Work from anywhere? Yes, please!
Let’s go back to 2015 and ask the question: “Can I work from anywhere?” during the interview. For some of the recruiters that would be a bizarre kind of question and in many cases the answer would be: “Pardon? Unfortunately, not”.
But 4 years later we faced COVID-19 and suddenly, limited contact with another person was the safest option. Now, when we know how to live in this new reality, many of us have returned to the office work. But not everyone! Something’s changed and we invented the way for turning this rough time into something good. Asking the above question today, wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.
So, what has exactly changed since that time?
Our way of thinking and the office work options became unattractive. Look at the examples from the market: there are no restrictions for social isolation anymore, therefore some companies started returning to the office-based working model. What was the outcome? When Apple announced its return to offices, nearly 56% of employees threatened to leave. A similar case happened with Tesla. Generally speaking, people were not thrilled by this idea.
Why working nomads like a remote opportunity so much?
It's Monday morning, you're ready to leave to work and ups! ... you have spilled coffee on your new white blouse. You got changed and started running to the bus stop. Hurray! You’d caught the bus and you're on your way to work. No more than 10 minutes later, you got stuck in traffic and all you can think of is making the bus to go faster.
Does that sound familiar? Not for the remote workers. They usually get up 20 minutes before opening the laptop, make themselves a cup of coffee in a best-loved mug, sit down and start working while still in pajamas. What is more, they can pick the location to work from, whether it is a paradise island, a shelter in the mountains, or a small café in a quiet village.
But is the post-pandemic model of working having a positive impact on us?
The answer is yes and it is supported by scientific data. According to the report from the U.K.’s Office of National Statistics, more than 30 minutes of daily one-way commuting is associated with increased levels of stress and anxiety.
What is more, remote work has advantages not only for employees. Recruiters do not have to limit themselves to choose candidates from one city anymore. The talent pool expands, and you can find experts from all over the world. This also involves savings for the employers because they don't need to lease an office and pay the rent. The most well-known companies with employees working from wherever are Airbnb, Ford, Spotify or Salesforce. When Airbnb announced that their employees can work from anywhere, their job’s page was viewed more than 800,000 times! Last year, Spotify has switched the model of working and the employee turnover dropped by 15%.
The environment is also grateful. Reducing the amount of commuting contributes to the reduction of contamination. In fact, in 2020, when most businesses started to work remotely, carbon dioxide emissions from transportation were reduced by almost 15%! Another argument is the amount of paper used for printing when we are at the office. Since we are not there, we use less paper and transfer most of the documents to the cloud. Additionally, instead of buying takeaway coffee on the way to work, we drink it at home which reduces the amount of plastic we use.
So, doesn’t the remote work sound like a dream?
Even though many of us are happy with the remote-based working model and would like to continue it, working remotely has its drawbacks too. Let us name a few below:
- You must be connected to Wi-Fi! Can you work from Bali between lush greenery and coral reefs? Only if you have good access to the Internet, otherwise how could you run meetings via Teams or Zoom, or even prepare the reports with essential data from Google? Finding a reliable connection at the end of the world can be a challenging task indeed.
- Are you working from home and have kids or animals around? Good luck with staying organized and having everything under control. Although hanging out with our children or pets all day long sounds like fun, it can also easily distract you and make it hard to stay focused on a given task. This can break up the boundaries between work and private life, as well as to maintain a healthy work-life balance since you could find it difficult to relax at the end of the day.
- Working across time zones can be tough. While being in a different time zone than your teammates, sometimes you end up with meetings scheduled outside of your regular working hours. You need to communicate asynchronously most of the time. It is manageable of course but may not be easy at first.
How do we do it?
You may say that “working from anywhere” model can be challenging because as human beings we need social interactions. On the contrary, it is only a stereotype! Being wherever we want provides us with more possibilities and flexibility regarding after work activities. Doesn’t that sound amazing?
Let's go in-depth within our model of working at HR Contact and see how we developed it. We organize our morning kick-off meetings three times a week via Teams when we discuss work-related issues like our goals, priorities and statuses. As we are all socializers, sometimes three meetings are not enough for us. Hence, we also meet for a Coffee Chat and these meetings are dedicated for chatting, talking about last experiences and basically having fun together online. None of us feels alone, even though we are so far away from each other. Besides our weekly meetings, we chat constantly via Teams messenger group. The group is called ‘Home office’ and this is the space where we could always share our ideas, status, work updates, or even raise our hands once we need any assistance from each other. So far, this way of working works great.
How to convince your boss to this kind of model?
You don’t have that model introduced already? For you to work remotely, of course, you might need to convince your boss that this is a great idea. Sure fact: have an honest and open conversation about the way you feel and how you see it. Maybe, in the end, you will not end up working fully remotely, but at least you have done your best. The key is to highlight the most important points for you and show how everyone can benefit from the fact that you continue to work from home. Grasp some tips from us below:
- Not at school anymore, however, the necessary homework was done.
As with every task, also in this case you need to be prepared. In that case, you want to be sure if coming to the office is a good idea due to the outbreak of Covid. Take this step to check what precautions the company is taking to ensure the employees are safe within the office. Moreover, find out what procedures the employer has in place to guarantee employee’s safety. Thanks to this, you can see if visiting the office will be the right thing to do.
- Have you seen my productivity?
Do you want to use arguments that you are more productive and effective while working from home? Show the relevant data that proves that. You need to track your results over the last weeks, even months. Maybe if you have resources, try to compare them with the work done in the office. The better results, the better chances to stand by your opinion.
- Show that working hours are respected.
A lot of people, not only supervisors, presume that if you are working from home, you will get too many distractions so you will not stick to your working hours. Show them that always when needed you were right there and ensure your availability will not change at all. Give your manager some assurance that you will continue working towards team goals and deadlines.
- Does flexibility work both ways?
It is not that you are running away from the office and aren’t looking back. Of course, if there is a need, you can come by and attend in-person meetings or team activities. From this perspective, you are showing, that you are flexible and respect that.
- The trial period comes to the rescue.
Everyone likes to come to a compromise. This can be it - a trial period to test it out. Set certain KPIs and deadlines that during the trial of remote work you will achieve. Thanks to this, both sides can track how it goes and whether the outcome was successful.
The above text consists of our Golden Rules for the "work from anywhere" model. We must admit that adapting to this new working environment was difficult at first, but every day we are seeing more advantages than disadvantages in it.
Will we continue and make remote work permanent?
We hope so 😊 However, as we live in such an unpredictable reality, we have learned not to make too many assumptions in advance. Do you work in a “work from anywhere model” and have your own tricks to make it easier and more pleasant? Please share your comments with us, we would love to hear them.
Authors: Dominika Kutyła, Anna Drzał, Tuğçe Cakir, Marta Wojnarowska, Kristina Wołkotrub
Picture collage: Kristina Wołkotrub