I have been with my current employer for 6 years. While most developers work in-house, we do have several developers who work remotely. For personal reasons, I am currently in the process of making an offer on a house in another state and will hopefully be moved in the next 2-3 months. Naturally, I intend to work remotely.

In parallel to this, I have long since determined, for various reasons, to seek a new job. I am currently in the latter stages of the interview process with one company and have an interview scheduled for a second company. All jobs I am looking at are remote due to the lack of jobs in my planned moving destination. I am anticipating that I will get an acceptable job offer from the company that I have been interviewing with.

However, nothing is guaranteed and talks with that company may fall through, delaying my departure.

My question is: How should I handle discussions about working remote knowing that a job offer may be close at hand?

If I discuss with my boss arranging a work remote situation, get an offer and then give my two weeks merely weeks or days after, I have concerns that I may appear ungrateful. I do not wish to leave my current employment with hard feelings as our paths may cross again.

Alternatively, if I delay discussing anything until an offer is in hand, I risk having current talks with the new company falling through, leading to the possibility that I will be looking at moving without having properly discussed it with my current employer.

  • I can tell you that we have had people convert to working remotely due to a move who left for a new job shortly thereafter and nobody got upset about it any more than they do when any good employee leaves. – HLGEM Aug 20 '14 at 13:15

As someone who is developing a product targeting businesses who want to succeed with a remote workforce, I can tell you that once some of your staff are working remotely, it's not a huge leap to transition other employees to the work at home model as well.

If you were the first employee at the company to ever transition to a remote position, then this would create some problems and challenges that your employer would need to solve, such as how to communicate with you, how to measure your productivity, and how to create a culture that's inclusive of remote workers. The latter would involve a transitionary period where in-house employees must get used to going out of their way to include the remote worker, you, in their meetings, communications, and decision-making. This could be costly, both in time and in terms of productivity. In this case, I'd not suggest misleading your employer, unless you're not prepared to go months without an income.

But in your case, moving to a remote position is as simple as having an Internet connection, a job that you can do remotely, and access to all of the tools you would need to communicate with remote workers. Since you already work with remote employees, you already have many of these tools, as well as some knowledge you've obtained via osmosis simply by working with and being exposed to other remote workers. Your managers and co-workers also know what to expect in terms of how to communicate effectively with you.

So in your case, just plan as if you're going to stay with the company. If things go well with the new prospective employment and you have to put in your two weeks notice, then do so. Treat this just as you would any other termination of employment notice by being respectful and thankful, helping your employer transition your current role to a replacement, returning any company equipment that doesn't belong to you, and leaving on good terms.


How should I handle discussions about working remote knowing that a job offer may be close at hand?

As I understand your question, your plan to move to another residence is independent of your plans to get a new job.

Consequently, you have to talk with your boss/company about working remotely.

Since others in your company are already working remotely, your company almost certainly has some established processes for the transition of in-house work to remote work.

I would suggest you talk to your boss and maybe some other person/HR who is responsible for these things in your company. At first just inform yourself about the above mentioned transition process.

  • You could start by saying that you are thinking about moving to another residence (if you don't mind to mention this at this stage).
  • Then ask what processes the company has in case somebody would like to work remotely:
    • What are the preconditions to be fulfilled if one would like to work remotely?
    • Does it imply additional costs for the company? What is the amount of these costs?
    • How long is the lead time before the transition to remote work can start/be done?
    • Is there a transition phase in which one works partly in house, partly remotely?
    • How long should this transition phase be?
    • etc.

After this talk or talks you should know all you need to request the transition to work remotely.

If I discuss with my boss arranging a work remote situation, get an offer and then give my two weeks merely weeks or days after, I have concerns that I may appear ungrateful.

Say you then requested to work remotely after informing yourself about it as mentioned above, and the transition has been done or at least started, and then you accepted a job offer of another company. If you feel being ungrateful to your company, you could now offer to bear all or part of the costs for the transition to work remotely (remember, you have informed yourself about the costs before).

This offer alone would certainly make it clear that you are not ungrateful. Maybe your company would not even accept your offer of bearing the costs. But naturally there is no guarantee that the company will not have any bad feelings.

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