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Just barely in its infancy, the powerful new way of working known as “Work from Anywhere” is already under threat – from the very things that make it possible.
Hooray! We’re working from anywhere these days.
But how long that lasts is anybody’s guess.
“Work from Anywhere” (WfA) may be today’s hottest business concept. You probably know it by one of many other names, including telecommuting, working remotely, work-from-home, work-on-the-go and others. By any name, it’s all the same: Organizations give their employees wide latitude to do their jobs from anywhere they’d like.
And anywhere means just that: Kitchen table, hotel conference center, airport lounge, city park bench, even the backseat of an Uber ride, I’m sure.
Work from Anywhere sprang up for many reasons, mostly related to employee satisfaction, productivity and cost. It’s also the right way of working at the right time. The increasing speed of today requires faster, more efficient ways of collaborating. WfA makes our organizations more nimble and agile by putting an end to the days of having to coordinate our schedules, physically get together in a conference room and painstakingly hash through decisions.
The benefits to both employees and employers are eye-opening. Employees gain much needed flexibility in their jobs – both in working hours and location – helping them establish a better work-life integration. Plus they feel more empowered and trusted and thus tend to be more engaged and dedicated.
Companies, of course, reap the rewards of higher employee productivity and satisfaction. Plus greater employee wellbeing helps attract additional winning talent. And then there’s the immense benefit of reduced infrastructure and overhead costs. With employees largely off campus, there’s less need for pricey real-estate.
With all these benefits, companies are – rightly – falling all over themselves to adopt this new way of working. But there’s a big difference between merely doing something and doing it right. Ironically, the most dangerous threats to WfA are the very things that make it possible in the first place: Technology and culture.
The companies that will be most successful with WfA will be those that have both a robust technology infrastructure and an equally robust corporate culture. A lack of those two key components could lead to employee disillusionment and a rapid return to the old, slow-footed, ways of doing business.
Work from Anywhere offers rich benefits to organizations and employees alike. To realize its promise, organizations must ensure they have both the cultural and technological infrastructures in place to support this powerful new way of working.