What’s up with remote job listings that have a location?

What’s up with remote job listings that have a location?

I recently saw a bunch of job listings from the same company on LinkedIn that read something like this:

- Product Manager (Remote - UK)
- Product Manager (Remote - US)
- Product Manager (Remote - Germany)

My brain couldn’t quite make sense of it – why was there a location when the position was supposed to be remote? I had worked remotely for more than two years based here in the Bay Area, while the rest of my team was scattered all over the US and Europe. We weren’t near each other at all, yet we were able to collaborate and work together effectively. I needed to get on a plane to meet someone in person.

Remote jobs, by definition, are location-independent, so adding a location does not make sense at all.

Improving the Job Description Without Using Location

Rather than a location, one can address a specific need to highlight the constraints of the position for prospective applicants clearly:

  • If you need the person to match some specific time, then state the time zone that a prospective applicant must consider.
  • If the job is only open to specific citizens, then say so. If it’s for security purposes, then state that you will need specific security clearances from the government.
  • If you need someone who understands the local market, then expressly state that applicants need this experience or skill. Again, use something other than location. 
  • If you need the person to be in the office on certain occasions, then let them know that travel is expected.
  • If you need the person to be in the office several times a week, then for heaven’s sake, advertise the position as hybrid and not remote.
  • If you’re a business that can only pay certain currencies, is constrained by local laws, or is concerned about perks like health insurance, then there are business services out there that can help manage this so that it’s seamless for everyone. You don’t need to create this capability in-house. A Google search yields tons of blog posts and companies that are solving these kinds of problem.

My Real Life Example

Remote workers like me are highly adaptable. We can shift our working hours to suit the needs of the business as long as it also meets our needs. If the time shift won’t work for me, then I wouldn’t apply at all. This flexibility is one of the key advantages which I desire as a remote worker.

While working remotely, I time-shifted my schedule to work with my European teammates. I didn’t shift my time entirely to match the Central European Time zone since I also had to deal with my teammates in Austin, Texas, and Los Angeles, California. At one point, I even worked from Hawaii. I’d have breakfast at 2 am Hawaii time and start my work day at 3 am, which overlapped with my European teammates (3 pm CET). By 6 am, I was syncing up with my teammates in LA (9 am Pacific). I’d be done by noon in Hawaii, just in time for lunch. I could enjoy the rest of the day hanging out at the beach or hiking the trails, having dinner by 4:30 pm Hawaii time, being in bed by 6:30 pm, and then starting the day anew at 2 am once again.

Other Considerations?

There’s also the possibility that I may not be seeing a real reason why a remote position needs to be in a specific location. So, if you’re recruiting for a remote position but still require that the applicant be in a specific location, I’d love to hear your need via this (anonymous) Google form. As a remote worker, it will help me understand your needs, and it’ll help me figure out if a particular job is fit for me (or not).

Post-Script: Face-to-face is better than remote collaboration

Many people have stated that in-person collaborations are better than remote collaborations. I’d like to say that this is a myth. In the three-plus years that I have been working remotely (pandemic and post-pandemic), I had the pleasure of working with one of the best people and teams ever in my career. We were highly collaborative, achieved our business outcomes consistently, and created long-lasting bonds of friendship. I never saw anyone face to face until I went to Europe on vacation, and I specifically spent a few days just wanting to meet these wonderful people who I now call friends.

It does take intention and effort to build teams remotely, but once you do, it becomes so easy that the differences between remote and in-person actually go away. If you’d like to know how to possibly achieve this, feel free to contact me. I also have a book in the works that I’ve co-written with a colleague. Stay tuned for when it’s going to be published.


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