While employees and employers may differ on their view of what work may look like in the future, particularly as the pandemic comes to an end and many businesses start to resume normal operations, one thing is clear: the Work From Anywhere (WFA) model will permanently change the way many people view work and work responsibilities. According to a recent study by economists at Harvard Business School, an estimated one in six employees will continue working remotely at least 1-2 days per week.
Remote work and WFA offer many benefits to both employee and employer. For the employee, the WFA model can offer better work/life balance–not to mention leading to lower overall real estate costs, since there will be less competition for housing in peak hours. Employers, on the other hand, will appreciate the ready access to global talent and, in many cases, more engaged employees who come along with hiring remote workers. At the same time, however, questions remain about the impact of WFA on personal relationships, mentorship, and customer and business partner interactions.
Having the right digital tools and platforms on hand can help distributed workforces work more efficiently, effectively, and securely regardless of how employees come together.
Key Components Needed to Be Successful at Supporting a Remote Working Model
In order for a business to be successful with the WFA model, it’s critical that the business as a whole have the right tools on hand. In 2020, many businesses went remote with little to no preparation and no idea what tools they might need in order to address the challenges ahead of them. Through that experience, however, we’ve discovered that a variety of technologies and digital tools can make it easier for employees to continue to accomplish their overall goals.
In order for employees to successfully complete their work from anywhere, they must have the right tools on hand to help them accomplish their goals and manage their workflows. In-person tools, from office filing systems to a phone system that only works directly in the office environment, will no longer help accomplish those goals. Depending on the specific needs of your company, you may need tools like:
- Business management tools, including accounting, documentation, and HR solutions
- Project management solutions that will allow you to assign, manage, and track task completion with ease
- Communication tools that will help keep employees in touch with one another and with their management teams, regardless of where they complete their work each day
2020 didn’t just bring a viral pandemic. It also brought a cybersecurity pandemic like no other, with businesses of all types and sizes experiencing an increase in cyberattacks. In order to create a successful WFA model, your company must have cybersecurity solutions that will protect the integrity of your data, particularly if you deal with confidential customer information on a regular basis.
Your company needs a solid infrastructure that is dedicated to supporting the WFA model and ensuring that employees have the tools they need. You need communication solutions and strategies that will make it easier for employees to take on their daily tasks, complete their work responsibilities, and handle any problems that may arise. You may need to add support, including tech support, to your overall infrastructure in order to ensure that you can provide the support your employees need while working remotely.
In order to effectively utilize a WFA model, you need company policies that support it. Work directly with your employees to develop effective policies, including how you will monitor employee accomplishments, how employees should handle challenges as they arise, and how the concept of billable hours may have changed.
The Complexities of a WFA/Remote Work Model
While there are a number of critical advantages to a WFA model, there are also complexities that need to be considered as you determine how you will manage your employees moving forward. Make sure you consider:
Allowing collaborative time for your employees is just as important as ever. With the work from anywhere model, you must facilitate those collaborative moments. That means both having the right communication tools on hand to allow your employees to communicate with one another and ensuring that you have policies regarding the scheduling of meetings and collaborative sessions. Furthermore, your company needs to consider an asynchronous communication model that will allow employees to connect with one another regardless of where they are–including what time zone they’re in.
Getting set up with an effective WFA model may mean some up-front costs, including the cost of equipment for employees who are working from their homes. Ultimately, however, you may find that allowing remote work can help save on many costs.
Carefully consider how much office space you will need when you allow your employees to utilize a WFA model. Even when you allow employees the freedom to work from anywhere, there may still be times when they need to be in the office. Carefully consider your new office space needs and how solutions like hot desking can help you make the most of the space you have.
Effective Remote Work Models
Many companies have chosen to shift to a remote model, or partial remote model, while navigating the coronavirus pandemic. Others, however, have been remote for some time–and plan to continue their efforts. Automatic, for example, was one of the first companies to go virtual. It has a highly effective virtual communication policy that allows the company to use a social media-like blog, shared activities, virtual dog parks, and more that allow companies to connect from wherever they are. Buffer, on the other hand, focuses on employee flexibility: it allows employees to work from wherever they want, choose their projects, and select their hours, which can allow them a greater overall degree of freedom.
Remote working is the new reality. As we emerge from the pandemic, it’s critical that we consider those changes and how they need to be incorporated into our daily work styles. We need return-to-work strategies that embrace the success of the remote work model and allow for hybrid opportunities for employees that want them. Do you have the tools you need in place to manage your business as we emerge from the pandemic?
At Liberty, we train our advisors never to need a permanent desk, workspace, or office. We leverage our experience and a world-class set of tools to deliver remote and hybrid work models for our clients every day. Our team is comfortable and familiar with remote work, as it is a normal part of our culture. We can assist you immediately if you are experiencing issues related to your company’s remote workers, such as maxing out your corporate VPN, cost, security issues, and productivity loss. You can count on Liberty to be there for you with our experience, our support, and if needed, our infrastructure.
ABOUT LIBERTY ADVISOR GROUP
Liberty Advisor Group is a goal-oriented, client-focused, and results-driven consulting firm. We are a lean, handpicked team of strategists, technologists, and entrepreneurs – battle-tested experts with a steadfast, start-up attitude. We collaborate, integrate, and ideate in real-time with our clients to deliver situation-specific solutions that work. Liberty Advisor Group has the experience to realize our clients’ highest ambitions. Liberty has been named as Great Place to Work, to the Best Places to Work in Chicago, and to FORTUNE’s list of Best Workplaces in Consulting and Professional Services.