Work from anywhere policy

As the pandemic eases and cases of COVID are becoming more of a part of everyday life, we see how the approach to work is slowly starting to adapt once again. I must admit, I thought as soon as we were able to, work would want us all straight back to 5 days in the office for optimal productivity but that appears to not be the case.

Work places have continually allowed their employees to have an agile approach to work, flexibly working to ensure collaboration in the office with colleagues, whilst having the ability to work from home and spend less time commuting. Most of us will have returned more frequently to some sort of work environment, whether that be 3 days in work and 2 days at home or just coming in as and when you please during the week. Some companies, however, have taken this to a new type of extreme flexibility, allowing their employees to not only work from home but work from anywhere (WFA).

What is the WFA policy and why do we need it?

Over the past couple of years, companies have been forced to accommodate employer needs and become more flexible with their work policies as lifestyles changed throughout the pandemic. According to recent surveys, it was discovered that 78% of people mostly working from home want to continue doing so after the pandemic, with some people not even having a workplace to go to that isn’t at home (home office life)!

Work from anywhere (WFA) refers to a workplace policy that allows employees to work from a location of their choosing, whether it be in a different city or another country entirely. Although this concept seems slightly alien, we’ve seen a few companies trialing and allowing their employees to do this and if it means higher staff retention then who’s to say it’s not a great idea?!

Airbnb is one of the biggest companies who have adopted the WFA policy, allowing their employees to move to entirely different countries and still keep their job.

Airbnb is one of the biggest companies who have adopted the WFA policy, allowing their employees to move to entirely different countries and still keep their job. Seems too good to be true right? Many of the companies offices closed during lockdown, as nobody was able to travel or go away on a summer break, but they embraced this during the pandemic and are now thriving, giving their employees the choice of wherever they work. Whether it be an office in the UK or in a holiday home in Thailand, their wage and role will not be compromised for where they choose to live.

So what are the benefits of WFA?

Many of us have long commute times, and in a planet that is suffering continual global warming and pollution issues, every journey saved helps. It was found that the average commute time is 62 minutes a day which, if we were to be able to WFA, could prevent just one car being on the road for 5 hours a week. Think of how many hours that would be if we were all able to do it! With the price of commuting on trains, buses and even by car with rising petrol prices, it’s a no brainer that it’s not only better for the planet to cut commute time, but better for our wallet and mental health too.

Allowing staff to have more autonomy at work too is also a huge benefit. Employers giving more flexibility and autonomy to their staff has resulted in greater relationships and trust between managers and staff. Employees feel less need to take sick days or time off for things like taking their car for an MOT or picking up their children from school.

There is also a better work life balance for employees in companies that are adopting the WFA structure. I know of friends who have been able to travel and not take a significant amount of leave as their company allows them to work from anywhere. As long as the work is done, why should it matter where or when it is completed. Want to move to Australia? Sure. Why not? Want to travel for 6 months but not have to quit your job or take a dip in income? Cool, carry on working. This is also great news for staff retention as employees may have to consider leaving their job if they want to relocate, but if the exact same work can be achieved from anywhere in the world then there really is no need. It also reduces the need and cost for large office spaces, saving a company money on building rental and electricity bills whilst still being a fully functional team.

It’s also been said that flexible working patterns create increased productivity and motivation. If you are more of a night owl than a morning person maybe it would better suit you to work 2pm-10pm than 9am-5pm. The same can also be applied if you are working the same hours but in a different country as time differences can mean not everyones hours match up. I think I can speak for us all that if I was able to move abroad or travel and work then I definitely would!

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