Businesses have realized that data should be available across geographies to enable critical functions to continue if and when disasters strike. End-users are required to work from any remote locations and remain effectively productive. While many organizations have adapted to remote work or work from anywhere, others are still struggling to come to terms with the concept. If implemented with a proper thought-out plan, the work-from-anywhere policy can meet the demands of today’s mobile workforce, benefitting both organizations as well as end-users.
How can organizations benefit by implementing work from anywhere?
Making profits is one among the top priorities for any organization, if not the top-most priority, which can be achieved broadly by generating more revenues at a given cost (growth) and or reducing the costs (i.e. by increasing efficiency). Though easier said than done, a work-from-anywhere policy, if implemented judiciously, can help achieve both generate more revenues as well as reduce costs to a good extent.
Cost reduction can primarily be achieved by reducing a lot of expenses that an organization bears to keep employees productive in office. The free coffees, office-space rent, furniture, end-point devices (and the IT team which keeps the devices up and running), electricity charges for air-conditioners, printers and every other resource that employees would need in a workspace. Most of these costs can be optimized significantly, even if not completely, by allowing employees to work from wherever they are.
Of course, most organizations reimburse any expenditure that an employee makes on a resource that is critical to his work. But when a person is working remote, 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 limited. The reduction in costs may not be much if only a small percentage of the workforce work from home or anywhere. But when done at an organization-wide level at scale, cost-cutting would be significant.
Contrary to popular perception, the past several months have shown us that productivity does improve in a work-from-home scenario. This can be attributed to many reasons. Interestingly, a Harvard research has shown that working from anywhere would make employees even more productive than while working from home. Putting employees in a happy space, close to one’s family, saving them from the tiresome commute to office, empowering rather than controlling them, making them more accountable for outcomes and giving them more responsibility contribute in making employees more productive. Though there are bound to be exceptions, the same holds true 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 critical human resources would stay with the employer for longer. All these put together means the productivity of an organization’s workforce goes up as a whole, translating into ‘increased profitability’, while spending the same or lesser per employee than what would be spent before implementing work from anywhere.
Why do employees look forward to working from anywhere?
The idea of working from anywhere can be implemented, let alone be successful, only if the employees need. Employees stand to benefit a lot, both tangibly and intangibly, from work from anywhere.
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. Employees, when allowed to work from anywhere and need not go to office on a regular basis, are likely to move to a place with a lower cost of living, increasing their real income 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 any place 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 through a work-from-anywhere policy.
More time to spend with friends & 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 remote work
Work from anywhere can prove to be a hindrance to organizations in certain situations like when dealing with new employees, when trying to build a corporate culture, when projects need a lot of collaboration. Most importantly not all employees would be suited or willing 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 a work-from-anywhere policy is the provision of a secure, efficient, compliant, easy-to-upscale remote access to the enterprise resources.