Recent studies have shown that 82% of company leaders are planning to support their employees to work remotely some of their time. Prior to 2020, the possibility of requesting this type of flexibility was inexistent for most jobs. Now, employees and employers welcome with open arms a hybrid model that gives people the flexibility of deciding where they work. Although very appealing, it is not an easy transition. What do organizations and employees need to embrace working from anywhere?
1. Insights into what works for your organization
While everybody talks about the transition towards hybrid ways of working, there is not a one-size-fits all approach that makes it possible. It is essential to first explore what works on a case-by-case basis. For example, a service-oriented organization like an insurance company might prefer to have distributed workplaces close to their customers, whereas an IT-firm might prioritize having more workplaces next to their employees’ homes. Working from anywhere requires exploring the options that best work for your organizational culture, the type of activities you carry out, and the needs and wishes of your employees. Launching and arranging pilot programs to research the options that work best for you can deliver insights to ease out the transition.
2. Access to a wide variety of high-quality workspaces
Working from anywhere and flexibility go hand in hand and. To unlock the potential of this flexibility, organizations need to connect their workforce to places based on what they need and require. Our cities and towns are full of attractive locations available, ranging from offsite places to luxurious environments. Curating high quality places that fit the activities and needs of an organization, and make them available for employees is key. Today, you might need to have an inspirational meeting room to brainstorm with colleagues. Tomorrow, you might want to have access to the office with the best view in town to get that very needed inspiration to finalize a report.
3. Identify the complementarities of combining traditional headquarters with distributed workplaces
This year, Spotify has implemented a work from anywhere program for their employees. While describing their philosophy of work, at Spotify, they mention: ‘work is not something to come to the office for, it is something you do’. If you can do it in different locations, what is the role of an organization’s headquarters? Although having a central place that employees can call ‘home’ is important to foster organizational culture and a sense of belonging, the time of rigid long-term leasing contracts is over. It is time to rethink the role organizations envision for their company’s headquarters. We already witness companies getting creative and turning their main office into experience-based places where people gather for leadership, training and for socialization. In this transition, organizations must reflect on how they want to complement their main office with other remote workplaces and identify their role.
Transitioning to working from anywhere requires exploring and discovering what works for your organization. It is about understanding what your employees need, delivering on their wishes. It also relates to gaining insights into the role that locations play in your activities and, very importantly, identity. Many organizations are already using the next months to experiment and test what works for them. These experiments will show the many different shapes and flavours that hybrid working models can take. Have you started experimenting already?