carsI’m writing this column on the heels of a recruiting call I made recently on behalf of a downtown Chicago-based client. The candidate I spoke with is in-house at a company headquartered in nearby suburban Schaumburg, Illinois. She goes into the nearby headquarters office two days per week as part of her company’s hybrid model. While my client could offer a better position in terms of title and compensation, this candidate was unwilling to commute into downtown Chicago three days per week as part of my client’s hybrid office model.

To commute or not to commute is a topic I feel compelled to address, so let me start with a few observations:

• There is absolutely a generational dynamic at play. The expectation of schedule flexibility is much higher among younger professionals without a history of commuting.

• In my opinion, based on hundreds of conversations on this topic with candidates … very few professionals actually want to go into a headquarters office. The generational shift has more to do with a willingness to do so.

• A willingness to commute and/or relocate for a position will absolutely increase your options as a candidate … at all levels of the law department pyramid.

• Conversely, if you are a general counsel who can embrace home officing as the default mode for work, your candidate options will increase in a tight labor market for talent. Commuting is no longer a given.

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