Work From Anywhere - The New Employee Benefit, Is It Worth It?

   Minute Read     Performance & Culture

Work From Anywhere - The New Employee Benefit, Is It Worth It?
Table of Contents

    Picture this…you’re getting up for work and rather than heading to your usual workspace in the office or at your desk in your house you’re heading to your desk with a glistening sea view abroad, a bustling coffee shop in NYC or your AirBnB in the alps. Imagine a world where you can travel the world whilst you work your 9-5 job. As more employers consider a range of different benefits in a bid to increase employee retention in the wake of The Great Resignation, the benefit in the spotlight right now is the work from anywhere (WFA) policy. 

    woman working abroad on balcony through company work from home policy

    Spotify have been recognised in the news lately because of their work from anywhere policy which has caused their turnover rate to fall. Spotify announced the new policy in February 2021 which lets their employees determine how often they work from the office and where they work as long as the company operates in that specific location. Spotify reported a lower turnover rate compared to pre-pandemic levels and it has increased its representation across various locations, which has made a big difference to their DEI objectives. 

    But whilst Spotify has regulations in place that state where their employees can work, many companies offer a work from anywhere policy that knows no bounds. Thomson Reuters have levelled up their work from anywhere policy, giving employees the freedom to work anywhere in the world for four weeks out of their eight week holiday allowance and gives employees the freedom to adjust their working hours to enjoy their travels. 

    HiBob introduced their own WFA policy that gives employees the freedom to work from just about anywhere in the world for up to two months a year alongside its hybrid work model. The policy has allowed employees to really indulge and make the most of their days, giving them flexible work schedules where allowed so that employees can really make the most of experiencing different parts of the world. 

    Work From Anywhere - Is It Worth It?

    The importance of flexible working arrangements and the impact that our environment has on our ability to produce good work has more employers considering policies such as work from anywhere rather than work from home policies. But is it worth it? 

    What is the difference between work from home and work from anywhere policies? Working from home refers to full time employees who have the option to work remotely from their place of residence full time. Work from anywhere policies permit employees to work abroad for a period of time which is usually longer than a week but less than a year. 

    work from anywhere policies are great for work life balance

    The meaning of work has changed from a place we go to, to a thing that we do. Certain events have shown that we can work from just about anywhere. So why shouldn't we? 

    Not only has the policy been praised by employees who have experienced the policy but hard data also indicates that WFA policies help with employee retention, satisfaction and productivity levels. 

    When considering a work from anywhere policy, think about these questions: 

    • Is WFA a sustainable option for your company?
    • How many days of WFA should you allow per year?
    • Which countries will you include or exclude?

    Most Popular Industries and Jobs That Offer Work From Anywhere 

    In 2020, only 5% of remote jobs could be done anywhere in the world. But now it’s a different picture, in 2022 remote working is fast becoming the norm. Flexjobs have listed the top 30 companies with the most work from anywhere job listings for the year of 2021. To make the list, companies must offer remote jobs with zero location restrictions and zero time in the office. 

    The list includes a huge range of industries from computer IT, education, marketing, accounting and finance as well as job titles like business development manager, copywriter, marketing and social media managers and web designers. 

    You might think that some of these roles would be freelance roles, but all of these roles are full time staff jobs with benefits and work perks. They also found that medical and health, customer service, administrative work, sales, IT, education and training and accounting and finance are the industries with the greatest number of work from home jobs. 

    Three Things to Consider When Working From Anywhere 

    Remain present, communicative and collaborative with peers and clients


    It’s going to be super exciting working in a new place, you’ll most likely be out and about, planning things to do and making the most of your time so clear communication with your team about your working hours is incredibly important. When it comes to remote and hybrid working communication is the only thing that will keep everyone connected and in the loop, even more so when employees are working in a different part of the world. 

    Having a modern intranet is the perfect solution to keep employees connected globally through functions like instant chat to communicate, document management to find exactly what you need and hubs and communities to keep connected with your colleagues. 

    Ensure Your Location Has Good Wi-Fi

    Good Wi-Fi makes the world go round. We all know how frustrated we feel when our internet connection is slow, your connection dips mid call or your having wifi problems… so if working far far away you need to ensure that your Wifi is up to the job of connecting you with your organisation and peers and allowing you to do your job efficiently. 

    Understand Time Differences 

    working from anywhere means working with time differences and clear communication

    One of the main barriers to working from anywhere can be the time zone differences, where in one location it might be mid morning in another location the evenings are drawing in. This requires flexibility from both the business and its employees and consistent communication. A good idea is to alternate when meetings happen so that it benefits everyone in the business. This is also great for cutting meeting times down, as you only discuss what’s important and relevant. 

    Benefits of Work From Anywhere

    Improved Diversity

    Having a work from anywhere policy means that you can hire people from across the world, your talent pool isn’t restricted to a particular mile radius. Hiring employees from across the globe, with a different set of skills and experiences and really diversifying your workforce. Diversity in the workplace is great for collaboration, creativity and innovation so being able to hire employees in a global job market will have a positive impact. 

    Better Hire Quality

    Having remote work options means you can easily grow your operations and hire extremely specialised employees who aren’t bound by geographical location. As mentioned previously your talent pool isn’t restricted to a particular city. The world really is your oyster and you’ll be able to hire the best of the best. 

    Better - Work Life Balance

    Having the freedom to work from anywhere is a great opportunity and will have a profound impact on employees' work life balance. It gives your employees the choice and power to really utilise their spare time outside of working hours - with the freedom to travel, employees can spend their down time exploring new cities, learning new skills and really soaking up new cultures and experiencing new ways of life. 

    working from anywhere means employees have a great work life balance

    Improved Employee Wellbeing 

    Flexible working policies are all about choosing where and when you work best and being able to work from anywhere in the world gives you the ultimate choice in where you do that. The freedom of creating a work environment that you can thrive in, and the benefits of having a proper work life balance are all huge contributors to employee wellbeing. So even though your employees might be far away, they’ll most definitely be bringing their best selves to work. 

    Drawbacks of Work From Anywhere 

    Harder to Communicate With Staff 

    Without the right systems and tools in place it can be really hard to communicate and connect with your remote staff. Make sure you’re putting in the extra effort to communicate with your employees and teams regularly, have regular one to one and team check ins with your employees, organise non-related work catch ups to keep everyone connected and boost morale and make sure you have your channels of communication established so people can communicate with ease. 

    Less Face to Face Time 

    Sometimes the best brainstorming sessions occur during in person meetings and having that real life face to face contact. If you ask anyone, they’ll most likely say they prefer in person meetings as opposed to zoom meetings. Whilst it is possible to achieve great things with a fully remote team, it does require a lot more effort on the communication side of things, having a proper structure and plan on how to get the best out of each meeting and requires a lot of trust in your workforce. 

    Impact on Company Culture

    If more people choose to work remotely across different locations then naturally the office conversations and water cooler moments become few and far between. It can be easy to feel disconnected from the office and the company culture and therefore it’s important to put tools in place to bring employees together in a digital environment.

    Oak’s hubs and communities are a perfect way of keeping colleagues connected through interests and hobbies, as well as work related projects. You could even create a hub for all workers who are working remotely worldwide and get them to post updates on their travels and share their adventures - it’s a great way of keeping everyone connected. 

    Working from anywhere shouldn’t be an issue, why not check out some of Oak Engage’s intranet features that will ensure your colleagues and team can stay connected, no matter where they are in the world? 

    Victoria

    Vic is one of Oaks Content Marketing Specialists. She specialises in communication and marketing and is also a host on the Comms In A Nutshell podcast for Internal Comms & HR professionals.