioning along the lines of “it’s impolite to discuss salaries” etc?

                1. ecnaseener*

                  It’s certainly obnoxious and damaging — if you accept an offer, other candidates get turned down. By the time you quit over remote work, the #2 candidate could’ve been unemployed for a few extra weeks, or taken another offer out of desperation when they would’ve loved and excelled at the job you took in bad faith.

                  And there’s the integrity issue of saying/implying you will follow X terms when you know all along you won’t do so.

                  Are either of these ethics issues exactly, or just the way the world is? Idk

                2. Czhorat*

                  I dont’ think it’s unethical (and don’t think that’s the overall issue) but that it’s ill-advised.

                  If the employer insists on your coming in then you’re either stuck working in-person or out of a job. If you DO manage to successfully force the issue you may end up expending lots of political capital. That’s going to make it harder to get things that you want at later times.

                3. allathian*

                  I’m not saying it’s unethical necessarily, but because of the power differential, it’s pretty certain to be impolitic. Even if you’re a unicorn with a selection of skills the company usually needs to employ three people for, the time to negotiate is at the offer stage. If you accept an offer and attempt to change the terms as soon as you start work and make it obvious you accepted the job in bad faith, you risk burning bridges because you’re wasting everyone’s time.

          2. Lora*

            True, but companies don’t get to be shocked, shocked! when this leads to what they tend to view as a “disloyal” workforce that changes jobs frequently with minimal notice.

            In my field particularly, if you live in one of the big hubs, you can get a job at the competitor down the road without a lot of headaches. Nobody is the only gig in town. So they have to treat employees pretty decently, and companies that use economic downturns to take away benefits soon find themselves short-staffed.

            There’s this mythology of a Corporation Who Pays Fair Wages And Benefits, and sure, they exist in the world, just like some people do in fact win the lottery. They’re the exception these days though, not the rule, and it’s not necessarily smart to assume that you will win that particular lottery. But, a lot of hiring managers do believe in that mythos, so it’s best to act accordingly.

        2. it's me*

          “employees should be equally free to change the terms from their end after hiring on”
          And yet… here we are.

  17. Observer*

    If your attitudes come through in your applications / interviews, you are going to have a very hard time finding a job with a good, well run company. I know it’s coming off harshly, but there are some enormous red flags for me.

    1. I have to wonder about your ethics and integrity. You are seriously considering taking a job on false pretenses. Taking a job with explicitly stated conditions while planning on insisting” that those conditions be changed AFTER you start working is bad faith and dishonest.

    2. You sound seriously arrogant. The idea that you know for certain what any and all businesses need (even within your field) without ever talking to them is just stunning.

    3. Ageism. There are a lot of reasons to require people to work in the office either full or part time. Some of those reasons are solid and some are not. Yes, even for primarily digital jobs. By and large, they have ZERO to do with the age of the policy setters.

    4. Naivete. Do you really think that in the course of 2-3 months you will impress your entire work chain so much that you can force the issue and not pay a significant price? Even if you manage to keep your job, the odds of REALLY harming your reputation and important relationships at work are really, really high.

    1. Xavier Desmond*

      It’s the OPs friend who is planning on insisting on working from home. The OP is only applying for jobs that are permanent WFH (which is the right approach).

      1. Observer*

        I’ll grant that.

        Having said that, 2 and 3 totally apply based on what they said about their own attitude. Numbers 1 and 4 also apply to some extent in that they don’t seem to realize that this is more than “a bit of a gamble”. It both a LARGE gamble with high potential to end badly, and it’s also quite unethical.

    2. Myrin*

      To be (a bit) fair(er) to OP, your first point only pertains to her friend – OP herself is looking for advertised-as-permanently-remote work from the get-go.

    3. AnotherLibrarian*

      You know, I think you’re being really unkind here. The LetterWriter wrote in because they weren’t sure that insisting for a position to stay remote was okay. That’s what one does when one has a concern and needs it addressed. That’s entirely ethical. Just asking the question isn’t an ethics issue.

      And yes, the LetterWriter does sound naive, and probably super warped from a toxic environment, I think showing them a little grace is maybe appropriate. We were all naive once. We were all angry once. And if you’ve never worked at a toxic workplace, I think you might not be aware of how much it can warp your sense of normal behaviors.

      1. Observer*

        I hear what you are saying. And I think that it’s useful for the OP to have the very significant issues with what they are saying clearly spelled out. This is ESPECIALLY true if their norms have been warped by a toxic workplace.

        It’s like all the people who say things like “it’s ok to steal / falsify resumes / whatever unethical thing because everyone does that.” Or the people who come here and just assume that bosses who yell, people who refuse to share information, ridiculously draconian policies, etc. are “normal”. They are benefit when they hear clearly and emphatically that NO, this is NOT the case. Even though, in my second set of cases, these folks are almost certainly victims.

  18. Slept for 6 hours*

    I work in social media and I can’t imagine how I’d do my job if I wasn’t on site. Sure, there are many aspects that could go remote but so much of it is interacting with the staff/subject(s) of what will be on social media.

    1. anonymous for this*

      Yeah, I run a nonprofit and if someone tried to do our social media 100% from elsewhere, they would be the ones who were out of touch — with literally everything they need to experience in order to represent us adequately. Also, OP, depending on how you slice the generations, we late-boomers/early-xers are the ones who brought you the innovations (e.g., PCs & the internet) that make WFH even possible. You’re welcome.

  19. Tara*

    OP may be around my age, and as people are really latching on to the ‘boomer’ reference in the post, I thought it may be beneficial to give a view of what it would mean when I think of ‘boomer’. I think of it in the context of the ‘ok boomer’ meme, not a particular age group. Like not all 40-60 year old women with short hair cuts are ‘Karens’, I would not assume that OP is using the term to mean everybody in that age group.

    I think that term is making people jump to her being arrogant. From what I read of the post, she was questioning her friend’s view with a reliable source as she wasn’t sure about it. But yeah, OP, definitely don’t think asking to be remote when the job isn’t would work. Maybe you’d like it once you were in? The issues around being in an office may just be specific to the office you’re in or those you’ve previously experienced.

    1. Observer*

      I think of it in the context of the ‘ok boomer’ meme, not a particular age group

      Please. That’s nonsense. The meme is explicitly referencing an age group. #NotAllWhatevers is a bad look, regardless of who deploys it. And that also includes that people who claim that they “can’t be” whatever-ist because #NotAllWhatever.

      I think that term is making people jump to her being arrogant

      No, what is making people “jump” to them being arrogant is the fact that they ARE being arrogant. “Any company” that is doing things differently that THEY think should be done is fantastically “out of touch”? Really? The idea that someone would have SUCH confident to know the needs of any and all companies to that extent IS arrogant. Even if they hadn’t used that term.

    2. HS Teacher*

      If you think someone who is 40 can be a boomer, you should’ve paid more attention in history class.

    3. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

      Quoting myself from earlier today:

      Millennial – someone younger than me (who I disagree with)
      Boomer – someone older than me (who I disagree with)

      A Gen-Xer who fits squarely in the age bracket you listed

  20. StressedButOkay*

    Oh, I winced at this. You’re making a lot of assumptions right off the bat about companies and managers you’ve never met – that’s a problem. You’re assuming that there are no good reasons to require you to be in the office besides them being out of touch and assuming that, as a new hire, that you’ll have far more capital to push back on something that was stated from the get go.

    It’s really good that companies are being more flexible! But there are a lot of downsides to being a remote worker and having remote workers!

    Honestly, you are far better off actively looking for jobs that are already advertising for 100% remote upfront rather than trying to force a company into something after you’ve applied. They’re out there! There’s no reason to try to game the system.

  21. JillianNicola*

    When I worked retail, I did a lot of time at the service desk. The amount of people arguing with me about clearly stated policies, or whether or not we had something “in the back” – as if I wasn’t there every damn day of my life and knew our business inside and out – as if they somehow knew better because they shopped there once or twice a week – was ASTOUNDING. It drove me nuts, and made me seriously judge them as a human being. This is the same energy. I absolutely get wanting to change the world to mirror your personal viewpoint, and there’s definitely things you can do to nudge the ship along – but you don’t have the political or personal weight to change the ship’s course on a dime. I also get how frustrating it is to hear from older generations that “this is just the way it is” but sometimes? This is just the way it is. Keep searching for the permanently remote positions, if that’s what you want. There’s a website – remote dot co – that has just those kinds of positions across a lot of industries listed.

  22. ENFP in Texas*

    “I’m going to apply for a job that says it’s only temporarily remote and then make them accommodate me and make it fully remote after they hire me.”

    Someone is out of touch with workplace reality here, and it’s not the Boomers.

    1. Nanani*

      It’s not OP either, as you’ll note if you read more than the inflammatory parenthetical.

  23. Jennifer*

    I don’t understand the reaction from most people in the comments. I have been reading a lot in the news about how for the first time in decades workers have more power than the employers. Obviously, this is dependent on your industry and location so the OP’s mileage may vary. But there are people who chose to find other jobs after their companies demanded everyone come back to the office full-time. I don’t see what’s so horrible about asking during the interview process if permanent remote work is a possibility. If it’s not, and this is a dealbreaker for the OP, everyone can just move on. How is this any different from negotiating any other benefit like a higher salary or more PTO?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s because that’s not what she’s proposing — she’s asking about accepting the job and then trying to insist on staying remote later (and expecting it to work, it sounds like).

      1. OP*

        I think my friend meant “insisting” as she’s going to apply to these temp remote positions and if she gets an interview then explain she wants to stay remote. She’s not really the kind of person to be sneaky and unfair, and is an overall responsible & competent worker. I just think it’s going to result in a lot of interviews that go nowhere.

        1. Jennifer*

          Yeah, I also read it as something your friend was doing and that you thought was risky but reading some of the other comments I thought I was missing something.

        2. NerdyKris*

          Oh that’s a lot different than I thought you meant, but insisting on changing the parameters of the job in the interview is just going to result in them moving on to someone else. If they want people back in the office they want people back in the office. The discussions on whether or not to stay fully remote are happening at the C level and directors, not from someone who doesn’t work there yet.

            1. CmdrShepard4ever*

              I would disagree about being similar to other deal breakers, I think this is more along the lines of a posted salary range of 50-70k, but applying and planning on asking/insisting on 80/90k. It is one thing to ask for a little more maybe around $75k, comparing to WFH, it would be a bit better if OP’s friend wanted to ask for 1-3 days remote.

              If OP’s friend is upfront from the initial application, I am interested in this job but I need it to be 100% work from home, or I am interested in this job but require 80k salary and then let the company decide if they want to proceed, it would make things better and would not make the friend look as out of touch.

              1. ecnaseener*

                I get where you’re coming from, for jobs that are stated to be full time in person required. But if it’s not specified beyond “remote during covid,” that could mean remote work is able to be considered.

        3. BRR*

          Ah thank you for the clarification. Basically I think the further she gets in the application process the more annoyed the employer will get. If anything, I’d put it in the cover letter which might still irritate some people, but any damage should be minimal.

        4. Tuesday*

          Okay – that’s pretty different then. The phrase, “plans on insisting to be kept remote,” made me think we were talking about after she had the job, not just an interview.

        5. ecnaseener*

          Oh! Yeah that’s hugely different. Ask away. I posted somewhere up above that some employers haven’t finalized their plans yet for remote/hybrid options, so if all the posting says is “currently remote during covid” it’s totally fair to ask. (If the posting says “will be in-person starting in the fall” then maybe not worth asking.)

        6. TWW*

          In that case “insist” is an odd word choice, especially coming from a professional communicator.

          The word means to demand forcefully or to not accept refusal, which sounds like the opposite of what your friend plans to do.

    2. StressedButOkay*

      From the letter, they aren’t saying they’re going to ask in the interview if the position can be full time remote. They’re applying to jobs that are only doing remote during COVID and then, once hired, insisting that they remain remote.

      I’m all for advocating what you want/need during the interview process – and sometimes, it won’t work and sometimes it will. But this isn’t that; this is a whole other animal.

    3. KHB*

      “I don’t see what’s so horrible about asking during the interview process if permanent remote work is a possibility. If it’s not, and this is a dealbreaker for the OP, everyone can just move on.”

      I guess it’s unclear what OP’s friend is planning on doing. You read it like that, which doesn’t seem so awful (although possibly a waste of time for all involved, like if you apply for a job that clearly states a salary range of $50-60K and then try to “negotiate” your way up to $100K); I read it to mean that she’s planning to apply for remote-for-now jobs, accept one of them, work remotely for a few months, and then when the employer says “OK, it’s time for everybody to come back to the office,” insist on staying remote. Which seems like a very good way to get yourself fired quickly.

      1. Jennifer*

        Yeah I read it the first way, but you could be right.

        I guess the word “insist” makes some people think of a spoiled child stomping her feet and demanding something, and I don’t think of it that way. For example, at my job, they are going to try to start reopening offices in the fall, but some people are negotiating a hybrid schedule, others are asking for (and getting) full-time remote schedules. What’s the harm in asking?

    4. Observer*

      I don’t see what’s so horrible about asking during the interview process if permanent remote work is a possibility. If it’s not, and this is a dealbreaker for the OP, everyone can just move on. How is this any different from negotiating any other benefit like a higher salary or more PTO?

      Except that this is explicitly NOT what the OP (actually their friend) is proposing to do. They are proposing to take the job, then once the employer starts calling people back “insisting” (that’s thew word the LW uses, not me) on being accommodated.

        1. Observer*

          Yeah, I saw that (after I posted.) I hope that the OP is correct that their friend is just expressing herself REALLY badly. Because if all it is, is “explaining” what she wants in an interview, that’s not a big deal.

        2. Anoni*

          The OP did come back and say she didn’t think her friend intended that, but that’s not the way it’s stated in the letter.

            1. Wisteria*

              I am curious about that. OP says about her friend,

              My work buddy (who was also working remotely before COVID for health reasons) is including “remote during COVID” positions in her job hunt and plans on insisting to be kept remote if there’s any pushback.

              (emphasis mine)
              That really says to me that Friend will take a temporarily remote job on insist on being kept remote after accepting it. What are you seeing that tells you Friend is intending to negotiate either during the interview or before accepting the offer?

              1. Jennifer*

                Well the OP has confirmed it above, but before that I guess because there’s nothing in the letter that says the friend was planning to take a job, work for a few months, and then refuse to work in the office if asked. People added that themselves. Everything in the letter is about the application process.

    5. Susan Calvin*

      Honestly, you have a point.
      OP’s friend is pretty clearly acting in bad faith, and generalizing that on-site work is never useful in their job is probably overshooting by a solid margin, but it’s definitely a better time than probably literally ever before to negotiate for WFH in a job you’re a strong candidate for!

      Case in point: my employer is VERY old-school corporate in many ways, and we’re not allowed to advertise jobs as fully remote (and to be fair, onboarding and training has proven to be a lot more successful in person, despite extensive experience with doing the actual work in globally distributed teams), but for the right candidate, many hiring managers would absolutely start a riot to make a WFH contract materialize.

    6. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      Of course, if she (the friend) asks about perma-remote work during the interview and ideas about how it could work… the other possibility that can happen is that the company thinks “you know what, perma-remote is actually possible for this role, we were thinking it had to go back to being in-person but I guess it doesn’t now that we’ve discussed it. We can open up the position to fully remote and find someone better than OP’s friend!”

      1. Jennifer*

        Are you saying they’d remove her from consideration simply for asking the question? Or just that going fully remote opens them to accept applications from people all over the country so she’d be shooting herself in the foot?

        1. Eliza*

          I think they’re saying the opposite: that putting the issue of making the job permanently remote on the table when applying/interviewing might make the employer consider it when they hadn’t previously, if the candidate is strong enough.

  24. Ray Gillette*

    If your current office is really that bad, perhaps what you really hate isn’t in-office work, but work in that office.

  25. Green Goose*

    This question is very timely for me, because I have a sinking feeling that one of my direct reports is going to try to do this and I’m dreading it. They are really great but they don’t want to come back to the office. They ended up moving further away during the pandemic and have tried various ways to pushback against coming back. I don’t mind remote work but unfortunately it’s not up to me and its the hill to die on for our leadership. Sigh.

    I’m actually curious if my direct report will just not come in and sees what happens, which I really hope is not the case because then I’ll be stuck in the middle. I’ve asked point blank if coming in is a deal breaker but they won’t answer directly so we’re both in a bit of limbo.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      For what it’s worth, I think you can say directly, “It seems like we’re dancing around this and we’re now at the point where I need your actual answer so I can plan accordingly.”

    2. NerdyKris*

      My boss said “I need you in the office by X date, can you do that”, at which point one person revealed they’d moved out of state. They had a discussion where he explained that it would be a requirement of the job, and if the employee couldn’t do that they’d need to resign, taking the last few weeks to transfer duties.

      He didn’t really discuss the pros and cons of remote work, because those of us who have been in the office all year were starting to very loudly tell our manager that we needed those people in the office to help and that it was starting to get unfair. (One was bragging about being on the porch enjoying the fresh air during a meeting, I almost lost it.)

        1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

          Right? Did they tell payroll? Cause taxes are going to get interesting…

  26. Chickaletta*

    OP, I think if you want to work remote 100% going forward, there are plenty of jobs out there that offer that. Leave the on-site work for people who can/want to be in the office. Everyone wins that way.

  27. I should really pick a name*

    Wouldn’t it be easier and more reliable to ask them if it could be converted to permanent remote if you get an interview?

    1. AndersonDarling*

      That was my first thought, just ask! “Is there flexibility for working from home?” “Do other team member work from home?” “Working from home is important to me, is that something that would work in this role?”
      It could be that the OP’s friend would need to commit to 6 months in the office to train, or that they could work from home 2 out of 3 days a week.
      At this point, if the OP’s friend is hired then it will be time to go back into the office in a month or two. Do they really think that they will go through training/onboarding and then just say “Nope! I never planned on coming into the office. Gotcha!”

  28. OP*

    Hi Alison, thank you for your advice and that is more or less what I expected. I do want to clarify that *I* am NOT applying for temporarily remote positions—this was something my friend was talking about doing. Her approach struck me as odd and risky, hence why I wanted to ask about it

    I understand people’s greivances with the phrase “boomertastic” but please don’t say I’m applying to temp-remote positions when I explicitly said I wasn’t doing that and found it questionable.

    1. Kitano*

      For what it’s worth, I sympathize with your frustration about out-of-date leadership (which, while not strictly a ‘boomer’ trend, is much more common from that generation because they occupy the majority of leadership positions, at least in my industry). I’ve seen leadership in my own workplace harp at length about how ‘we miss so many serendipitous opportunities when we’re not in person! so many amazing brainstorming sessions!!’……..but in reality, 99% of those ‘serendipitous drop-ins’ are actually scheduled appointments that leadership just forgot about, and we don’t have ‘amazing brainstorming sessions’ because leadership refuses to start using Slack or answer emails in a timely fashion (where the junior staff actually do collaborate efficiently on a daily basis).

      Even as someone who absolutely concentrates better in an office and who will eagerly go back when I get the chance, I’m tired of hearing leadership talk about how remote work comes with so many drawbacks when they’re the ones putting those drawbacks in place by not taking the steps needed to adapt. While it’s not accurate to say that all jobs should (or can) go remote, there is probably a lot more potential for flexibility out there than leaders realize or want to admit to, and it’s frustrating to encounter that at every turn.

      1. Total*

        about out-of-date leadership

        Every generation harps out the out of touch leadership of the older folks. The boomers did it to the WWII generation, now they’re getting it from the millennials. The millennials will get it from Gen Z and later folks.

        Each generation (at both younger and older stages) is Absolutely Sure They’re Right And Also This Is Completely A Unique Situation.

        1. The Prettiest Curse*

          Oh, the most useful thing that I learned in school was when I found out during classics that people were saying that Young People Nowadays Are Absolutely Terrible And Therefore Society Is Totally Doomed all the way back in the second century A.D.
          People seem to find a way to complain about almost exactly the same things in every generation and every era of history.

          1. allathian*

            In the first century B.C. they were already saying that. But I bet that people have been saying that for as long as we’ve sat around the campfire in the evenings…

            But it’s rather consoling in a way, every generation has always complained about the conservative old fogeys and the irresponsible young whippersnappers, and no doubt future generations will continue to do the same, even if it isn’t all that constructive.

    2. Reba*

      This is a key clarification!

      (Also yes, it does sound like people are slamming you for your friend’s plan, people often forget things in the scroll down between the letter and the comments :) )

      Your instincts are on point, even beyond the question of your friend’s idea to include the nature of the actual potential jobs. As others have noted, success with remote work depends so much on how the organization is set up to facilitate it. Places that have gone remote under duress and want to end it asap may be more likely to *not* be set up for success. Just because your work is digital doesn’t mean it will flow well with remote work long term, depending on so many factors! Good luck with the search.

    3. twocents*

      I would take OP to mean “the person the original letter is discussing” and not take it personally. The comments are really just discussing the scenario, not you personally.

      1. Kella*

        I can’t really think of another time when “OP” has been used that way, though. If we’re discussing a problem coworker, that coworker isn’t then called the OP. The person who wrote in about it is the OP. It also doesn’t make sense to say “you” instead of “they” if you’re referring to someone who’s not in the conversation, and most people in the comments are saying “you.”

        1. OP*

          Honestly, it’s on me that it’s being read this way. I realize now I should’ve given her a pseudonym like “Zoe” or “Anna” or whatever. It makes it harder to read my question. I was so caught up in the question of “Is my friend a genius risk-taker or is this going to blow up in her face?” that I left out some much needed context and clarity. Major yikes.

          1. Uranus Wars*

            I think when reading through these in your mind if you read OP as “Zoe” then you will realize it really is about the situation. But when we don’t have a name we default to OP, even if you are writing about your friend.

          2. Macaroni Penguin*

            Yeah. I expect most of the You references are a *general all encompassing waves hands* You. Or a shorthand for OP1’s friend. At least, that’s how I intended my You addressed comment.

  29. BRR*

    For your friend’s plan, I also think it’s likely to come up during an interview. So if her plan was to start the job and hope for the best, I don’t think she’ll get that far. And it would be some serious bridge burning to lie in an interview about being fine going into the office then demanding to work remote.

    1. OP*

      Yes, I believe her plan is to bring it up should she get an interview. It would be very out-of-character for her to lie her way through the hiring process.

      But me? Nope, I am just not comfortable with applying to temp-remote positions and then challenging that format in an interview—interviews are already stressful enough as is!

      1. Boof*

        I know you don’t want to do it yourself but I do think it’s ok if you put it on the initial application and employers can decide if they are open to it.

      2. Wisteria*

        Well, you don’t have to approach it as a challenge. In fact, if you approach it as a question, you are more likely to have an open discussion. Something like, “What are the plans for coming back to the office? Is there any room to remain fully remote or to have a hybrid-remote option?” I think that’s fair, and the worst that happens is they take you out of the running for a job that doesn’t match your needs anyway.

  30. Not So Super-visor*

    I know that we’ve all piled on the “boomertastically out-of-touch” comment, but it’s with good reason. It makes the OP seem out-of-touch with potential business needs. As an elder millennial who manages a group of 30, we are calling my group back in September unless there is a large spike. I stand behind the decision as it was based on business needs that my group was not fully meeting while working remotely despite hiring additional people into the group. While their jobs can be done remotely, it was not ideal for the business, and the business made due as we were trying to protect our employees.

    1. LizM*

      Yup. I’m not sure what you call me – I saw geriatric millennial the other day? X-ennial? I don’t know, I was born in the early 1980s. But I manage an office of about 25, I have 5 direct reports. I have noticed certain processes breaking down in the last year, and we do need to eventually come back to the office. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this and talking with my peers.

      My team includes communications professionals, and we work closely with our regional office’s social media team. They need to be on site for some things – I’m fine if they telework the majority of the time, but I don’t want to deal with having to pay and process travel when we need them to come in and take pictures, attend meetings, etc. (which we would have to do if they were permanently remote). There is an added burden to our admin team if we have 100% remote employees too. They’ve made it work throughout the last year (and we’ve paid a significant amount in overtime to do so).

      I get if OP decides that she needs a remote position, but I wouldn’t assume that employers haven’t thought through the decision to not offer a position remotely.

  31. Jill of all trades*

    I do social media for a small company, I have to be in the office because that is where the physical product, camera, lights etc are located. I understand not all social media jobs include creating assets, but I thought I would mention it as the OP seems very sure that social media jobs can be done remotely and that is not the case.

    1. Sunnyside Up*

      Was going to comment the same. Social media is essentially marketing and communications. It’s just another medium into which content gets spliced. In most places, it crosses over with lots of other communications/marketing folks, with whom you may need to interact in-person. And it requires you to be at events, or taking photos, or otherwise actively doing the things, and/or creating the content, that you’re then posting about.

  32. Overeducated*

    I think it’s at least valid to ask about what the limits of remote work are going to look like when the return to the office will happen, though. I took a new job during COVID, and was aware it was not going to be remote forever, but spoke to the hiring manager about how much I value telework and my hopes to continue with it at some level after the office reopens. The larger organizational policy still isn’t set, and I expect the absolute bare minimum will be a day in the office a week, but my boss knows that I don’t want to be back in the office 5 days a week and is supportive of that. (Things could change, based on the new policy or a new boss, in which case I’ll job search again, but this is a worthwhile discussion to have if you’re willing to go into the office at ALL.)

  33. Chc34*

    I agree that trying to pull a bait-and-switch is a bad idea; however, I actually ended up in my current job a couple months ago by applying to a job that was not listed as remote and just being completely upfront in my cover letter that I would not relocate back to NYC, where the job was based, but if they were open to hiring a fully remote employee, I would be interested – and I got the job. So I do think some companies might be more open to the right remote candidate, and they might be shifting in ways that haven’t made it to job postings yet, than they would have been in the past and it might not hurt to apply if it seems like you found the right fit. The key, of course, is to be totally upfront about it initially so they can pass if it’s a true dealbreaker.

    1. Fran Fine*

      I do this as well and have had mixed results. In fact, I’m about to do this for another job.

    2. Boof*

      Yes! It’s ok to apply just LW should be clear what they want up front and employer can decide if it’s actually OK before anyone commits to anything and gets sour if someone tries to change it up later.

    3. Rosemary*

      This is how you handle it. I am currently hiring for a job that can potentially be 100% remote, but we are not advertising it as such because ideally we will at some point be back in the office at least part of the time. I would say about 25-30% of the resumes I have gotten are from people who are not in our city. All things being equal I would prefer to hire someone local, but am more than willing to talk to and consider 100% remote for the right candidate.

  34. aunttora*

    Before “all this” happened, my office moved to a “next gen” environment in the name of “collaboration”. Open, no assigned seating, pack up your station at the end of every day etc. /vom
    In reality and shocking no one, it was an effort to cram the max people into the least square footage. It was hellish. Then covid hit, and everyone became WFH immediately. We’re still WFH until at least Labor Day, and the rumor is after that the model will be, come in only if there is a compelling reason to do so. I don’t actually like 100% WFH it turns out, but OTOH it’s better than going back to the “next gen” office that was misery. That one VP that would sit next to me and proceed to crack and eat pistachios all day? /shudder
    The part that’s interesting to me is that the collaboration “cover” is completely blown now, since most people will be remote most of the time, there won’t be the possibility of “water cooler” conversation or ad hoc meetings. The stated reason for eliminating offices/cubes in the first place.
    At this point I would like to go in a semi-regular schedule, just to get back into the habit of, you know, brushing my hair…and for the cafeteria and on-site gym. But I also would like to move from this insanely expensive locale to someplace I could afford. No resolution yet, but it is an interesting time we’re living in!

  35. Ori*

    I work in digital, and I find that digital agencies can be more conservative about facetime than regular industry. E.g. a friend who works in admin, and another in the charitable sector have been fully remote since last March. We’ve boomeranged between home and office for the past 18 months.

    Also, you’re just operating in bad faith. I have enormous sympathy for anyone who chooses to resign / job hunt rather than go back to the office. But you can’t try to trick or force people.

  36. Caroline Bowman*

    The thing is, leaving aside the nasty pejorative the OP used (I’m not a boomer btw!), it seems… stereotypical of *a different, younger generation* whom some might categorise as… more sensitive… to think that this course of action is fair and right.

    It’s not. Apply for fully remote jobs or apply for roles where there’s flexibility or whatever it is that you think would work best for your circumstances and don’t apply in bad faith. It seems obvious.

  37. Eden*

    I hope this is ok per the mod note, as I am not actually complaining that “boomertastically” is an insult – as a millennial, I just wish WFH fans realized there are plenty of millennials who are dreading seeing their jobs becoming permanently remote. I am one of them and I wish it weren’t seen as an obvious fact that WFH is something all workers want and all management teams oppose.

    1. Nanani*

      But they’re specifically in an all-digital job. It’s not about age (OPs word choice aside) but about the type of job they’re doing. When your whole work is online, commuting to an office makes a lot less sense than it does for other jobs.

        1. KHB*

          I’m a little older than you are, but I agree with you. All the core functions of my job can be done from anywhere in the world with an internet connection, but I really miss all the little things about having all my coworkers so close by – the impromptu hallway chats, the ease of swinging by someone’s office when you have a quick question, the meetings-not-by-Zoom, etc. We’ve done without those things for the past year because we had to, but I’d be really sad if we had to do without them forever.

      1. Boof*

        I know my husband does digital work and he MUCH prefers to have an “work” place he can go to because it helps him focus much better. (his case is weird because it’s a hobby attempting to go pro type of thing but same idea all digital and we have everything he needs at home but he functions much better when he is in with other people who are also working on similar things and who he can bounce stuff off ad hoc and with the set schedule / lack of distractions living with two young kids entails)

        1. it's me*

          I’m a tech writer and an introvert and I still prefer the “division” of having an office to physically go to and come home from. Although of course I understood why it was necessary, I hated feeling ‘trapped’ at home all the time.

      2. LDN Layabout*

        The idea that ‘all-digital’ means ‘easy to do everything remotely’ is the issue here. I do data analysis, primarily on my own or supporting others on projects. It’s been simple moving to wfh and yet I can’t wait to be back in the office with the opportunity to both work collaboratively and also have in person conversations that I know the lack of has stymied some of the work we do.

      3. Sunnyside Up*

        But it’s not an all-digital job. It often involves hands-on creating content — ie. taking photos, interviewing people, or covering events. The output is digital, but the process of getting there isn’t necessarily.

  38. bmj*

    I’ll tell you what, as a manager, this would leave a really bad taste in my mouth. My company would be likely to let you go, effective immediately, if you pulled that. At that point, it’s no longer a question of whether the work can be done remotely, but rather whether you are in sync with the way things work at the org. We are willing to work with employees going fully remote depending on what we know about the job, the team, the person, and their track record; the company wants to keep good staff. But an ultimatum like that that is in the form of a bait-and-switch would take all of those options off the table.

    1. Jennifer*

      I don’t think they are planning to give an ultimatum, just asking if staying remote is possible, which a lot of people are doing nowadays.

      1. Boof*

        The point it depends a lot on how it’s done; apply to temp remote, and say on the cover letter that you’re actually looking for full time remote, and make sure it’s sealed at the offer stage? OK
        Apply, say you’re fine with remote or in person, get the job, and then when it’s time to go back in say “no I’ll quit you can’t make me?” – lot more ill will.

        1. bmj*

          @jennifer – it sounded to me like the LW’s friend was making it an ultimatum of sorts, even if not in so many words. If the office says “staff need to start coming back in the office on X day,” and the friend says no, there’s no where to really go in that conversation. if it was presented as “I’d like to go remote if possible” and the person really means that they’d still be fine if they have to come back, that’s slightly different, but they have to be prepared for no to be the most likely answer when the jobs are being advertised as temp remote. especially from a new employee. There is no new employee so valuable that we wouldn’t consider this a red flag.

      2. Jennifer Strange*

        Except the OP’s exact words were “plans on insisting to be kept remote if there’s any pushback”. That’s not asking, that is giving an ultimatum.

        1. Jennifer*

          The OP indicated above that they were planning about asking about this during the application process, not after they have accepted a job. I don’t know why people keep adding details to the letter that aren’t there.

          1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

            I’m only speaking for myself. The two reasons I keep thinking OP is suggesting forcing the issue are:

            1) I keep accidentally conflating OP and their work friend*.
            2) I’m commenting on the concept/idea of forcing a company to allow WFH, using OP as a strawperson/stand-in.

            *The letter does say OP’s work friend is planning to spring this on the company after being hired, not discussing it during the interview process.

          2. Jennifer Strange*

            Because the OP added that detail into the letter in the first place? I quoted it from the letter, I didn’t just pull it out of thin air. If she initially chose a poor word to express what the plan was fine, but you seem confused that people took her words at face value rather than reading her mind and figuring out that what she really meant was something else.

            1. Jennifer*

              There’s nothing in the letter that says she would take the job and insist on remaining remote after she was asked to return to work. It says she would apply to remote during covid jobs and insist on staying remote.

              1. Jennifer Strange*

                Okay? I never claimed that the letter said that she would insist upon it only after being hired. What I said was that the word “insist” indicated an ultimatum rather than her simply “asking to stay if possible”, which was your claim. I don’t know why you’re adding a detail to my response that isn’t there.

              2. gyrfalcon17*

                It doesn’t make linguistic sense to me to “insist on staying remote” unless you’re already remote — that is, already hired and working remotely.

                The OP has explained above that she thinks her friend means to raise it in the interview, rather than after starting the job. That being so, I think it was very poorly worded in the OP’s letter.

                1. Boof*

                  Yes OP later clarified, original letter didn’t say how OP’s friend was going about it, nor make it clear that OP wasn’t at all planning to do this, more that OP was uncertain about how risky it was. OP did later clarify in the comments, which posters may or may not always hunt for/catch.

  39. Tequila & Oxford Commas*

    I’ve worked remotely for the past nine years, eight of them as one of just a few remote employees with 99% of staff in a single in-person location, and now, due to the pandemic, as part of a fully remote department (returning in-person in hybrid mode sometime this fall).

    OP, you’re not wrong that the mechanics of your job can be done from anywhere. An important point to consider is the “soft” aspects that will be much more challenging if you’re remote, especially if most colleagues are in the office. It will be harder to make personal connections that can make your day-to-day life easier and give you opportunities for growth, professional development, and advancement. You’ll sometimes be the last to know about office news or policy changes. It’ll be harder to pick up on company culture — which is so vital to have a good grasp on for social media — and you’ll lose out on some of the nuances of communications (body language, tone, and all the extra info we get from non-verbal communication) if you’re on email, slack, or speakerphone.

    That’s not to say you shouldn’t push for a fully remote position; those trade-offs might be worth it to you and that’s your call to make, but it might be helpful to hear from someone who’s been there. I’m incredibly glad that I had several years in the office before I went fully remote, which gave me time to build my network and build my reputation so that I could compensate for some of the downsides to being offsite and still continue to advance in my career. Thanks in part of the foundation I laid while I was in-person, I have so many more options; I’m now skilled enough and senior enough that I have leverage to negotiate the work environment of my choice!

    1. allathian*

      You’re bringing up some very good points. I enjoy WFH, but I don’t think I’d enjoy onboarding at a new job nearly as much if I had to do it from home. Getting to know your coworkers in person can be invaluable in ways that are sometimes difficult to quantify.

  40. AndersonDarling*

    There are major employers in my area that are super old-school, pantyhose required companies and I don’t think they would ever allow WFH. Not no way, not no how. If the OP’s friend is not networking to know these norms, then they may get hired somewhere where just pressing the question would get them fired.

  41. zebra*

    I think one thing people aren’t taking into account with this push to insist on remote work is that working remotely really only can be accomplished if *lots* of people are remote and the company does some top-down work to incorporate remote folks in all their systems. I think in many companies where most people are going back in-person soon and a few will stay remote, those few will learn pretty quickly that it really sucks to be the only remote person on your team. Every single other person on the team needs to be willing to make accommodations like everyone signing into zoom on their own computers when five people are sitting around a conference table and one is remote, and making sure someone remembers to send you an email to tell you about a decision that got made during a group lunch you weren’t at. Unless those practices are baked in at a higher level, the remote holdouts will quickly find themselves alienated from everything that’s happening in person. For some roles this is probably fine, but for many others, it’s a recipe for disaster.

    People who have discovered they never want to leave home again should be looking specifically for roles at companies who are willing to prioritize remote work, not trying to force their way into a situation that’s almost guaranteed to fail for everyone.

    1. Shan*

      Yes, my company is planning on being permanently “flexible” – i.e., it’s up to you and your manager, as long as your job is being done well. But my VP is the only one who is consistently remote, and he was stressing in a meeting last week about how we need to make sure to include WFH people (via Teams) whenever we spontaneously hash something out in the hallway or whatever, and like… that’s just not going to happen. He was also really angry that he’d felt left out during an Executives meeting that he was the only one not in-office for, and I felt bad for him, but I also kind of think that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

      1. LizM*

        Yeah. I think this is even more true for new employees who people don’t know. I know for me, if I’m chatting in the cafeteria on a topic, I may think “Bob has strong feelings on this topic, I should loop him in before we make a decision.” Without that background/personal knowledge, it’d be easier to forget to loop in OP.

        1. zebra*

          Yeah, exactly. And there are some roles where a lack of inclusion in hallway conversations and spontaneous social time won’t really make a difference, but there are lots more where it will. We have one remote person on our team (who has always been remote) and honestly, they just get left out of a lot of stuff. It’s really hard to include them in the camaraderie the rest of us get just by sitting near each other and having casual water cooler conversations. It must be doubly hard to start a new job under those circumstances.

          1. allathian*

            Yes, this. To be fair, some people couldn’t care less if they’re excluded from the office camaraderie, as long as they can do their job in peace without constant interruptions. Especially if the exclusion happens out of their sight and they still feel appreciated for the work they do, rather than judged for the personality they don’t bring to the team.

            I honestly don’t miss hallway conversations with my team very much, because I feel we have enough non-work chat as icebreakers during our meetings to keep that connection alive. I do, however, miss the hallway conversations with people I don’t work with regularly, and have no real reason to call for a chat, even if I often grabbed a coffee with them at the office.

            I’ll be glad to go back to some sort of hybrid system, which we already had before the pandemic, and I definitely wouldn’t want to start a new job WFH.

  42. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

    Yes, you can. I wouldn’t advise it. My money’s on it ending poorly–either your resignation because you can’t meet the attendance requirement, your dismissal for cause for not meeting the attendance requirement, or the in-office work you’re trying to avoid (In this case, “you” is your work friend).

  43. Macaroni Penguin*

    Sure, you can do that. It’s not a fantastic idea in my opinion, but you could accept a job using that strategy. Though you’d have to be okay with the possibility of 1) having an office based job eventually, 2) unemployment and/or 3) annoying companies in your industry. People tend not to like manipulative situations where others are operating in bad faith. And that’s what you’d be doing to your new employer here. It’s a much better idea to focus on applying for permanent remote jobs, or negotiating such an arrangement up front.

  44. Kella*

    OP, I know people are giving you a pretty hard time in the comments. While I agree with some of he criticism, I wanted to also give you the benefit of the doubt: Is it possible that your current “hell office” has warped you or your coworker’s perception of relations between workers and their employers? Did your employer refuse to acknowledge that your job was easily transferable to WFH despite plenty of evidence that it was? Did your employer have a tendency to ignore the needs of their workers and/or did employees have to pick up responsibilities that the employer should’ve handled? Are bait and switches common at your workplace as a means of getting your needs met?

    I ask this because I know in the past, when I dismissed the abilities of potential managers or companies, it was because I had *only* experienced incompetent managers and companies. I thought I knew better because in the past *I did* and if I hadn’t acted on that knowledge, I would’ve lost my source of income.

    I’m hoping that since you read Ask a Manager, you’ll see the success stories from people who work from functioning, considerate companies and you’ll be able to shift your expectations about potential future employers.

    1. Program Manager*

      This empathetic comment was so refreshing to read!

      I just finished reading Oprah’s “what happened to you?” and have been trying to apply that more in my day to day life. I feel like you set a great example of asking “what happened to you?” rather than “what’s wrong with you?” and I appreciate it since I hadn’t looked at the OP’s situation from that perspective.

  45. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    Just because the output is all digital doesn’t mean that you’re not going to have tactile, analog inputs.

    If your company deals with physical things, then you can shorten the feedback loop drastically with, eg photographers, by being in the same room.
    *Photographer sets up widget on pedestal, arranges lighting and backdrop.
    *Photographer shoots some pictures and transfers them to you.
    *You attempt to compose tweet or blog post with photos – but photos needs to be tweaked to be (darker/more contrasty/bigger/different focus/product arranged differently) in order to look good.
    *Photographer re-lights, etc. and re-shoots.

    If you and the photographer aren’t right next to each other and free from any distraction, that 10-minute loop can stretch to an hour or more. Running through the loop a dozen times can be done in one session, as opposed to 2 days. That’s a huge difference.

  46. Lora*

    I am (as an older Gen Xer) actually agreeing with the whole “this job needs butts in seats!” thing OP is pointing to. What put me in the “no, f-k you, this is a work from home job and you managers know it, you’re just being petty now” was Jamie Dimon on the news insisting that all the financial analysts needed to be at work in person.

    No. This is a job that can be done from home. I know because I have worked for many companies that used hedge funds to offset R&D risk, and they worked remotely ALL THE TIME. If they weren’t working from a cloistered tower in Basel with no interaction with their fellow humans other than to get a cup of Nescafe and say hi to the concierge/guard, they were working from their yacht or their vacation home and helicoptering in for meetings occasionally (god I wish I was kidding about that, but one Big Pharma in particular was notorious for the executive helicopter service during mass layoffs). They weren’t in the office even when they had very nice offices. Miraculously nobody thought they were grossly incompetent or anything.

    Now, to be clear, I don’t think OP’s friend’s strategy is actually going to *work*, I think companies are going to balk and say “hey, we told you this job needed to be in the office, get yer butt in here or we’ll call our second-favorite candidate.” What I agree with is that a lot of managers are being gratuitous about butts in seats.

    I am telling you with my Facilities Planning hat on: office space costs money, and depending on location it can be a LOT of money. I am constantly being meowed at to minimize office space, maximize production space. We went from offices to cubes to shared cubes to hoteling. Insisting that you have to have office space for all those people is showing how much money you have to set on fire, like driving a Maserati to work and wearing designer suits. Nobody needs that crap – they just want it. Jamie Dimon can have a dress code stating that all the JPMorgan employees shall wear Ferragamos and Armani if he wants, but it will not make his financial analysts or traders make smarter decisions or make them better at math. It’s purely an “I wanna set money on fire for fun” move. And as such, he can shove it sideways for all I care.

  47. Boof*

    LW I think the better plan is to go ahead and apply to the temp remote jobs BUT STATE UP FRONT you are actually looking for full time remote. How many times at AAM have we said it’s ok to apply to jobs that you don’t have all the requirements for if 1) you do think you could still do it and 2) you are clear up front about what you like (another classic example – someone looking for part time applying for full time positions, but clearly stating they want part time up front)

    1. goducks*

      Yes. I think waiting even to get an interview to mention it is too late. Stating it in the application allows the employer to decide if they’re even willing to consider it. This requirement may be completely firm, and it may be a strong preference, and it may be a mild preference. Giving the employer the information allows them to decide whether an interview would be a waste of time for both parties.

  48. MrsFillmore*

    To the LW, it sounds like you’re pretty set on remote work only, which may be the best option for you personally. One thing, though, that you might consider, is whether or not you want to expand your search to positions that are eligible for regular telework but still require 1 or 2 days/week presence and/or presence at events. The non-profit where I work has always been somewhat open to regular telework, and will be much more so post-Covid. However, we have a number of major events during the year that are held in the same city as our main US office. Communications positions at our org are not remote work eligible because we require comms staff to attend major events (which is relevant to digital media work, ie taking photos, listening to a speaker and making realtime posts, manning live screens with social feeds etc) and we cannot pay for travel for remote staff in other cities to attend. However, outside of events telework schedule can be quite flexible for these staff, with many teleworking 4 or more days per week. If a position is eligible for regular telework, I think there’s more of an opening to discuss, and you might even find that you enjoy occasional in-person work in a more functional organization.

  49. CorporateRecruiterinVA*

    As a corporate recruiting manager, I have been in the front row to see this go terribly wrong in the job offer and negotiation process. Absolutely DO NOT spring this pressure at the 99th hour thinking it will work out in your favor (obvious exception being if you have, as Allison said, super in demand, small market for, skills or experience – I do not sense this is the case here given how you described your experience). To be clear, I am SUPER pro-WFH and hybrid work situations for my team and for me. However, there are tradeoffs to that and it is no small lift to overcome gaps in learning and growth that normally occur at a faster pace when you are in close physical proximity on a semi-regular basis and can learn in real time from the people around you. You have no idea what the team is at these orgs, what the culture is like, and what those tradeoffs are that the team manager is trying to make by not having a full remote role. You could ask potential employers at the onset of an interview process how open they might be to long term WFH or hybrid work. Good recruiters and hiring managers are getting this question a lot and good companies will be able to answer this well for you and help you understand those tradeoffs and whys.

  50. OP*

    As I’m reading the comments I realize I was maybe a bit too vague about my buddy’s plan. I fully understood her to mean she was applying to temp-remote positions and then insisting on staying remote *during an interview* should the hiring process get that far. She is really not the kind to be sneaky or lie. I was reading Alison’s advice with the understanding that it still wouldn’t play out well in an interview.

    It seems like a lot of commenters believe this will be done in a wholly underhanded way—and I totally get why that would be inappropriate! Though I wouldn’t be surprised if there are people out there planning a sneakier approach, so I hope those folks are reading through the forewarnings here.

    1. Fran Fine*

      I mean, she could ask early on an initial interview, but she risks turning the HR rep/hiring manager off that way – they’ll probably feel like their time was wasted because had they known she was going to request this set up, they would have bypassed her application altogether.

      This is why when I apply to jobs that aren’t clearly permanent remote, I bring up my desire for remote work in the cover letter and state that if they’re open to letting the role be fully WFH, then they can contact me, but if not, no harm no foul. Companies who aren’t interested will either ignore my application or send me a rejection letter. The ones that are open to it will contact me and we’ll talk about what a possible WFH set up would look like.

    2. Sparkles McFadden*

      Ah…that is different.

      I can see applying for such a position and, if you get to the interview stage, having an earnest discussion about why the company wants the employee to be in person. You could even have a discussion about having a two or three days each week to be remote so you can focus and concentrate and see how that is received. Such open discussions should be part of the interviewing process. Your friend will likely know from such a discussion whether or not it will work out. (…and it might not work out for whole host of other reasons.)

      I would not, however, make it a *demand*, especially not during an interview, because that can come off as combative. If a job offer comes, your friend could say “I have come to the decision that I really need to work remotely full time, so this isn’t the right job for me.” Then the hiring manager can move on to someone else. Who knows? Maybe a fully remote position will open up there in the future.

    3. Observer*

      I think it would probably not play out all the well in an interview either. But is she drops the “insist” part, it’s not terrible. Most places won’t agree, but it won’t burn bridges or make her memorable in a bad way. If she DOES insist, that’s likely to make a very bad impression.

      Before anyone jumps down my throat: It doesn’t matter if it SHOULD be that way. It IS the case that if a job applicant “insists” that a job be done THEIR way at the interview stage, it’s NOT going to over well in the vast majority of cases.

    4. gbca*

      I actually don’t completely disagree with your friend’s approach…this is basically what HR screens were made for. The reality is that many job ads are not carefully crafted, they’re often quickly cobbled together by a very busy hiring manager, or just grabbed off the shelf from a prior req. I think it’s reasonable to say, “what is the plan for post-pandemic work; will the job be expected to be fully in office, flexible to WFH, or is there the possibility of fully remote”? It’s definitely possible you get a favorable answer. This is completely different than taking a job and then insisting on fully remote when the time comes.

      I would also say it depends a little bit on how much your friend (or you) truly wants 100% remote vs, let’s say, 1-2 days/week in the office. I think the latter might be more likely to swing vs 100% remote in a job that advertised as temporarily remote. Seems to me that all but the most conservative companies/industries are going to be more flexible on WFH for jobs that allow it.

    5. Macaroni Penguin*

      Oh, well that does change things a bit. It’s less risky to politely inquire if a job can be permanently work from home. The hiring manager/HR may or may not be slightly annoyed to screen out an applicant who’s only interested in permanent work from home rolls. However, it’s still theoretically a bad idea to “insist” that a role must be remote.

      Maybe it would work better if your friend was clear in her cover letter that she’s looking for a permanent work from home position? Even if the job application lists temporary work from home? If the employer is firm on the job being in person, they’d just pass on your friend’s application early in the hiring process.

    6. allathian*

      “Insist” is a bad word, because it makes it sound like the LW’s friend was going to demand in the interview that the company hires them on their own terms, and the friend is really not in a position to do that.

      For some reason it feels better to say that the ability to WFH would be a dealbreaker for the LW’s friend. The friend is free to request it, and the company is free to reject that request. I still think that requesting 100% remote work in the interview would be too late, it would be better to state the dealbreaker in a cover letter.

  51. sofar*

    I want to push back on the sentiment that “COVID proved we can allllll do our jobs 100% remotely.” Or that, “I’ll prove I can do this job remotely as a new hire, and then they’ll just let me keep doing that.”

    A lot of offices went 100% remote because they HAD to. And that’s super different from a company that, before the pandemic, set up a remote work foundations and did it thoughtfully.

    I’m a millennial, and I’ve noticed that our company doesn’t really thrive remotely. Even when it comes to 100% digital/social media/online publishing roles. And I’ve also noticed my working relationships have deteriorated significantly (since my field is so collaborative). We’re moving towards a “flex” situation where people WFH some days a week, but we have in-person meetings and in-office workstations. And I think that’s a good thing. The idea of “I can do my job remotely” is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to how an organization functions. And the assumption that reasonable, thriving organizations can ALL find a way to go 100% remote is naive.

    1. Public Sector Manager*

      I agree. On my team of 22 people, I would say roughly 30% want to work from home permanently. Very few actually want to be in the office every day. But the vast majority want a flex schedule–to start the day at home, get to work between 8:30 am and 10 am, and then leave between 1:30 pm and 3 pm to finish the work day from home.

      Employers who stand behind a “bucket of remote hours” approach rather than focusing on how many “days” someone will be in the office are going to be ahead of the curve.

      1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        I’ve never heard of the “bucket of remote hours” philosophy, but I like how it looks on paper. It’ll be interesting to see how it ages.

  52. Jill*

    You say this isn’t specifically you applying for this job but the out of touch comment seems like a quote from you, not your friend, and that’s a not a great attitude to have when job searching. Just because the kind of work you do now is all digital doesn’t mean that the company you work for will only have you doing digital things. You don’t work for them yet to know if there’s legitimate reasons to be in or if your boss just wants a paper printout of every post on his desk in the mornings and no one has ever been able to convince him he should just go online or whatever stupid nonsense we see on this site all the time, it’s out of touch but it’s still your job at that point.

  53. Heffalump*

    If a new hire seemingly accepted the conditions of the job at the outset and then began balking however many weeks/months in, I’d feel they’d wasted my time. I wouldn’t be pleased.

  54. Sparkles McFadden*

    Look LW, I get where you are coming from, but companies can specify anything they want just because…that’s what they want. If that doesn’t match what you want, then it’s not the place for you. The people doing the hiring have their reasons for what they want and they are not going to go into detail justifying their requirements to each potential hire. They are putting the requirements right up front. No one is indispensable, especially not the brand new hire. The hiring manager has a whole list of people they already interviewed and can easily contact one of those people to say “We have another opening. Are you still interested?”

    Take it from a person who dumped a brand new hire when she suddenly made all sorts of new demands and said “I’m the person you hired out of everyone else so I am worth more money than I agreed to and I want to work fewer days per week.” I said “As per our our discussion when you were hired, you are in a probationary period where we can terminate your employment for any reason. Best of luck to you.” Then I called my second choice and she was still available. That was all in the same day.

    I get that you want do what’s best for you, and maybe you or your friend don’t care about burning bridges, but operating in bad faith can easily become a habit. Don’t become someone people cannot trust.

    1. Quickbeam*

      Well said! We terminated a new employee on our team because the week she was hired she refused to drive anywhere. It was an essential function of the job and not an ADA issue. And it wasn’t a lot of driving or very often, just necessary. She thought once she had the job she could do an end run around the requirement. Nope.

  55. anonforthis*

    Hi OP! Thanks for all your clarifying comments. Its very difficult to know what recruitment will look like in a post-COVID world. For positions that are listed as temporary remote, definitely see no issue in your friend sending a note to a hiring manager and saying “Hi there, I’m interested in x position – is this a role you would consider a full-time remote candidate for?” I wouldn’t wait until the interview (or certainly the offer), as then you have to spend time on a cover letter / resume that may not even be considered.

  56. Michelle Smith*

    I think the way the letter describes the friend’s approach and the way Alison interpreted as well is indeed a recipe for disaster. I don’t think there is anything wrong with applying for the job and then either (1) asking the recruiter/HR in the phone screen about the office-wide telework policy and whether there is any room for remote or hybrid-remote employment on a permanent basis either immediately or after a period of time of working with the company OR (2) going through the interview process, getting an offer, and then attempting to negotiate for a permanent remote or hybrid-remote position before accepting.

    I would note however that while I don’t see anything wrong with either of those two approaches, it is still unlikely to be successful. And even if she is able to get them to agree, unless it is built into an employment contract (which is highly uncommon to have in my country, which prioritizes at-will employment), if the business needs change or management changes, it’s highly likely to get rescinded. And that’s especially likely if this person is the only one who is approved to work remotely like this, while the rest of the team is showing up in person.

  57. RagingADHD*

    I don’t know what kind of social media work you do that you believe you never, ever need to meet with the marketing team as a whole, or work on campaign / strategy planning, or capture photo and video assets of the work being done, or of your co-workers, or have spontaneous creative consultations/brainstorming, or any of the myriad ways that (at least occasional) in-person work could up your game.

    But based on the social media work I’ve done in the past, I’d bet you could be doing better work and/or making better money if you understood why the employer wants that role on-site.

    I actually handed off my last social media contract because it was too frustrating to try to do everything that needed doing without being on-site, but it wasn’t logistically viable to work from their offices. For the level of work they wanted done, they really needed someone in-house. Literally.

  58. Sheldon Cooper*

    I have an employee that continues to request to stay remote now that she’s been notified that we’re returning to the office on a hybrid schedule. I don’t want to replace her, but “I don’t want to” isn’t a sufficient reason for an exception since it’ll open the door for a lot of other requests. I’m already annoyed by the continued requests though, and would take even less kindly to insisting.

    1. The Other Dawn*

      I completely agree with this. I don’t want to either, but I don’t have a choice in the matter and no amount of me whining to the CEO is going to change that. In fact, it’s sure to piss him off and yank hybrid altogether if enough people do that.

      1. Sheldon Cooper*

        I am worried that any signs of hybrid not working will cause them to pull that as an option. Personally, I’m happy enough with a 50/50 option and don’t want to lose that.

    2. Rosemary*

      Sounds like it is time to be very direct with her and say she will need to return to the office like everyone else, full stop, no more discussion. She may be sensing that you “don’t want to replace her” and is hoping that eventually you will cave. You are probably right that if you allow her to be 100% remote it will open the door to more requests. So you’ll need to be prepared to either grant those requests as well, or have a legitimate reason for allowing one employee the option but not the others (which you may reasonable be able to do, for instance if this employee have more seniority, their job is much more conducive to remote than others, etc)

    3. allathian*

      Absolutely. Because her insistence is starting to annoy you, maybe now would be the time to shut it down more firmly. Once she understands that she’s not going to be able to continue to WFH full time, she may well start looking for another job that would mean you’d have to replace her anyway, but I still think it would be a kindness to both of you if you made it clear once and for all that she’ll have to come in on a hybrid schedule like everyone else.

      Obviously, if she has a disability of some sort that would make WFH a reasonable accommodation, that would be a different story. I get the feeling she was fine working at the office before the pandemic…

      People are adaptable, most of us who have had the opportunity to WFH have probably done reasonably well. It took a while to adapt to WFH for many organizations and employees, no doubt returning to the office will require a similar adaptation, but it can be done.

  59. Hiring Mgr*

    I agree that purposely deceiving your employer isn’t likely to work out in your favor, but depending on your industry, role, location etc you may have more options than you think.

    There’s a huge labor crunch in many areas – if a company isn’t getting candidates or keeps losing out on the best ones, it’s possible they’ll change their policy (my co just did this last week!)

  60. Virtual Assistant*

    If OP thinks they are good at what they are doing – start your own business and sell your time. You decide then where to work, that is if you find the right clients.

    1. RagingADHD*

      Exactly. There are no shortage of businesses looking for freelance social media work done remotely.

    2. OP*

      I’ve considered it! I have done some small freelancing projects on the side, usually for close contacts, but have increasingly considered pivoting to freelance work as my main income. I was looking into it more seriously pre-covid but then the world got turned upside down. But it’s a good time for me to revisit those plans now—so thank you for bringing this up!

  61. VanLH*

    Of course you can take a job that is temporarily working from home and then when the temporary period ends demand on remaining working from home. Of course, you can also be fired for cause and receive no severance and have the company oppose your unemployment on the basis of your bait and switch and violation of the rules of the employer. Good luck with that.

  62. Caraway*

    One other consideration is that even if your job can be done fully remotely, your specific industry may not be set up for it. I have a job that many, many people do remotely very successfully (writing related), but I work in an industry that provides most services in person. We did temporarily switch to completely remote services, but we’ve been hybrid for months now and will be back fully on site next month. There’s definitely an argument to be made for continuing to provide virtual services going forward, but we’ll probably never stop providing in-person offerings, either. I could almost certainly find a similar job in a different industry that allowed me to work fully remote, but my current employer is extremely unlikely to ever let an employee be 100% remote, regardless of what their job is, and no matter how compelling their argument for it was.

  63. Esmeralda*

    I kind of love “boomertastically.” As someone at the tail-end of the boomers, I totally get what the OP is saying. Because this boomer would LOVE to WFH at least a day or two a week, but our (more solidly boomer) boss is all about “your butt must be in the office M-F 8 – 5.” It’s less about being a boomer, and more about “this has been my experience for four plus decades therefore it must be the best way to do it.”

    1. Susana*

      You’re right – four plus decades of doing it doesn’t mean it’s right. But neither is coming into a company with far less experience – and none at all in that company – and presuming it’s right because you’re not an oldster. The people who think experience is meaningless are merely showcasing their own inexperience.

  64. Nicotene*

    I don’t see a lot of people commenting on this point, but it sounds like this approach to ADA is also a bit off to me. It’s not ideal to keep it in your back pocket as a fall-back option to get a perk you want, like WFH (or a spot by the window or a private office or whatever). You may not be able to request the one specific thing you really want just by using those magic words. You have to enter a process with them.

    I have met some folks who don’t understand this so just trying to flag it.

    1. Lurking Tom*

      This did cross my mind, but as I reread OP’s letter, it didn’t seem like they were thinking of weaponizing the ADA, more like that it was an accommodation that they already had because of a mental health situation and are seeking to continue – I’m assuming the friend is in the same situation.

    2. OP*

      I’m not interested in using it as a fallback. When I disclosed my neurodivergent status at work things got a little…weird. People who knew what was going on treated differently than before, and those who didn’t know what was going on seemed annoyed I “got” to work from home. Nothing happened that was necessarily reportable, but I felt embarrassed and the whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth. I was able to get my accommodations—which helped me tremendously!—but I’m nervous about dealing with that stigma again. So if I can get a perma-remote position I’m hopeful that I can bypass that stuff.

      Of course, I know it’s likely in my best interest to document it upfront if/when I find a new employer, so I’m also trying to remind myself that not all workplaces are the same. It’s just hard to shake.

  65. cg12*

    Your current office is hell – you’re considering a strategy that, if successful, will “win” you a job at a place you already believe to be out of touch. Consider that you should think carefully about what kind of workplace you want to work in, and screen potential employers just as they are screening you!

  66. Keymaster of Gozer*

    I’m (still) recruiting for a network tech at the moment, a job that on paper might look like it can be done remotely from home all the time. I’ve put on the job description that it will require coming into the office buildings and at the moment that does mean on a rare occasion but once we get up to better control of this whole Covid situation it’ll move to the same situation as the rest of the IT staff will be – which will likely be*some* WFH possible but not full time – we expect people back.

    (We = the company in this case)

    I’ve had a couple of people make it as far to interview to only then ask if the job could be 100% WFH forever and look really hurt when I say no. I don’t mind the question let’s be clear, I do mind the argument I got from one of them a few weeks back about how they saw no need for any tech staff to ever be in the office. It’s all to do with phrasing – ‘is there any chance of this job being WFH on a permanent basis?’ is a fair and honest question, providing the answer is accepted. ‘I think you’re wrong and there’s no reason this job can’t be done remotely all the time’ or anything phrased more as a demand will (and DID) get my hackles up.

    Additionally one question is ok. Insisting or repeated questions is also a bad image to start with.

    (Background: I’m an IT Manager, who also is doing on site support some of the time because my team is overloaded. Am also high risk, disabled. The majority of my team are looking forward to at least getting some more time at their powerful 3 screen setups/additional hardware/wickedly fast connectivity at the office in future! The atmosphere in the office prior to this whole shenanigans was quite collaborative.
    Luckily I’ve not had any ‘I don’t wanna come back at all’. Then again, the IT department is for an industry that really cannot be done remotely (transportation)

  67. Esmeralda*

    BTW, boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. We’re retiring! Blame the next gen, please.


    1. Black Horse Dancing*

      Ah, no. Xers are pretty much the forgotten generation. We are squished between the large boomer generation and the large millennial generation without the power of either. Don’t blame us for anything–we just want a drink and not listen to the complaints from either the boomers or millennials.

    2. Jubilance*

      I don’t know what Boomers you know, but the ones I know and work with aren’t retiring yet. Most can’t afford it thanks to still having kids in college or other financial needs. And the youngest Boomers aren’t old enough to collect full Social Security yet, cause my parents are in that boat.

      1. Quickbeam*

        *Hand up*…I need to be 66 and 2 months to collect full Social Security and it is being phased in until I think those borm in 1960 who will need to be 67. I know MANY of my age peers who would have retired earlier (and gotten out of the way!) except for not wanting to short change their Social Security for the rest of their lives.

  68. Knope Knope Knope*

    I will leave your “boomertastic” comment to one side per Alison’s request, but I am a millennial who has run high-achieving, award-winning social media teams for major global companies for the last 6 years. It sounds like you have serious reasons for preferring to work from home. I too, prefer working from home and have recently started up a new national team that is largely remote. However, there can be very legitimate reasons for social media professionals to be in the office. In my opinion, the biggest reason is content. Whether you work in media or marketing, content is the key to developing strategies and campaigns that perform well. The more social media professionals have an influence on the earliest stages of content creation the better the social performance. In some cases this means going on shoots, in some it means sitting in editorial or creative meetings, in some cases it means having behind the scenes access, in some cases it means developing an influential reltionship with higher-ups. This isn’t true for all social media roles, of course, especially ones that focus heavily on curation or paid advertising, but it is absolutely a mistake to assume that because a job CAN be done from home that it can always be done just as well from home as it can from the office or the field.

  69. Undine*

    I’m technically a boomer, and I dislike butts in seats so much that I lived hand to mouth for ten years as a freelancer,then finally went back full time. I’m a technical writer, much of which can be done remotely. Here’s some things that I have learned about remote versus some time in the office:

    * The core of my work is done by talking to engineers. It is helpful to create an initial rapport working face to face. In addition, an intense brain dump is often easier in person, there’s something about interacting directly that can speed up communication.
    * Things go much better overall if technical writing is an integrated respected part of the team, and for that to happen, there needs to be someone (usually the TW manager) who is showing up and advocating for us in meetings. If the management team is all remote, then that could happen remotely, but otherwise someone is going to have to be on-site making sure we get visibility, so remote doesn’t come free, there’s someone else paying for it.
    * I get a lot more information, insight, and leverage if I have contacts with people outside the engineering group my job is overtly focussed on. I can get useful information from training, sales engineers, professional services, product management,b and quality assurance. If I am remote, I will almost never get access to those people, unless there is someone onsite making sure I get visibility.
    * Getting to know people in person and seeing them on a regular basis really does make a difference in your professional relationship.
    * Remote means you have to supply your own space, office supplies, etc. That’s almost never reflected in your compensation as a full time employee.
    * If you work remotely, your motivation has to come from yourself and your enthusiasm about the work. If you are in the office, your bonds with your coworkers can sometimes help you plow through when your own motivation won’t cut it. (This is assuming you have a functional office.)

    That doesn’t mean that if I am remote, I can’t do a good job. But it certain ways, if I am onsite, I can do a better job. And if the team is onsite, it can be a better team. In my job, you don’t have to go in every day to achieve that. But never going in does have an effect.

    1. Fran Fine*

      Remote means you have to supply your own space, office supplies, etc.

      This isn’t always true. I work for a software company that will pay for all of their remote employee’s equipment and office supplies (like pens, paper, printer ink, staplers, etc.) as our company policy is that remote employees are entitled to the same set up as in-house employees. The only thing they won’t pay for, I think, is a desk and chair – they assume you have that stuff already if you’re wanting to work remotely.

  70. sweet potato eater*

    This is all true: “Even jobs where the primary responsibilities are digital can still benefit from having regular in-person contact with colleagues — for training, mentoring, ad hoc brainstorming, and all sorts of other things.”
    So why is my company spilling gallons of ink on various contradictory policies about returning to work, with a tone that suggests they think employees are milking the pandemic, and never discussing the benefits to staff and clients of returning?

  71. R*

    Re: the “out of touch” issue… I’m a millennial and there can be many advantages to building a network via in-person work. Because working with people in-person can often lead to other things happening in person. Just off the cuff – there have been many times when a higher up has brought me out with them to a client meeting or industry event just because I happened to be there, and others weren’t. I’ve spent the past 10 ish years building this kind of rapport with my colleagues.

    One notable event, about a month ago the CEO celebrated his birthday with a small party at his home. I was invited to attend, along with maybe 2 others from my office. I got the chance, not only to put in face time with the CEO, but to meet other very well respected industry leaders and up-and-comers from other organizations.

    As I am not moving into a more mid-level role in my industry, I certainly wouldn’t call it “out of touch” to expect that some of the younger people coming in should be eager for the opportunity to network the way that I was able to, and be grateful for a chance to learn the trade firsthand from more experienced people than themselves.

  72. learnedthehardway*

    I applied for – and landed – a remote, contract position that was initially supposed to be a permanent in-office role. But it was a special situation, I had the exact experience (and more) that the hiring manager wanted in the role, and the hiring manager had initially considered making the role a remote contract, but had been worried that it wouldn’t attract career-focused candidates, and wasn’t allowed to post the role as 2 separate positions.

    So, it CAN work to apply for a role structured one way, and to ask if they would consider structuring the role a different way, but I would do it early in the process (after you’ve established that you’re qualified, but before the company has invested significant time in interviewing you), be clear about the “business case” (ie. the benefits to the employer), and make sure you have the setup to make it work (ie. you have dedicated office space, the technology, and whatever childcare you would require so you can do your role).

    And with all of that, recognize that it may not work for the employer – I had to turn down someone today who would have been fine to be in the office for a day or two per week, but it’s just not what the role requires.

  73. El l*

    The latest research on “Did remote work work during COVID?” suggests a slightly mixed picture to the common idea that we all got more done remotely. We got more “focus time” at our desks, which was good for productivity.

    But where it got mixed was…meetings. Sometimes there were just more during COVID – in part because you couldn’t just drop by someone’s desk and have a chat, you had to schedule one. People spent more time there than before, which pushed their work day longer. My friends who work remotely have found anecdotally this has been their experience.

    Is remote work wise? Depends massively on how much you’re doing it, the job, your personality, and so on…but let’s not pretend it’s all worker-friendly.

    1. Sunnyside Up*

      Focus time depends who you ask. For people whose kids were home, that’s a resounding no. It’s been terrible for productivity and focus.

    2. mediamaven*

      I think it’s also important to note that a lot of people did do quite well adapting, but just as many did not. Not everyone turned into this ultra productive workhorse.

  74. Tofu Pie*

    I’ve dealt with my share of employees who complain about aspects of their job when those specific issues were stated up front (and sometimes discussed at length and on multiple occasions) during the recruitment process. Things like working hours or even having to do sales when you’re hired as a salesperson. Whatever the issue is, it makes them appear entitled and self absorbed. Please don’t apply for a job where you don’t agree to the terms and conditions of hire.

  75. Susana*

    OK, per Alison, I’ll stop myself from noting the derision in “boomertastically.” But… it goes to the issue here: LW, you’re spelling out why being remote works for *you* – but you don’t seem to consider whether it works for the people who would employ you. And you really can’t know what makes best business sense for them, since you don’t run the company and don’t even work there yet.
    I’m all for standing up for your rights as an employee, and suggesting new ways to do things. But their mission is to make successful company, not to accommodate your request for convenience.

    1. OP*

      I have read a lot of critical comments in this thread and am trying to be understanding of where everyone is coming from. But this comment really gets to me.

      YES, I do care a lot about how working remotely would benefit me. Because I am neurodivergent and working from home is part of my psych recommended accommodations. It is not simply about “convenience.” But even if it were, so what? People look for and accept jobs based on their conveniences all the time—like being closer to home or offering childcare—yet that is not treated with disdain. I am trying to center the needs of my disability in my job hunt and that means looking for employers who have already decided it makes “good business sense” for their listed position to be remote. I would much rather prefer the “convenience” of not having a faulty brain, but we don’t always get what we want—I’m trying to get what I need.

      I think my friend’s approach is the kind of gamble I don’t want to take, but I really don’t see why I—or honestly anybody—should be ashamed for preferring to apply to remote listings?

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I don’t think that was the suggestion here — if I read the comment correctly, she’s disagreeing with the assumption in the original letter that of course all social media jobs can be done from home.

  76. Mayflower*

    OP, one thing you and your friend should be aware of is that companies that embrace remote work also embrace lower compensation for remote workers. It’s called location-adjusted salary, or cost-of-living-adjusted compensation, or geographic pay policies. Facebook, Twitter, and many other decidedly not “boomertastically out-of-touch”companies either already pay significantly lower rates for remote work, or have announced plans to do so.

    This is nothing new, and it works both ways – Comcast for example has always paid extra to employees living in high cost-of-living areas such as ski resort towns catering to the leisure class in order to be able to hire at all (but obviously, no small town company will adjust your pay upwards just because you want to move to a big city).

    You may think that this is not relevant to you two because you are not necessarily moving – you just want to work from home! However, keep in mind that you are then competing with people who WFH from these low cost-of-living location, so you are, in fact, affected by the adjusted compensation rates.

    Glassdoor has a tool called “Map My Pay” that helps you see how much lower your compensation will be if you move from a high cost area to a lower cost area.

    1. Fran Fine*

      OP, one thing you and your friend should be aware of is that companies that embrace remote work also embrace lower compensation for remote workers. It’s called location-adjusted salary, or cost-of-living-adjusted compensation, or geographic pay policies.

      This isn’t true across the board either (I feel like I’m saying this a lot on this letter, lol). My company (software), for example, paid me based on what I asked for during negotiations (which was well above what this position would pay if my company were based in my city), and I know this is true of several others who are remote on my team. My salary request was based on the national median for my role, not my geography.

  77. Bookworm*

    Agree with Alison: you can try but it probably won’t look good. Best bet is to apply to jobs/fields/organizations that are permanently remote (and given that you work in social media, this will probably be easier for you as your skills are transferrable in a way that other positions are not).

    And don’t think this is a generational-specific phenomenon. Anecdotal, but a former organization of mine that went remote during the pandemic now wants everyone back in the office in what appears to be a hybrid set up (for now…). The org’s head had always been against remote work. And he’s a millennial.

    It’s a matter of trust and organization heads that need to exert control.

  78. Message in a Bottle*

    I have a question about the change from in-person to remote. I know there has been comment about the OP’s friend ‘insisting’ on working remotely. But we are getting that wording through the friend and she’s saying that here on an anonymous site. The friend might not put it that way in person. Sometimes people vent here or are more informal. Or mean something else by the same word.

    My question was asked by Chairman of the Bored above. How is this different than when someone is hired somewhere and the workplace changes the terms on the worker? Like the letter writer who wasn’t supposed to work Saturdays but then was expected to? That was ten years later so different but their capital or tenure didn’t get them their Saturdays back. People piled on that he was using a loophole to get the Saturdays back. Maybe that was unethical. What about the new hire who was promised a desk and that was rescinded in less than a week? People may have thought that worker was being unreasonable. Someone else wrote in that their company had said they would go full remote or hybrid only to insist that their employees be back in the office 100% within a few months.

    Why do employers get to change the terms, sometimes on a dime, and workers are called unethical if they do the same? Maybe it’s all unethical. I don’t really know. I don’t have answers. Which is why I’m asking. What I do know is one lone worker usually isn’t the one with all the power in these cases. I kind of cheer them on for their chutzpah. Would I do those things? No. I’d be stuck and miserable and angry. I’d probably stay at that job seething. I can’t just quit as easily as someone can fire me. Job seeking is exhausting. But now I realize I have to be prepared for such changes and well, maybe employers should be too.

    1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      It’s unethical when the company does it as well. As Alison notes above, the power imbalance means the company will get away with it and the pleb won’t.

      1. Message in a Bottle*

        Is the power balance itself unethical?

        I know, big question. But in a way, if the company will get away with it, why shouldn’t that worker have their Saturday! (If I was their co-work I wouldn’t be mad, I’d admire that chutzpah.) Or that other person their desk? Or whatever was negotiated.

        I know, I know. Two wrongs don’t make a right. But it gets tiring that the person with less power is always blamed or gets stuck, and the powerful continue to do what they want with far less consequences. Starting a new hiring process vs. quitting one’s job are two very, very different things.

        1. Observer*

          Is the power balance itself unethical?

          Certainly, exploiting the power balance to act in bad faith is unethical!

        2. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          Fair and ethical are cold comfort when the paycheques stop while the bills don’t. Alison rightly advises based on the reality we inhabit, not the ideal we’d prefer.

    2. Colette*

      If you promise something knowing you’re not going to honour it (regardless of whether you are the employee or employer), that’s unethical.

      If things change that you didn’t know about in advance, that’s not.

      But in both cases, the answer isn’t “you have to put up with it”, it’s “you can re-evaluate and decide the situation isn’t working for you and quit/fire the person”.

      1. Message in a Bottle*

        It’s such a nuance. If the person took the job and then had circumstances where she really needed to work from home, something unforseen, it still leaves the employer in a lurch and they can still fire her. So I’m not sure not knowing in advance or not, changes the ultimate consequences.

        And the letter writer who wrote about having to go back to work in-office despite being told she wouldn’t have to updated today! She submitted doctor’s notes and everything. She was fired. Fortunately, she found something else quickly. But maybe others at her workplace didn’t.

        So advance or not, ethical or not, the consequences don’t necessarily change. And yes, you do have to put up with it for a while because jobs are hard to come by sometimes. And so are good employees.

        Sometimes either side is just waiting it out until they can find a better match.

        1. Observer*

          it still leaves the employer in a lurch and they can still fire her. So I’m not sure not knowing in advance or not, changes the ultimate consequences.

          Often it will. Because with a good worker, a company has some incentive and often the will to try to accommodate. Someone who acts in bad faith is not someone a company is going to want to accommodate.

        2. Observer*

          She submitted doctor’s notes and everything. She was fired.

          And it’s also clear that this was a bad company. If the company were acting ethically, the LW would not have been fired.

    3. Susana*

      Of course it’s unethical to bait-and switch. The difference comes with advance knowledge – if a company reduces benefits because revenues went way down during the pandemic, that’s not the same as *knowingly* planning to insist on remote work after the remote work period is over. If you know the rules in advance and are planning to ask for (or insist on) a change – especially if it’s with the assumption they’ll figure it’s too messy to replace you – that is wildly dishonest.

      1. Message in a Bottle*

        Like I said, I don’t know. I still think rescinding the desk was unethical. That was four days in. In that case, if things could change that clearly, they shouldn’t have promised that in the first place. Actually, that’s probably true in the case of the pandemic too. Don’t promise anything if you really don’t know and things are subject to change. This is about folks’ livelihoods.

        Even if that business didn’t know they couldn’t stay remote, they still fired that Letter Writer even with doctor’s notes saying that she couldn’t work in-office. The result for her was the same whether they knew or not.

        As for this letter writer, I’m not sure if the word ‘insist’ was right because she says now her friend only planned to ask for it should she get an interview. So they could have the discussion before hiring. Maybe still a bait and switch for getting an interview, but it doesn’t seem like she would (or could?) insist on anything after that.

  79. Prosaic*

    If there’s anything I’ve learned from my years reading AAM, it’s that we’d all be better off if we would operate in good faith, employers and employees alike (though much moreso employers, given the power dynamic)

  80. DontDoIt*

    I work in marcomm. Some marketing teams, especially small ones, will need their social media staff to be on-site to take/post photos, videos, cover events, or coordinate Facebook lives.

    1. Yep*

      This describes our social media team exactly. They were one of the first departments to return on site and have spent more time in the building (sometimes required but often by choice) than anyone except maybe security, maintenance, and, yes, the IT department!

  81. Pikachu*

    I started a new full time remote role last summer. I had worked remotely for nearly a year at my previous company, so how hard could it be?

    Not gonna lie, I would have given my left arm for 40 hours a week total office immersion in a new role in a new field. I took for granted all the little things about a company, its industry, and its competition that you learn just from hearing other people talk about it. It’s easier to learn the priorities/strategies of different departments, how they intersect with yours, etc all through day-to-day conversation and being pulled into meetings you don’t actually need to be in. You see the big picture much more quickly when you can’t turn it off.

    I definitely see both sides of the coin here. Yeah, I can do my job from anywhere, but looking back I now know that being in an office in the beginning surrounded by experience would have quartered my time to real productivity.

  82. DJ*

    Best I ask about such arrangements when making enquires about the job. Even though workplaces have moved on from the 9-5 office based system most do want staff to come into the office sometimes.

  83. Retired Prof*

    About the LW and their ADA accommodation – a disability diagnosis does not obligate the employer to give you the accommodation you want. They are obligated to offer reasonable accommodation. Whether WFH is considered a reasonable accommodation depends on the disability and the job. When a keyboard injury at work left me disabled, my boss offered voice-to-text software, high end furniture and an assistant because keyboarding was a relatively small part of my job, while a friend with the same injury was disabled out of her clerical job. The LW may be able to get WFH as an accommodation, but it’s not something anyone else should necessarily count on.

  84. Brent*

    Allison is 100% right. The boomertastic line is just naive and snarky. There are valid reasons for wanting the employees in office, outside of a raging pandemic.

  85. Galahad*

    OP should look not only at perma -remote jobs but work as a contractor, as well. I find contractors have a ton more leeway about working remotely. They are not expected to be there for general “brainstorming” or discussing ideas — unless a meeting time was arranged in advance.

    The idea of taking a job and then using medical accommodations for a pre-existing condition to fundamentally and permanently change that job role to something else is…. Naive? Arrogant? Entitled? I am glad OP is not intending to do this. (Right?)

    Many employers will work wonders with a proven employee that develops a medical condition, or for a temporary condition that is expected to eventually resolve. But for a newer employee with a permanent pre-existing accommodation request that they did not disclose upon hire? They will do the minimum accommodation and look for many ways to get out of it.

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