The music streaming service is one of many big tech companies—together with Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft, to name a few—that plans to offer a flexible work model in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Remote work trends indicate that as many as 47% of companies plan to allow employees to continue to work remotely full-time.
Having a tough time navigating remote work trends? Read our latest guide to learn more about work from home, work from anywhere, and hybrid work models, and decide which is best for you and your employees. Download our guide Charting the Future: Your Guide to Remote Work Models for free.
Work from anywhere (abbreviated WFX or WFA) is the most flexible of the remote work trends, allowing employees to work from anywhere in the world, as long as they are able to connect virtually. It has a number of merits, but some downsides as well.
Continue reading to learn more about work from anywhere and why it may be the future of work (or not).
What’s the difference?
Employees who work from anywhere can choose to work from their home; employees who work from home can’t usually work from anywhere—a local coffee shop might be as far as they’ll go.
As Forbes notes, the main distinction is that employees who work from home will generally “remain close to their current offices and only go to the office on an as-needed basis”, whereas working from anywhere means that employees are free to live wherever they would like.
With a work from anywhere model, companies may still choose to have a central office that can act as a hub for employees; however, having one isn’t necessary. Online music streaming company Spotify plans to “provide co-working space memberships for those who predominantly choose to work remotely, but still want a dedicated workspace to utilise”.
Related Reading: Coworking Space vs Traditional Office: The New Workplace?
Here are some of the positives of a work from anywhere model:
- Freedom to live and work wherever you want to. If you want to live by the beach or in the mountains, as long as you have a stable internet connection (or somewhere you can go for one), you can work there. Or, you can travel and adopt a nomadic lifestyle.
- It stops brain drain. If people are able to stay in their hometowns, where the cost of living may be more affordable, and work remotely then those locales will no longer suffer from losing younger demographics to bigger cities where work may be more readily available. Not to mention, it means that people are able to stay closer to their families if they so wish.
- WFX also means an increased talent pool, since organizations aren’t limited to only local employees.
- The price of real estate may also go down, since businesses will no longer need to rent or own commercial spaces.
- Employees may be able to save more money by choosing to live in places with lower costs of living.
- Workers don’t have to deal with immigration issues if they choose to work for a company in another country.
- It’s better for the environment. With less people commuting and less office waste going into the landfills, work from anywhere has a smaller environmental footprint.
Here are some general concerns about WFX:
- It’s a really big change that may not actually be realistic for many organizations.
- For companies that value in-person collaboration, work from anywhere won’t be feasible.
- Feelings of loneliness and isolation can increase, with “[m]ore than half of employees [saying] they have felt lonely while working from home”.
Related Reading: Employee Mental Health: The Silent Pandemic
- General team-building or camaraderie can be difficult to attain, or even non-existent, with the work from anywhere model.
- There may be a sense of pressure (whether explicit or implicit) to work more. This can take the form of answering emails during off hours or on days off, or working when, if the employee were in the office, they’d take a sick or personal day.
- Communication breakdowns or silos may be more of an issue with WFX.
Although it may seem like there are more positives than negatives for work from anywhere, that isn’t necessarily the case. The first negative, of it being a big change, is really the main factor to consider.
Many organizations are considering a permanent switch to part-time work from home, but a transition to work from anywhere may be too big of a leap for many companies. However, if flexibility is very important to your organization and you want to be able to have a wider and more diverse talent pool, work from anywhere may be a great option.
Still not sure about all the different remote work trends and models? Download our FREE guide Charting the Future: Your Guide to Remote Work Models to learn more about how you can decide which remote work model will work best for your company and your employees.