Companies not already open to working from home made drastic changes to maintain their operations, while those who had the infrastructure in place managed to bring their employees and clients up-to-speed in no time.
This brings up the burning question: Do people really need to be in the same room or building to get work done? The answer to this lies in the concept of anywhere operations, a working model with numerous benefits for employers and employees alike.
Can the Workplace Be Anywhere?
If someone asked this question in 2015, it would seem absurd. Remote work and anywhere operations are not just working models to implement in your company; they are the need of the hour.
According to Gartner, anywhere operations is best defined as an IT model ensuring an efficient workflow, while also maintaining uninterrupted support and assistance for clients and customers. It enables employees to work from the comfort of their homes and encourages the use of distributed infrastructure for the deployment of business services.
The concept of anywhere operations encapsulates several tools and technologies making it a success, such as remote access, visual collaboration, organization management, data sharing, and much more. Employers need to be able to manage projects in real-time, while also being able to manage employees, share documentation, and conduct team meetings virtually.
Some organizations took anywhere operations to the next level by integrating virtual reality and augmented reality into their remote workflow, enabling them to manage businesses even more efficiently.
The scale of the anywhere operations model you apply depends on several factors, including the size of your company, the industry you work in, and your technical requirements.
Personal technology continues to evolve, meaning employees do not need to rely on their employers to provide them with high-end gadgets to get work done faster. They can make do with a smartphone for communication and meetings and their personal laptop for accessing data and performing their daily tasks.
Remote work statistics in 2021 show more and more companies coming around to the idea of hiring employees remotely, and the statistics also reflect people enjoy working from home or anywhere they want. In return, they are even willing to give up some of the other employee benefits they received in the past.
Yes, the workplace can be anywhere, as long as you have a solid infrastructure in place preventing any downtime. The success of your anywhere operations depends on how well your employees adapt to it.
Benefits of the Work-From-Anywhere Trend
The work-from-anywhere trend is reshaping the way business owners think and make important decisions, and it allows for a major paradigm shift from offices spanning multiple floors to a single-story office with a handful of essential employees.
This is the true power of anywhere operations, bringing with it a wide array of benefits supporting both the organization and its employees. Numerous companies already give their employees the ability to work from home indefinitely, including Slack, Twitter, and many other tech and non-tech corporations.
Take a look at the major benefits of the work-from-anywhere trend, from the perspective of employees, companies, and society in general.
Benefits for Employees
One of the biggest benefits of working from anywhere for employees is the flexibility to work on their own terms with comfort and convenience. There is no need to wake up as early as you did before, and you do not need to stress about the process of dressing appropriately for the workplace.
You do not have to reserve any space in your house for work; you can simply open up your laptop and sit in your favorite chair or even the bed. There is no substitute for the convenience experienced while working from anywhere.
Not only can you work from home, but it gives you the freedom to choose your workplace on your own. You are not bound by your residence, city, or even country. You could be attending a staff meeting while sitting in front of the Eiffel Tower or viewing the clear blue waters of the Maldives.
In a nutshell, some of the notable benefits of work-for-anywhere for employees are:
- Cost savings
- Flexibility and freedom to choose work hours
- Getting more work done in less time
- A better work/life balance
Read on for the benefits of the work-from-anywhere model for companies.
Benefits for Companies
The top benefit of the work-from-anywhere trend for companies is saving significant money on operational costs, including daily upkeep and maintenance costs, repairs, services, electricity, phone, and internet bills.
Most companies employ a limited workforce, partly because there is no additional space in their current office. In a normal setting, they would squeeze in some space, or rent out an additional office, to accommodate new hires.
The work-from-anywhere trend allows you to hire remote employees. Since you are not limited by a geographical or demographic barrier, you can hire employees from any part of the world. It also allows you to include top global talent in your hiring process. Remote employees used to be hired on a contractual or part-time basis, but now they are hired full-time.
By cutting down on many of the unnecessary things happening in a regular workforce, your employees can get more work done in less time. Without actually seeing your employees “at work”, you might be concerned with how many hours they spend working. That visibility is not necessary as long as you record an increase in productivity.
To sum things up, here are the benefits of work-from-anywhere for employers:
- Improved productivity
- Higher job satisfaction
- Saving money on operational costs
- Shorter and more effective meetings
The benefits of work-from-anywhere for society in general might be the most impactful.
Benefits for Society
By shifting to a work-from-anywhere model, companies can hire employees through an equal opportunity process, where people are hired according to their skill level and regardless of their race, religion, gender, physical conditions, or any other discriminatory factors.
Employers can make a positive impact on society by reducing the gender pay gap, as well as the pay gap associated with location. Other substantial benefits to society include:
- Less commuting and less pollution
- More time for leisure and other productive activities
- More opportunities for people who physically cannot leave home
- Freedom to travel the world while working
Challenges of the Work-From-Anywhere Trend
Although it seems like a win-win situation, there are still possible challenges in shifting your company’s operations from an office-based environment to a work-from-anywhere model. Examine these challenges and hurdles below.
One challenge employees may face is spending more time on their own, especially if they live alone. It may seem peaceful and calming to some, but it may be depressing for others. In that case, their motivation is also going to take a hit.
A study suggests companies face major hurdles when their employees are working remotely. Some of these challenges occur in areas like communication, team management, performance tracking, and employee supervision. Cultural or linguistic barriers are possible, especially if you hire people from various backgrounds.
Project Management Issues
Another challenge faced by both companies and employees is managing work across multiple time zones. This can make project management difficult, especially if time zones are scattered.
Many employees who are working remotely for the first time do not know the same best practices experienced remote workers know well, such as using a VPN on public networks, or not saving confidential information on their personal devices. Negligent workers are the most common reasons for cybersecurity breaches and the risk increases exponentially when working from anywhere.
Best Practices to Implement the Work-From-Anywhere Model
There are many ways you can resolve any of the challenges arising from implementing a work-from-anywhere model.
Integrating a Communication Platform
The best way to manage your communication effectively is to integrate an efficient communication platform that is not your email client. It will help you manage your correspondence with your employees as well as your customers.
Efficient Data Sharing
Another easy-to-implement practice is to employ a data-sharing service allowing you to upload and access files in real-time and track changes as they are made.
Using a Remote Access Software
Choosing an all-in-one application allowing you to hold team meetings, manage projects, schedule and assign tasks, and share documents remotely is the best way to stay productive. Such applications are referred to as Access Control as a Service (ACaaS).
Leverage Work-From-Anywhere with Identiv
The entire world is embracing the transition to anywhere operations; there is no reason why you cannot lead the change in your company. You need a full-fledged and user-friendly access control solution like the Freedom Cloud by Identiv.
This cloud-based access control system provides you with complete control over your office’s operations, and also ensures your system is fully updated and maintained.
Freedom Cloud features a subscription-based model making it easier for you to manage the work-from-anywhere model in your company and simplifying scaling up the features and benefits per your requirements.