The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic sparked many new workplace trends over the past two years. Employees were sent home with company laptops and wireless connectivity, and they discovered the joys of remote work. In the early days of the pandemic, organizations like We Forum recommended remote transition solutions for employers who needed to make the tough call to ask employees to work from home (WFH).
Remote working is a prime example of business transformation, working on several levels. During the pandemic, remote work allowed employers to keep their business operations at full capacity while employees could keep their jobs. Best of all, everyone benefited. Employees remained productive and found that they could tend to their families and outside interests once they accomplished work goals.
That doesn’t mean employees did less, but they were motivated to do more in less time to move on to other life matters.
With a push from the remote model and the continuing recovery efforts as restrictions continue to lift, you might hear more about the work from anywhere (WFA) model and wonder what it’s all about.
What Is WFA?
You might hear the term or phrase WFA used a lot these days, but the concept isn’t new.
According to Prithwiraj (Raj) Choudhury at the Harvard Business Review, “Before 2020, a movement was brewing within knowledge-work organizations. Personal technology and digital connectivity had advanced so far and so fast that people had begun to ask, ‘Do we really need to be together, in an office, to do our work?’ We got our answer during the pandemic lockdowns.”
Like remote work and work-from-home models, WFA was in the works long before COVID-19 wreaked havoc worldwide. However, you might not have heard of it quite as much as the others.
The work from anywhere model is one way employers can offer employees the freedom to work outside the office. In this case, the possibilities are endless. Employees can branch out from a typical remote or WFH at-home strategy. With WFA, employers give workers the freedom to work from anywhere in the world.
The concept is nearly the same as WFH, but it allows employees to branch out even further. They can travel or live abroad and work entirely remotely. The arrangement will take a lot of work to iron out the details, but these work plans increasingly benefit both the employer and employee.
Why Should Your Business Consider Adopting the WFA Model?
With a robust agreement and strong trust in employees, you can make WFA work to benefit your organization. You put your employees’ time management, work-life balance, and overhead costs entirely in their hands. Best of all, when you place your trust in employees to do their jobs, they often return the favor and remain loyal to your organization with the motivation to keep improving.
How Can Your Company Support WFA?
If you like the sound of WFA benefits, you probably want to find a way to support this work model to empower your employees.
Here are some key things to consider when starting your own WFA model for success.
Provide Your Employees with the Mobile-Friendly Tech They Need
The types of devices your employees need might depend on the type of business you run. You can often equip them with laptops and smartphones to prepare documents, presentations, and respond to emails. Sometimes, they might need more, such as headsets with built-in microphones for telephone calls and a high-quality built-in laptop camera for Zoom calls.
Finally, don’t forget that they might need mobile connectivity, such as wireless hotspots, so search for the best deal on an unlimited mobile hotspot plan.
Invest in a Mobile App That Makes Communication Seamless
It’s more important than ever to invest in a workplace platform that ensures easy communication, no matter where employees are stationed. With an agile workplace app, you can keep your in-person, remote, and WFA teams informed, safe, and productive. With these apps, you can encourage collaboration, allowing for better communication, mentoring, knowledge sharing, problem-solving, brainstorming, and socialization.
Equip Employees with Robust Cybersecurity Protocols
We all know that working from the local coffee shop has risks when connected to a public WiFi connection. WFA culture brings a whole new set of risks for employees and employers. When you allow your intellectual and confidential customer information free in the wild in the hands of an employee, you need to trust that they will follow all the protocols you put in place. Another issue stems from letting employees use their own devices that might feature less protection than your own.
Regardless of your industry, keeping your customer, corporate, and employee information secure is vital. Top IT firms like TCS use machine learning algorithms to detect unusual or dangerous activities near devices.
Even as COVID-19 closures wind down, your employees are likely to have some degree of interest in WFA. It’s good to have it on your radar, and consider allowing some employees to try it out to see if it is a good fit for your organization.