While the world in still getting used to the concept of work from home, how does the idea of work from anywhere sound? Let us examine why work from anywhere would prove to be beneficial for both employers and employees and the hurdles that would arise in implementing work from anywhere.
Why would an employer implement work from anywhere?
Making profits is going to be one among the top priorities of any employer, if not the top-most priority. Two ways of increasing profits –(i) generate more revenue at a given cost (growth) and or (ii) reduce costs (increase efficiency). Both of these are easier said than done. But work from anywhere policy is something that can help an employer achieve both – generating more revenue and reduction of costs to a good extent.
Reduction of Expenses:
Cost reduction is primarily achieved by reducing almost all expenses that an employer bears to keep an employee in office. The free coffee, the office-space rent, furniture, the end-point device (and the IT team which keeps the device working), electricity charges for the air-conditioner, printer and every other resource that an employee would need to be provided with in a workspace. All of these which costs the company because their employees come to office to work can be cut down significantly, if not completely.
Of-course most employers reimburse any expenditure that an employee makes on a resource that is critical to his work. But when a person is remote working, the need arises only for very essential items, as most exchange of resources happen digitally, the need for spending on any physical resource would be eliminated. This might not sound like a fancy idea if an employer lets a negligible percentage of his employees to work from anywhere. But when done at an organization-wide level at scale, cost’s cut would prove to have significant impact on an organization’s profit.
Productivity while working from home generally goes up and does not really plummet, which is very unlike what many of us expected. This can be attributed to many reasons. A Harvard research has shown that working from anywhere would make employees even more productive than when working from home. Putting employees in a happy space, close to one’s family, saving employees from the tiresome commute to office, empowering employees rather than controlling, making employees more accountable for outcomes and giving them more responsibility could all make contribute in making employees more productive. Though, there are bound to be exceptions which well could have been even in a brick and mortar model. Effectively work from anywhere can act as a powerful employee retention tool, and this would mean that the needed, critical human resource stay with the employer for longer periods of time. All these put together means the productivity of an organization’s workforce goes up as a whole, which translates into ‘increased profitability’ for employers, as they spend the same or lesser per employee than before implementing work from anywhere.
Why would employees want to work from anywhere?
The idea of working from anywhere can be implemented, let alone being successful, only if the employees need. Employees stand to benefit a lot from work from anywhere implementation both tangibly, and intangibly.
Increased real income because of reduced expenses:
The cost of living in metros where most offices are located, is generally way higher than those tier-II and tier-III cities. The employees when let to work from anywhere and need not go to their office on a regular basis would move over to a place where their living expenses could go down, which would mean that their real income has gone up, with a given salary. Apart from the reduced living expenditure, expenses on fuel for regular commute would also drastically reduce. While these are tangible benefits for an employee, the intangible benefits look even more brighter.
Better work-life balance and good health
All employees may not be comfortable working in a closed office space. Some might just work with increased productivity when working in open fresh air, in a lush green environment, while some might want to be left alone without any distractions. All such employees could now move to anyplace they want to, without their employer being a hindrance, with no worries about work-life balance. The mental health issues that corporate employees face might be mitigated when working from anywhere.
Being closer to friends and family
Remote work gives employees more opportunities to be with their loved ones. Employees can spend more time with, and give better attention to their spouses and kids. They now get an opportunity to live with their aging parents if they need to. The intangible benefits that an employee stands to get is potentially the most important factor which might make work from anywhere a hit.
Hurdles to overcome before implementation
As work from anywhere idea, can prove to be a hindrance to employers in certain situations like when dealing with new employees, when trying to build a corporate culture, when projects need collaborative work from a team. Most importantly not all employees would be suited to work from anywhere, which is where building the right culture to work from anywhere and choosing the right people and methods of implementation is sacrosanct.
Having said all this, one very important thing an employer must do for implementing work from anywhere policy is the provision of a secure, efficient, compliant, easy-to-upscale remote access to the enterprise resources.