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    Post-COVID Office Perks to Attract New Talent

    2020 shook us all, with a pandemic that turned our working world upside down. Employers have had to shift to an office design that accommodates social distancing, but they’re also bringing in new office perks to help make the transition back to the office more inviting for new and existing talent, and better for their employees’ wellness as well as productivity. Let’s take a look at how to make your office more inviting to new recruits.
    Office pods
    Social distancing is paramount for COVID-secure office space and the office pod helps with this greatly. Employees can be separated from one another in their own breakout spaces in pods to get on with tasks. Cell pods allow workers to see through their glass pods, have doors open or shut, so they’re not totally shut off but can still practice social distancing and separation.
    Instagrammable areas
    This speaks mainly to the Gen Z and millennials that are on Instagram, making daily updates, always capturing quirky design, meals, or fun businesses. Offices are changing to provide perks that will attract and entice employees to choose them over other companies in competitive job markets. Areas with fun design, abstract interior, quirky stencil wall art, biophilic decor, or even unique, modern sofas and funky corners are capture-worthy. Don’t be afraid to be different in your office design, add originality and fun with those instagrammable pieces.
    Nick Pollitt, Managing Director of office refurbishment company, Diamond Interiors, says that a place of work isn’t just that anymore:

    “Long gone are the days of cubicles, beige walls, and the nine to five. Nowadays workplaces are fun, dynamic, and have a strong focus on perks and benefits. When dealing with staff, whether they’ve been with you for years or are having their first interview, you have to make a good impression on them as much as the other way around.
    Making your office an aesthetically pleasing place is just as important as getting the work done and going home on time. So if you want to attract and keep the best talent, make sure you make your office an enjoyable place to be.”

    Relaxation rooms
    Whether it’s an office library, a hygge room, or a simple chillout room, companies are seeing the benefits of giving employees space to relax for breaks, lunches, or for times they may need to separate and work quietly. These are perfect for showing a high consideration for staff mental health and wellness.
    Games rooms
    A great office perk to have is a games room. You don’t need to go all out, it could be simply providing a games console, TV, and some comfy office sofas. But, to make it top-level, add some quirky games features like mini snooker tables, desk games, ping pong tables, and puzzles – even a fun jigsaw puzzle.
    Social spaces
    These can be integrated with games rooms but also can be areas where you allow staff to be a little more social. In a post-COVID working environment, it’s all about guidance, policies, and signposting. Make sure to keep clear signs and symbols to show where is off-limits, for instance, mark off where seating is off-limits to maintain social distancing. A social space may have newspapers, magazines, and reading materials to help with social work conversations, especially materials that are niche to certain industries.
    Lee Chambers, an environmental psychologist and wellbeing consultant, stresses how beneficial office perks like games rooms and social spaces are to employees’ mental health:

    “The allow employees to disconnect from role-related tasks and take a break, allowing them to connect more fully to the next task when they return. It also facilitates non-work-related communication, which is an essential element of social connection and workplace relationships. Social spaces can also reduce stress, allowing employees to move from their desk and change the scene.”

    Positive effects on staff
    As Chambers points out, the mental effects of office perks are extremely positive for staff – enabling them to reconnect with each other and build healthy working relationships. He also understands how they work in sync with improved productivity. For instance, social spaces and rooms for activities “create an important break in our working patterns that allow us to remove ourselves from cognitive work tasks and regenerate, so we have the ability to return to work with more focus, concentration, and energy.”
    Chambers goes on to highlight that office perks, or rather employers who value them, allow “employees who may not often get to talk a chance to connect”. They also come with creative, productive benefits as “many innovative ideas have come from a workplace social as the typical barriers of work are eroded. These relationship links forge greater company morale, give employees a feeling of connection and purpose outside of work, and give employees something to anticipate and look forward to.”
    There’s no doubt that 2021 is going to be unlike any year we’ve experienced so far. The only thing we can do is make the most of it and try to work as efficiently and safely as possible. What do you think of these 2021 office trends?

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    Expanding your employer brand reach with remote

    In light of COVID-19’s impact on the world, remote work will continue to be part of how we work moving forward. As such, insights from candidates in our 2020 Brand Health Report reveal that having a remote work policy or flexibility in how you manage your workforce will impact your employer brand and, further, how job seekers evaluate an opportunity with your company. 
    A company’s employer brand is a combination of a company’s reputation and the value it presents to prospective employees. Without a positive reputation and brand, a company can lose out on qualified top candidates to competitors despite working on innovative products and services that may have set them apart pre-pandemic.
    Given the circumstances, companies such as Twitter and Google have announced their version of remote policies and long-term work strategies for their employees. Both companies remain on our list of the top 20 global employer brands candidates around the world would like to work for. More companies around the world have followed knowing that remote work is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

    By removing the limitations that  city based hiring can bring for companies, remote work enables organizations to hire from a larger pool of quality talent and create a larger impact. Additionally, tech talent agrees that remote work has the potential to help companies build more diverse workplaces (45% said very strongly and another 33% said strongly) which is a consideration for them when joining a company. By incorporating and communicating remote-work policies into your company’s strategy, talent will find opportunities with your company more accessible and attractive.
    Prioritize work-life balance
    In the midst of a global pandemic, many employees may find themselves in difficult circumstances at home or in their personal life while committing to perform their job responsibilities. How your company is supporting employee work-life balance and mental health can impact your brand and of course employee morale which they share with friends and peers in the industry. A major concern for leaders while employees shelter-in-place and work remote is employee mental health, especially as it relates to isolation, anxiety, depression, productivity issues, Zoom fatigue, and burnout. By providing genuine support to employees, this care is recognized as part of the company’s values.
    And while remote work can help companies increase diversity in the workplace, employers should be conscious of how long they expect team members to spend on video calls. 70% of tech talent prefer to spend no more than 1-3 hours per day on Zoom. This provides enough time in the day for team members to perform asynchronous and collaborative work during working hours and still have time for things that matter to them in their personal life, as well. More

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    How to Create an Employee Advocacy Program

    For employer brand teams wanting to centralize and activate those employee voices, a brand advocacy program may be your answer. “Brand advocacy, at its very foundation, is about how people are talking about the company,” Briana Daugherty reminds us. Daugherty is the Employment Brand Specialist at Cox Enterprises, where she’s built a brand advocacy program…
    How to Create an Employee Advocacy Program Undercover Recruiter – More

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    Transitioning to permanent remote work? 4 Cross-functional considerations to make beforehand

    As more companies are going public with their long-term remote policies, permanent remote work appears to be more of a reality for the way we work moving forward. During our webinar focused on, “Managing the Cross-Functional Transition to Fully Remote,” panelists from GitLab, Shopify, and Workable joined us to discuss the major considerations their respective companies made to transition to permanent remote. 
    At this point, while we may not understand everything about the duration of this pandemic, we’ve come to understand that COVID-19 is not going to simply go away within weeks.In Workable’s recent “New World of Work” report, 71% of respondents said remote work and distributed teams will be a major paradigm shift moving forward. It would seem that companies are indeed entertaining the idea of transitioning to remote-first, if not permanently then for an extended period.
    Additionally, we found that 74% of recruiters and talent acquisition professionals said they were either exploring permanent remote work, in the process of going fully remote, or have already made the transition. As Hired recently announced our move to be fully remote, such a transition could not have been made by a single person or function but through the collaboration of leaders across the organization with employees in mind. Among the many considerations that are made when deciding whether to become a permanent remote company, everyone on the panel focused on four key areas. 
    Financial implications
    As far as financial considerations of being remote-first, the idea of relocation — especially to areas with lower costs of living — becomes more accessible and attractive to many employees. In our 2020 State of Salaries Report, we discovered that 53% of tech workers surveyed mentioned they would make the move if they were able to work remotely, with 64% who said they’d potentially relocate within the next 3 years. Despite having that insight, Craig Diforte, SVP of Finance at GitLab warns that if companies have employees who are working in various states or jurisdictions, there are payroll, corporate income tax, sales and use tax implications that should be considered. Depending on how long an employee is within a jurisdiction, it can trigger corporate income tax and sales/use tax for the company. The key is doing your homework and consulting with your tax advisor and your payroll provider to make sure you are appropriately managing your tax risk as you consider how employee mobility may impact your bottom line.
    In addition, there could be new costs that are incurred which are associated with team off-sites, group bonding activities or home office allowances/reimbursements that are worth accounting for — especially if you are a larger organization. Diforte (GitLab) provides these examples needed to keep infrastructure and company culture happy and productive.
    Infrastructure of work
    When it comes to the infrastructure of work, our panelists describe how the top three priorities for them included technology, physical space, and documentation. Employees need to be set up to work effectively. This is where companies may need to consider the costs of hardware or connection modifications needed. With respect to physical space, companies invest a lot into their office spaces that they may only need a portion of now. Of the people who could potentially need or want to return to the office, companies would most likely benefit from downsizing their space to account for the offset of employees who will be working remote. Diforte of GitLab recommends that companies do a cost analysis while also asking themselves if they need a physical space, if they could change the space they currently have, and if the costs of the current space could chang  to better meet their current and future needs. Lastly, David Sakamoto, VP of Customer Success at GitLab, includes that documentation of meeting agendas, minutes, business processes and decisions is key to ensuring all team members can be in sync regardless of not working alongside each other physically. No matter where employees physically work, this helps to prevent any lapse in communication and enables folks to work more effectively async if needed.
    Work-life balance
    In a recent Workable survey 45% of executives said productivity is a top concern when it comes to working remote. Conversely, Sakamoto shared that leaders should be more concerned with overproduction vs. under-productivity during this time. Employees may suffer from Zoom fatigue, employees isolating themselves, and burnout. Jen McInnis, Senior Lead of Talent Expansion Operations at Shopify, theorized that there is an impostor syndrome of working from home where employees can’t see what their peers and colleagues are working on so individuals may feel like they need to not only work harder but more hours in order to keep up. Fear of not doing enough can perpetuate feelings of isolation and burnout, both of which need proactive management.
    McInnis (Shopify) shares that Shopify offered a solution to this problem where it has placed more weight on impact over the hours they put into their work week. This helps confirm for employees that their impact is valued more than working late nights just to get a project done. She states how, considering COVID has presented the worst version of working remotely, companies shouldn’t lose sight of other circumstances employees are facing in the midst of maintaining their full-time job. How employees are contributing and making an impact to the company adds more value toward achieving goals and shipping products compared to expecting work outputs during traditional working hours. 
    Employee connection
    Last, but certainly not least, is the importance of the remote employee experience while working remote especially during a pandemic. When you transition from from in-person to digital first experiences, companies must reimagine and reinvent their culture. Sakamoto encourages companies to assess their company values and determine what values might help or hurt the organization when being fully remote. McInnis shared that a strategic move that the company made in their transition to remote was to move from cities and locations to timezone regions. Within each respective region there is at most a 4-5 hour time difference between them so there’s an opportunity for both synchronous and asynchronous work within the teams. As a rule of thumb, it’s critical for management to help instill a remote culture that is intentional with communication, staying connected and checking in colleagues and peers more often than not.  More

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    “We’ve got work to do”: Overcoming the gap in diversity recruiting

    As more candidates are open to remote roles, our 2020 State of Remote Work Report uncovered that employers believed the top benefit of hiring remote employees was having more diverse candidates. With a heightened focus on how companies are building diverse teams and inclusive workplaces, companies may be evaluating the work that still needs to be done in order for workplaces to be truly equitable, inclusive and diverse. 
    During an episode of our Talent Talent to Me podcast, Jennifer Tardy, career coach, diversity recruiting trainer, and CEO of Jennifer Tardy Consulting, joined us to discuss the gaps she found in training programs as a Head of Talent wanting to best prepare her team for their diversity recruiting initiative and how that experience led her to create her own program for recruiting teams wanting to close the existing gaps.
    Identifying the gap
    When companies begin the work of creating an inclusive workplace, unconscious bias training may be thought of as a smart place to start. While unconscious bias training is valuable and well-intentioned, it is a start not a well-rounded solution. As a Head of Talent in her former life, Tardy explained how she was disappointed to find that the trainers and program material for diversity recruiting training couldn’t speak to the depths of diversity and inclusion in hiring as she would have liked. Not only were the resources for recruiting teams insufficient, Tardy also identified a larger systemic issue within hiring that needed to be fixed for diversity recruiting to work effectively.
    Recommendations in the market primarily focused on boolean strings but didn’t discuss how companies might get in front of and attract diverse talent, how to interview for authenticity, and how to create an inclusive workplace for people of underrepresented groups, especially if the company didn’t have good representation to begin with. The hiring system today calls on recruiters to weed people out of the pipeline. In doing this, pipelines begin to look homogenous or are influenced by bias. Then interview questions end up not assessing a candidate’s skills fit or who they truly are but rather for who was able to produce a better answer. In the end recruiters may miss out on the aspects about the candidate that make them diverse in background, opinion, and experience and disproportionately weed them out. This may ultimately impact a recruiter’s ability to attract, interview, and hire diverse talent if they aren’t changing the system that weeds them out in the first place.
    Learning on common ground
    Tardy’s belief that diversity recruiting training must start on common ground and should go to the depths of why DE&I initiatives exists in the first place. Tardy’s clients pledge in her training sessions that they are not a place of guilt but an avenue for finding solutions to move forward. Typically when people don’t feel like they know enough or know what language to use when it comes to diversity, Tardy shares, they opt out of participating in discussions–recruiters don’t have the luxury of not participating so she wants to equip them to go into them confidently. By laying the foundation for DE&I and common language to use, she notes how teams are more encouraged to engage in meaningful dialogue to create an action plan for lasting change within their organizations. Beyond undergoing diversity recruiting training, she advises recruiting teams to do two things in their process:
    Interview for authenticity
    Tardy shares how current hiring is set up candidates know recruiters are looking for the best answer to interview questions. For people of underrepresented groups, learning how to best answer interview questions is even more critical to prevent getting weeded out and landing a paying job. Tardy challenges recruiters to reframe interview questions with the intention to get to know the candidate and how they can contribute to the team instead of seeing reasons to pass on their candidacy. Figure out how you can really get to know this person, through behavioral interview questions for instance, and determine if they’d be a good fit for the job based on how they think through problems.
    Audit for impact
    Companies have great intent when it comes to DE&I but can sometimes be fearful to look at what quantitative and qualitative data suggests is true. For example, Tardy mentions that by leveraging data through a self-identification campaign, data from exit interviews, or migration data (promotion, demotion, lateral moves, etc), recruiting and HR teams can see where people of color are falling out of their process and organization as a whole. Companies should dive into why people are leaving and identify who in the organization has promotional opportunities over others to see if there are disparities between groups. If companies have great intent, they should also audit for impact and outcomes to see what employees and candidates are trying to tell them about the equity and inclusion of their workplace.
    Once employers move past the guilt and understand how they can contribute to the larger conversation of diversity recruiting, they can know the weight of how to source for diverse talent, how to attract them to their companies, identify where bias is baked into their process, and how to make an effective and ethical selection decision. Recruiting practices can be more inclusive and, therefore, workforces can be more diverse and equitable.

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    Keeping company culture alive in remote work and hiring

    With the transition to remote work, one intangible yet critical element of an organization that may unintentionally get lost in the shuffle and need to be reconfigured is company culture, especially if the team worked together in-person previously. From an HR perspective, fostering the core of what makes a company’s culture is that it enables teams to adapt and feel supported during a major shift in the way they work. From a talent acquisition perspective, our 2020 State of Remote Work Report found that candidates’ main concern while interviewing remotely is not gaining a true understanding of a company’s culture. For both remote work and hiring, allowing  people to have an authentic and genuine experience of a  company’s culture is critical to both employee and candidate engagement.
    During an episode of our Talent Talent to Me podcast, Jolie Loeble, VP of People Ops at Daily Harvest, joined us to discuss how the company has been able to successfully foster an in-person company culture and recreate an in-person candidate experience while being completely remote. 
    Lost in translation
    There are various considerations companies take into account when transitioning from working in-person to remote, especially so nothing is overlooked in the process. For companies who have already adapted to having a more distributed team with remote employees in addition to maintaining their in-person HQ, translating the work dynamics for the whole company may not feel as daunting. With that being said, it will still require People managers to be intentional about how teams collaborate,  are supported and, most importantly, feel connected while being distributed.
    Loeble comments on how when you walk into an office space — whether you are a customer, candidate, or employee — you can and should be able to feel a company’s culture. An office space is a living, breathing organism that is about more than just a space for collaboration–it is a space that embodies the company’s brand and that usually holds the people who drive the vibrant culture. To work and hire remotely, Loeble mentions how Daily Harvest is committed to recreating that feel of the culture.
    Standard practice
    Being intentional with how to create a work culture and foster it as a company scales matters–this is crucial to employer branding, attracting candidates to work for the company, and employer retention and productivity. Loeble says that Daily Harvest aims to create a candidate experience that matches the employee experience, both of which should mirror the customer experience. This is and should not be unique to these COVID-19 times, she states, but rather standard practice especially given these times for all People teams to be mindful of.
    Scaling culture
    Being culture conscious throughout growth periods can also help companies stay true to their roots as they scale. Loeble shares that keeping traditions from the early stages of Daily Harvest alive makes sure that the team remembers its humble beginnings. In a way, doing so pays tribute to the grit and hard work that it took to get to where they are today. Continuing traditions that are unique to a company from its inception is how culture is carried through and stands the test of time and organizational change.
    Building community
    It is important for people who interact with the company to get a feel for the rich and vibrant culture, especially for this remote world. With respect to remote hiring, Daily Harvest offers candidates they’re interviewing the opportunity to interact with its products in their homes so they can engage with the brand directly. What candidates may not be able to physically interact with right now, virtual tours of the workspace and photos or videos of experiences the team has with each other can showcase a hospitable, welcoming team waiting with open arms to celebrate with prospective employees. 
    Finally, staying connected to their mission, brand, and each other, beyond just work-related reasons is how Daily Harvest has successfully grown their business during a time of economic uncertainty. With two launches during lockdown, their team is not only productive but they are enjoying how they get to work and who they work with. They operate as a team that exudes a work culture that you want to be a part of, and in turn its translated to business success. More

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    Keeping Company Culture Alive in Remote Work & Hiring

    With the transition to remote work, one intangible yet critical element of an organization that may unintentionally get lost in the shuffle and needs to be reconfigured is company culture, especially if the team worked together in-person previously. From an HR perspective, fostering the core of what makes a company’s culture is that it enables teams to adapt and feel supported during a major shift in the way they work. From a talent acquisition perspective, our 2020 State of Remote Work Report found that candidates’ main concern while interviewing remotely is not gaining a true understanding of a company’s culture. For both remote work and hiring, allowing  people to have an authentic and genuine experience of a  company’s culture is critical to both employee and candidate engagement.
    During an episode of our Talent Talent to Me podcast, Jolie Loeble, VP of People Ops at Daily Harvest, joined us to discuss how the company has been able to successfully foster an in-person company culture and recreate an in-person candidate experience while being completely remote. 
    Lost in translation
    There are various considerations companies take into account when transitioning from working in-person to remote, especially so nothing is overlooked in the process. For companies who have already adapted to having a more distributed team with remote employees in addition to maintaining their in-person HQ, translating the work dynamics for the whole company may not feel as daunting. With that being said, it will still require People managers to be intentional about how teams collaborate,  are supported and, most importantly, feel connected while being distributed.
    Loeble comments on how when you walk into an office space — whether you are a customer, candidate, or employee — you can and should be able to feel a company’s culture. An office space is a living, breathing organism that is about more than just a space for collaboration–it is a space that embodies the company’s brand and that usually holds the people who drive the vibrant culture. To work and hire remotely, Loeble mentions how Daily Harvest is committed to recreating that feel of the culture.
    Standard practice
    Being intentional with how to create a work culture and foster it as a company scales matters–this is crucial to employer branding, attracting candidates to work for the company, and employer retention and productivity. Loeble says that Daily Harvest aims to create a candidate experience that matches the employee experience, both of which should mirror the customer experience. This is and should not be unique to these COVID-19 times, she states, but rather standard practice especially given these times for all People teams to be mindful of.
    Scaling culture
    Being culture conscious throughout growth periods can also help companies stay true to their roots as they scale. Loeble shares that keeping traditions from the early stages of Daily Harvest alive makes sure that the team remembers its humble beginnings. In a way, doing so pays tribute to the grit and hard work that it took to get to where they are today. Continuing traditions that are unique to a company from its inception is how culture is carried through and stands the test of time and organizational change.
    Building community
    It is important for people who interact with the company to get a feel for the rich and vibrant culture, especially for this remote world. With respect to remote hiring, Daily Harvest offers candidates they’re interviewing the opportunity to interact with its products in their homes so they can engage with the brand directly. What candidates may not be able to physically interact with right now, virtual tours of the workspace and photos or videos of experiences the team has with each other can showcase a hospitable, welcoming team waiting with open arms to celebrate with prospective employees. 
    Finally, staying connected to their mission, brand, and each other, beyond just work-related reasons is how Daily Harvest has successfully grown their business during a time of economic uncertainty. With two launches during lockdown, their team is not only productive but they are enjoying how they get to work and who they work with. They operate as a team that exudes a work culture that you want to be a part of, and in turn it’s translated to business success.

    Listen to the full episode here: More

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    Cautious expectation: Future of tech compensation in a COVID world

    In March, uncertainty due to COVID swept the world and disrupted business in a way we haven’t seen before. Since then, companies have managed to continue essential operations and now consider their return to work plan. We’ve come to a crossroads in our post-COVID world where businesses have determined if they are reopening their offices or making the conversion to go and stay distributed. One thing is certain, remote work is here to stay. As companies create a long-term return to work plan, how will work-from-anywhere affect salaries and companies’ compensation philosophy?
    It seems that as companies deliberate and plan what business operations will look like in the midst of this global pandemic, tech candidates also seem to be in limbo. Upon surveying software engineers, product managers, DevOps engineers, designers, and data scientists for our 2020 State of Salaries, respondents let us know how COVID and going remote has impacted their work and compensation expectations moving forward.
    Compensation expectations in line with pre-COVID offerings
    In Part 1 of our 2020 State of Salaries report, we discuss how since  has been year-over-year growth in all major tech hubs so understandably, candidate compensation expectations are aligned and look upward. Candidates expect their salaries to maintain, if not increase, in the near future regardless of the conditions that we now work in. Further, in Part 2, tech employees share with us that despite the effects COVID has had on businesses, a majority (90%) believe that the same work deserves the same pay regardless of where employees may be physically located. It is widely agreed upon that while remote work may be the future of how we work, it seems that tech workers aren’t as open to the potential implications it would have on how they are paid to work. Only 32% of tech candidates surveyed would be willing to accept a lower salary to work remotely and less than 25% would be open to negotiate for other compensation options.
    Relocation more appealing, but not immediate
    The idea of relocation has sparked the interest of tech employees in light of remote work. Although there are various considerations that come into play. More than half of tech employees are neutral or against localized salaries based on where the employee resides and works from–only 40% of tech employees support it. Although, while most tech employees would stay in their current city for at least 3 more years (64%), the opportunity to work remotely has made the idea of moving to an area with lower cost of living more appealing. Following experiencing a new city (31%), cost of living (24%) or the idea of more job opportunities (21%) were top motivators for candidates’ desire to relocate. It would also seem that those who were open to relocation would be interested in other tech hubs outside of their own. Without the ties to a primary office and desk location in order to accomplish necessary work tasks and projects, tech workers are warming up to the idea of work-from-anywhere vs. just working from home, depending on what work requirements may look like as companies think through and update their remote work policies.
    Uncertainty around job security
    In the past few months, collectively we have had to accept that the only thing constant and promised is change. As smaller businesses struggle to stay afloat and larger businesses make hard decisions to undergo layoffs, there are various industries that have boomed in comparison where hiring has continued as normal. The above considerations around compensation and ability to work remotely are likely dependent on remaining in their current position or finding a new one with similar flexibility to what they may experience now.
    Tech workers are divided on their job security and their ability to find new opportunities during this time. 42% of tech workers were concerned about getting laid off in the next 6 months and, conversely, 58% were not concerned. Only 39% of respondents actually wanted to leave their current job but are concerned about finding a new role.
    Time will tell
    As we navigate this remote-first world, time will tell what the right business decisions are and how companies can be successful during uncertain times. Despite the expectations of tech workers, companies will need to take the lead on how to maintain their businesses, how to continue essential operations, and how to best support their employees. In turn, companies will need to determine how remote work and COVID will impact their salary offerings and their overall compensation philosophy. For now, tech workers will look to companies who are taking a lead in the market to share how salary trends will continue moving forward. More