Worklife: Work From Anywhere, not just Work From Home
For our ever changing worklife – Work from Anywhere (WFA) has taken over from Working from Home (WFH). That is my fun work life shaping out, a new convenience (office) store offering just by the corner. Remote working came up earlier, but majority where working from home.
Before the pandemic, it was not unusual to connect with work at a coffee shop. I take work home, work into the night and work while on vacation. Working from home was COVID-19 lock-in scenario.
As businesses adapt to living with COVID-19 and beyond, new formal work structures are evolving. Working from anywhere – from home, remotely, or a park is expected to take up normal part of worklife.
Policy shifts and new work products are emerging
The post pandemic work from anywhere is already changing government and corporate policies. It will also trigger changes in other significant structural and worklife supply value chain.
In Asia Pacific, Chubb, the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company has launch a Work from Home (WFH) Insurance. The product offers coverage for employees who take their work outside or are on the move and are injured. Worklife from anywhere is covered, but still require some extensions.
OAKLAND, Calif. – The Bay Area Air Quality Management District along with Santa Clara County asked Bay Area employers to sign the “Cut the Commute Pledge”. This is to extend teleworking for 25 percent of employees if their work allows it.
Employers would also vow to include a formal work-from-home policy as part of the employee benefits package. These are attempts to improve both the air quality and quality of life for Bay Area residents after shelter-in-place orders are eased.
Benefits of working from anywhere are adding up
In the first seven weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bay Area saw a 32 percent reduction to CO2 emissions. This is in large part due to the significant decrease in vehicle traffic, as transportation is the top source of air pollution in the region.
“The pandemic has shown us that remote work is possible and productive for many. It offers an alternative to traffic gridlock and mega commutes – leading to open roads, healthier air and happier employees,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the BAAQMD.
“Without the congestion on the freeways and bumper-to-bumper traffic, we see the surroundings of our mountains, we see more animals, and have more opportunities to engage with our families. The air is fresh, and our eyes and our lungs are not burning,” said Cindy Chavez, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.
Benefits of cutting the mega commute includes cost savings for employers and employees, improved employee recruitment and retention, improved work-life balance as well as the increased ability to adjust business as part of a disaster recovery or emergency plan.
Worklife global transformation
Outside of the US, companies are amending their work plans and policy as new realities emerges. Steller has adopted a long-term work-from-home policy, even though they still want to keep their headquarter. Toyota is giving “eligible” employees option to work from home permanently. And Fujitsu will in three years time, halve the office space in use.
India companies are making the change despite logistical and infrastructural issues. Physical work space in large families is a challenge.
C K Ranganathan, chairman of CavinKare and all his staff now work remotely. “This will now allow me to hire people from smaller towns. My cost of hiring and attrition goes down, giving savings per employee per month,” he says.
Sambandam of Kissflow has also rolled out remote+, a new worklife model that allows employees to work from anywhere. Employees are encouraged to move back to their hometown to reduce expenses and strengthen local bonds. They can work remotely three out of four weeks, and spend the fourth in Chennai. For those who move to remote locations, the company’s benefit scheme will cover travel and accommodation bill in Chennai.
Harith is also exploring a similar plan.
“The silver lining in this pandemic is cleaner skies and clearer roadways. We don’t want to lose that as treatments and cures are discovered for COVID,” said President of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Carl Guardino.