With the pandemic’s sustained global presence, working in physical offices has become one of the top challenges of today. But, we have done what we do best: adapt. With innovative ways of navigating through this unprecedented cultural and economic shift, we are now working in an environment where it is possible to work from anywhere.
You may wonder how it could be possible to work from anywhere, or how it can be implemented as effectively as possible. It can be summarized in two words: flexibility and mobility.
With a combination of flexibility and mobility, the work from anywhere model looks more possible than ever for organizations and their employees. Here are 50 reasons why the future of work is work from anywhere.
Coworking has been a trend even before the pandemic struck the entire planet. But nowadays, coworking has shifted from being an option into the most viable and convenient work set-up, promoting work from anywhere. In a detailed interview titled Coworking in 2020 and Beyond, Liquid Space CEO Mark Gilbreath shared his optimism about coworking. In his predicated shift, the following trends are present:
1. True outlook for flexibility
2. Economic sustainability
3. Employee customization
4. Choice of productivity
5. Employee autonomy
6. Coworking accelerated
7. Guestrooms as workspace
8. Technology will soon be equipped with user flexibility.
9. Employees have more power.
10. Continuous optimization of technology to enable working from anywhere.
The pandemic has opened the gates for employee autonomy and flexibility. In an interview, with OSW, Ryan Anderson, Head of Global Insights and Research at Hermann Miller, says one observable upside is that more employees, including those with previously marginalized voices, now have the opportunity to express themselves in meetings.
The work from anywhere model helps establish work flexibility further. People may be co-located into a single cohort despite the geographic differences. With this set-up, they are brought closer together even though they are working apart. There is no need to worry about transportation and far-flung meetings because employees can do them through video conferencing. For instance, flexible working allows us to work in the comfort of our homes. Our homes will now serve multilateral purposes, from work to rest and play.
Another important facet of this set-up is deeply tied to employee health. Anderson stressed the importance of looking after employees’ mental and social well-being. He shared that in a data collection conducted in their company amongst a pool of 16,000 employees, 60% stated that their main challenge was being able to focus and be productive. We have written a detailed article, How does Worker Well-being Impact Employee Performance?, which explains how a good state of well-being results in quality performance at work.
Ryan Anderson from Hermann Miller said that their company developed to assess employee efficiency in their work from home setup. While their data suggests that 60% of the 16,000 workers who took the survey are suffering from focusing problems, Anderson says that this then becomes a question of whether workers are fully equipped to be working from home. To address this, Miller and his team uses a framework that follows this order: people, process, and place.
People: Through a model geared toward efficiency and mobility, employers can still prioritize their employees’ welfare. With this model, employees can benefit from more incentives, further encouraging them to perform better at work.
Process: The process comes second. Employers need to understand what an actual optimized process really looks like. This process can be a way to monitor employee productivity. It can ensure that even if employees are working anywhere, they can still offer the best results and report at an opportune time.
Place: Last in the list is the place or space of work. Anderson states that the place of work is in no way unimportant. After all, it is where people will execute work processes and perform tasks. However, it is only after determining the needs of the employees and optimizing their observed processes that employers can consider work space and place.
With the future of work geared toward efficiency and mobility, here are more reasons why the future of work is work from anywhere:
11. The future of work is flexibility.
12. Work from home will not go away.
13. Good remote working is not necessarily working from home. It could be work from anywhere.
14. The “one-size-fits-all” concept of society will not prosper in the workplace.
15. Workplace change management is effective. To learn more about change management, have written a detailed article “What is Change Management and Why is it Essential for Digital Transformation?”
16. We have been moving toward changes for more flexibility and mobility even before the pandemic.
17. Technology has improved to reduce workload.
18. Working anywhere only requires creating an organizational culture.
19. It is fairly easy to replicate the office environment.
20. The post-COVID era provides more definitive technology.
This advocates for employers to still consider employee welfare first:
• How are they doing?
• What are their intrinsic motivations?
• What kind of relationships do they have with each other and the organization?
Working flexibility greatly utilizes asynchronous communication. But first, let’s take a look at what synchronous communication is like. Synchronous communication refers to simultaneous interaction. Video meetings or online conferences, where people get to see and meet each other in real time, are examples of this. The people in these situations interact similarly to how we all communicated in the workplace prior to the pandemic. The main difference is they are conducted virtually. According to Anderson, synchronous communication is extremely taxing.
On the other hand, asynchronous communication allows people to interact at different times through other virtual means. These interactions are not live. People can get to work and submit their outputs at different times without simultaneously interacting with others. Anderson advocates maintaining a balance between the two to cater to different activities and needs. The following are advantages that asynchronous communication offer in the time of remote working:
21. Location-independent jobs become de-facto: tools, technologies and telecoms have provided the flexibility to work and communicate from anywhere.
22. Delegation of tasks and communication is more efficient.
23. A heterogenous workplace becomes a reality as work is accomplished despite not necessarily interacting simultaneously and in the same space.
24. There is more freedom in employee engagement.
25. Employees know and trust each other’s work.
26. People work at their own pace, when they are ready.
27. There is less pressure for employees to continuously churn outputs.
28. Tasks become more collaborative and less stressful despite not being simultaneously together.
29. Businesses stand to learn better practices.
30. People will work smarter.
Asynchronous communication can improve employee quality of life. While deadlines and processes are still in place, there is no external pressure to give immediate responses. Remote synchronous interaction is simply not as sustainable in the long run. It can be challenging to have several meetings daily without having any space to breathe or think. Synchronous communication also robs workers of creativity to produce individual outputs that fit the standards of the employer.
Time zones make it difficult for companies to weather this pandemic. If a company has employees working in different time zones, they may find it confusing, if not difficult, to meet deadlines and produce satisfactory output. This scenario is the reason why asynchronous communication is more ideal and why the hybrid model is the future of the workplace.
Face-to-face meetings often require using up the time allotted for them. With a hybrid model, online meetings can conclude earlier. Remaining meetings can be forfeited if they are unnecessary. Miller finds this helpful for efficiency and productivity as it saves employers and employees a lot of time. It allows for more individual employee productivity that having a physical office cannot always provide. Other advantages that can extend to the future include:
31. Work can become “smarter” as AI and human-machine collaboration can take over repetitive and routine tasks. This liberates staff to specialize in a lot of significant work.
32. Organizations can cut back or eliminate real estate, as well as use global talent.
33. Workers can get geographic flexibility, eliminate commutes, and report higher work-life balance.
34. Traveling while working can become a reality.
35. There will be a rise in productivity. We have written a detailed article entitled “Workplace Flexibility and Productivity (How Flexibility Can Increase Productivity in an Organization)” that details how a rise in productivity is made possible by giving employees more freedom.
36. People can choose where to work best.
37. It eases the pain of trying to find two jobs in a single location.
38. More employees can achieve better quality of life.
39. We can become digital nomads.
40. There is more time to relax.
Because the pandemic required companies to be more flexible, it also forced them to reevaluate their systems. More and more employers are now considering shifting more of their processes into a digital workspace. Some are even thinking about a complete shift to running their business online. The pandemic has allowed business owners of all kinds to assess how they can manage their time efficiently and perform work more quickly.
Prior to the pandemic, employees were required to work strictly in the office. As soon as COVID-19 struck the country, health protocols that prohibited people from going to the office or coffee shops were put in place. The abrupt change brought about the hybrid model that most companies now follow.
People are realizing that they can curate their own work week to maximize their productivity. It also gives employees the chance to evaluate their own efficiency and adjust their performance as necessary. They will develop creativity from their newfound freedom. Here are other benefits of the hybrid set-up:
41. It is cost-efficient.
42. The cost of living is lower.
43. Employees are happier.
44. Work-from-anywhere could improve existing markets.
45. It will cut back attrition.
46. Talented newcomers are consistently welcomed.
47. It helps the atmosphere.
48. Eliminating commute generates a big reduction in emissions.
49. Geographical and logistical concerns are eliminated by working anywhere.
50. It offers a large array of options for both employers and employees.
Yes. Employees need to understand how you work best as this dictates your productivity. You may consider several factors when setting up for work:
• Do you need to be surrounded by people?
• Can work at your own pace and time?
• Do you feel pressured before working?
• Should you be constantly reminded of what you need to do?
Not all the time. It is possible to work anywhere without a rigid structure. Employers may allow distributed work hours. Nonetheless, some people are more comfortable working with a specific work structure in place. Working from anywhere provides employers or managers leeway to make adjustments specified for their teams.
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