Decades ago, remote work and hybrid forms of work were nearly impossible. Most people had no choice but to go to the office, factory, or lab every day.
What’s more, the majority rarely even thought about the possibility of working from anywhere else. In that way, the world of work was highly rigid, leaving employees with little to no choice concerning where and how they performed their daily assignments.
Although remote work existed even before the COVID-19 pandemic, it became the prevalent form of work in 2020. Social distancing and lockdowns forced companies to rethink their strategies and ensure employee safety.
At Market Talent, we’ve worked with several financial institutions that haven’t ever considered its employees working from anywhere, but now, the fintech industry and start-ups are desperate to try something different. They’re figuring out that permanent remote work is the future of work – COVID or not.
It’s no wonder that the number of people who work from home has increased by 140 per cent since 2005. For instance, 60 per cent of the UK’s adult population was teleworking during the coronavirus crisis, but 26 per cent plan to continue working remotely after the pandemic.
In the beginning, remote work was an emergency response, but its benefits quickly became evident, making people less than excited to go back to physical offices. Seventy-five per cent of employees feel more productive working from home.
On the other hand, 40 per cent love that telework allows greater flexibility than traditional forms of work. Because of that, 68 per cent of professionals would prefer to continue working remotely in 2022 and beyond.
Indeed, flexible work appears to be the future, and companies that centre around office work only will likely struggle to attract talents. However, many people think that work from home and remote work are interchangeable terms. Yet, that’s not entirely true.
Remote work, work from home, work from anywhere: what’s the difference?
Work from home (WFH) and remote work were likely the most discussed topics in the world of work and the HR industry in the past two years. They might have started as a trend, but nowadays, they’re a must.
Many job seekers see these forms of work as non-negotiable to perceive a company as their potential employer. Both provide plenty of benefits for the staff and business, but there’s a thin line between WFH and remote work.
The former is typically a perk and not long-term. The latter is a way of working, meaning that these employees might not get the same advantages as WFH workers.
Work from home
People who work from home also work in an office but can stay at home when they need a change of environment. Moreover, they might have no meetings or reasons to be in the office on Friday, so they decide to complete their assignments at home.
Employees who have access to this perk could also skip in-person work if they need to focus on a task and avoid distractions they might encounter in the company (e.g., chatty co-workers). Thus, employers typically provide the equipment for these workers.
As a result, they can take their work laptop anywhere and work in a coffee or at their desk. These employees might be able to choose whether they’ll work from home three days and two in the office, or they can make this decision whenever they want.
That means that WFH employees are free to alter their routine and adapt their pace of work to their assignments or mood. In general, this form of flexible work enables people to shift between the office and home.
However, when they work online, co-workers might have to align schedules with the absence of these workers. Thus, WFH employees still have regular in-person meetings and must update their managers about their assignments. That might not be the case with remote work.
Remote is the default form of work. It’s not a perk, and employees can’t choose to go to the physical office and have coffee breaks with their co-workers.
Hence, workers work outside their companies all the time and perhaps never meet their boss or colleagues. Because of that, it requires a different skillset, resources, and mindset.
Remote employees are typically more productive when working individually and are self-sufficient. They love to take the initiative and have stellar time-management abilities.
Proactive communication is of paramount importance in this form of work as these employees usually rely on collaborative platforms to keep up with their teams. Because of that, they must pay attention to detail and send regular updates to ensure they’re on the same track as their co-workers.
Moreover, remote workers usually must invest in their equipment as employers rarely have this responsibility. That means that these employees establish their work environment and invest in the necessary technology.
The advantage is that they can adjust their office to their preferences or work from a coffee shop if that suits them better. On the other hand, remote workers often deal with various distractions, such as outside noise, family, or children.
They also can’t go to the office when they feel lonely or need a brainstorming session with their teammates. These employees create their benefits and solve any work-related issues alone.
However, they have more freedom and can frequent bars and workspaces that gather remote workers.
Work from anywhere
The definition of work from anywhere will likely expand and evolve as this is still a predominantly novel form of work. Many describe it as an upgrade from work from home and as the approach most companies will take in the future.
Work from anywhere falls in the category of flexible work arrangements. Nowadays, many organisations go beyond WFH and establish the necessary conditions that enable their staff to work from any location while delivering top-notch results.
These employers encourage employees to be autonomous and have more freedom to decide about their work environment but stay in touch with the company culture. In the beginning, most organisations thought of WFH as an optimal choice, but working from anywhere (WFA) seems to be the pinnacle of flexibility.
Because of that, many large enterprises are announcing their commitment to WFA. For example, Amazon is hiring nearly 92,000 employees over the globe, and Ford will allow 30,000 employees to work from anywhere permanently.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey also embraced WFA, encouraging employees to choose how and where to work. Hence, they can either work from physical offices or continue working from home for as long as they want.
Some professionals beg the question of whether work from anywhere represents a rebranding of remote work. Both lie on similar principles and practices, making the difference a tad blurry.
Work from anywhere raises other intriguing questions, such as whether this form of work is the end of urbanisation and could it diminish the need for physical offices altogether.
Although it’s early to say what the long-lasting impact of WFA will be, for now, it seems to be a balanced blend of remote work and work from home. It enables employees to embrace their autonomy, work in any part of the world but still have the option to catch up with co-workers in the office.
What makes work from anywhere the best form of work?
Indeed, work from anywhere seems to be the ideal reconciliation between remote work and work from home. That means it offers the best of both worlds.
WFA might have seemed like an absurd idea in 2011, but the world of work is evolving and adapting to the current moment. Today, most people would perceive office work and nine-to-five schedules as outdated practices.
As humans, we continuously seek ways to improve, be more agile and innovative. Some might describe work from anywhere as a rebadge of work from home, but it’s the next step in the flexible work evolution.
Technology has come a long way since the early 90s, giving people the ability to reduce the number of menial tasks, accelerate processes, and no longer rely on physical spaces.
After the pandemic hit the world, employers had to adapt, but the results of this work environment change were surprising. People understood that not everyone needs or wants to be in an office to complete their assignments.
Moreover, not every person enjoys teamwork or thrives in a cubicle. Individuals, teams, and departments can be equally productive working from home or anywhere in the world.
Some employees also dislike offices because micromanagement tends to be rampant, and they can’t focus and perform their best when they feel managers are continuously monitoring them.
Today, more people than ever can choose a type of work that works best for their life situation, needs, and personality. And having a choice makes any work less stressful.
As a result, employees can improve their work-life balance and spend more time with their friends and families. However, working from anywhere takes that freedom further by allowing people to feel connected to a company despite working on a different continent.
On the other hand, WFA is beneficial for businesses because it reduces investments in office spaces, office equipment, cleaning services, team building events, and utility bills.
For example, the average real-estate savings for organisations with remote employees are approximately 10,000 USD per worker annually. When most employees work outside the office, employers can rent smaller offices as they’ll typically only have the essential personnel on-site.
WFA also has benefits for the planet. If everyone with the desire and ability to work from home did so just 50 per cent of the time, that would result in a substantial greenhouse gas reduction.
In a nutshell, WFA gives employees the freedom of choice, allowing them to work from anywhere in the world without losing the connection with their team. Thus, companies can decrease their financial spending and hire talents around the globe.
Hence, employers that fail to offer work from anywhere model could have a challenging time attracting job seekers.
How to attract top talents with the work from anywhere model
Spotify understands the importance of work from anywhere. This streaming media platform expressed commitment to WFA on their website by stating ‘work isn’t somewhere you go, it’s something you do’.
Moreover, Spotify explains that some people work better in the office while others are more productive at home. However, the majority is most effective when they have options.
Undoubtedly, companies and enterprises that follow a similar approach will find it much easier to attract diverse talents across the globe. According to a recent survey, employers that fail to include flexible work options could lose highly qualified job seekers and struggle to get applicants.
These companies will likely have to compensate by increasing starting salary offers. Moreover, 90 per cent of the youngest job seekers – millennials and Generation Z refuse to return to full-time office work after the pandemic.
Hence, companies that want skilled professionals to perceive them as potential employers must consider WFA. It allows them to expand their talent pool, boost inclusion, improve employee job satisfaction, and reduce operational costs.
Here are the tips on how organisations can implement WFA and attract job seekers worldwide:
Establish the necessary infrastructure
Before shifting to the WFA model, assess your tech infrastructure and ensure you have the necessary equipment. This type of work relies on stellar communication platforms that enable swift collaboration and teamwork.
Identify technology tools that align with your business objectives, number of employees, and customer needs.
Use data-sharing platforms
Look for the best data-sharing services. They enable uploading, editing, and sharing files with the leadership team and staff in real-time. Pay attention to data privacy clauses to avoid leaks and information breaches.
The best way to ensure your work from anywhere model functions seamlessly is by implementing software with a centralised dashboard that gives easy access to the staff. That way, you can have all the data in one place while also having features such as video meetings, progress tracking, and project management.
Concise job descriptions
Job seekers can only know your company enables work from anywhere if you clarify it in your job ads and on your career page. Create concise, straightforward, and attractive job descriptions and share them on relevant job boards and social media to reach your target audience.
WFA offers plenty of possibilities to employees. It allows them to travel while working, continue their education, attend job-related workshops, or grow their families.
This form of work fosters a work-life balance and ensures people work from where they feel at their best. On the other hand, employers can break geographical barriers and work with international talents without investing in physical offices.
Freedom of choice lies at the essence of work from anywhere, making it the logical next step in the world of work. Because of that, WFA will likely merge with traditional forms of work, making it non-negotiable.
From financial analysts to planners to high-finance corporate positions, the finance industry provides brilliant opportunities to work flexibly. Market Talent has a lengthy history in placing great people into great companies across finance, banking, and fintech. Get in touch to find out more.