This article named telecommuting culture is an interesting look at how job ads can make it pretty clear about the associated company culture. It pretty much sums up my own experiences of how to tell a company culture that I like from one where I'll just never fit in...
"The world’s a big place. There’s a lot of developers in it. There’s even a few kick ass ones. Most of those don’t live near you ... By being up front about telecommuting not being and option, you’re telling me that company comes first ... Hiring someone good is important, but hiring the best you can afford isn’t."
There's a follow-on post on taking stances that points out how much of a controversy was stirred up by his original, highly opinionated post. He's nicely pointed out that his stance was a strong one - in order to generate discussion, but that he's not unreasonable, basically he just wants people to understand that job-hunting is a two-way street. The following quotes best summarise his (modified) stance.
"Companies that start the conversation with prospective employees by outlining the things they aren’t going to stand for are starting off on the wrong foot..."
"Companies, particularly in the tech space, are asking their potential employees to take a chance on them. Companies are taking a risk too, but when companies expect the employees to be the only ones giving (broadly disregarding monetary compensation from the companies for the moment), they set the wrong tone."
I completely agree with this feeling. Sometimes employers forget that they're not just interviewing you, but that you are also interviewing them - and that this really is a business proposal that has to be fair to both sides. If a company comes across as unwilling to be flexible for any reason, it doesn't bode well for the rest of the employment relationship.
I've too often seen employers that seem to think they own your soul once you sign on the dotted line... that they can make any demand of you and that you'll jump-to. This is the business equivalent of "the customer can have any colour he likes so long as it's black". Which may well work just fine for people that like black... but if you find it overheats in the sun and you need white... you'll find it best to take your business elsewhere. In fact I wrote about the lack of viability of this attitude (at length) in Up or out: the attitude for contractors.
This seems especially to be the case in a down economy as has recently been the case - where I've even seen some employers demand unpaid overtime and drop loud hints about how people should be grateful for having any job at all in this economy.
Apart from being incredibly rude, such employers are short-sighted. Firstly - the economy is going to pick up again... at which point, the indentured slaves are quite capable of picking up sticks and going elsewhere. Secondly - even in the down economy, there were enough jobs (at least in my field) to go and find somewhere that treated their employees like human beings rather than indentured servants.
It pays, in the long run, to be considerate to your staff; to even be flexible, or generous. After all, they're the ones who are literally making your company's money, day-in and day-out.