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When remote work became a sudden necessity for many industries in 2020, the world quickly learned that many jobs could be successfully managed from home. Now that working style — or at least a hybridization of in-office and remote time — is here to stay.
But what about the construction industry, which is so intrinsically in-person? The remote work opportunities may not be abundant, but they do exist now. Here are some of the more flexible opportunities that exist in the construction space.
Project Estimators in Construction have seen, by far, the largest amount of growth in remote opportunities. “Estimating is more individualized, and requires less of a team dynamic,” says Harry Copeland, a Senior Manager in our Boston Michael Page office who specializes in the industry. “You’ll still be part of meetings, but you can make that work with intermittent travel.” It is not uncommon to see Project Estimator opportunities that are open to remote work five days per week with approximately two in-office days per month, typically for bid days or other significant events.
Construction Project Manager roles have also seen some degree of flexibility and remote working opportunities, but this is not always offered from day one. Generally, remote work is a more approachable topic after an employee has spent a significant amount of onboarding time with a company — usually six to 12 months. Once the employee is more familiar with their colleagues and the organization as a whole, doors can open up. “That’s something a lot of companies are doing,” says Copeland. “If somebody has proven themselves at their job as a Project Manager, employers are giving them the opportunity to work from home one or two days of the week. This is part of a shift in improving work-life balance in the industry.”
Beyond a couple of exceptions, remote work is not generally volunteered as a feature in the construction recruitment process. If the subject is important to you in your job search, be sure to bring it up, though you may fair better if you wait until you are further into the interview process to bring up the occasional remote Friday. By then, the employer may be more invested in you as a candidate and therefore willing to offer that flexibility after the onboarding process is complete.
It is worth noting that the Construction industry’s hesitation to adopt remote work more widely is not without warrant. Besides the fact that the majority of the jobs require on-site presence, profit margins can be tight and often hinge on completing tasks ahead of schedule and under budget. The current economic climate also asserts its own pressures. “The costs for building are higher than ever, so the margins the contractors see are smaller,” says Copeland. “Execution has to be that much better.” Even technical difficulties like a remote employee’s Wi-Fi being down can trigger a ripple effect of consequences.
While there may not be nearly as many remote opportunities in Construction versus other industries, the offerings are still significantly more plentiful than they were a few short years ago. What was once considered impossible is now a valid topic of conversation in some roles, and time will only continue to foster this trend. For the time being, most remote opportunities will ultimately come down to specifics and some thoughtful discussion.
If you’d like to explore your opportunities within Construction, remote or otherwise, please browse our current job listings or reach out to one of our expert consultants today.
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