As many routines have been disrupted and schools and offices have been replaced by studying and working from home, people are debating what will be the new ‘normal’. Many companies, particularly in the tech space, have announced that this flexibility will be standard practice for the coming years. This has led many to realize that they can now work from….anywhere.
The notion of working from home does not communicate the newfound freedom that comes with these new policies. It’s not about further imprisoning us in our homes – it’s about empowering us to think and work exactly where we are personally most productive.
The point of flexibility here is to untether our schedules and the stress associated with them and allow our work to happen where we want it to. That might be a café, a beach, a friend’s house, a hotel, a foreign country…the point is flexibility.
Most will choose to work from home, and many of us will habitually return to the same working environment each day even if it isn’t our home. And that is best for many people and absolutely fine. Having flexibility does not mean that you have to constantly change up everything and turn your life upside down – but it means we can change things when we want and need to.
For many people, the ‘anywhere’ will lead back to the office with in-person responsibilities, a social life of meeting and collaborating with colleagues, and having in-person meetings. So in this case, the ‘anywhere’ can refer to the home or the office.
Flexibility means adapting our schedules and our locations for the kinds of knowledge work we are trying to do. Some days are all meetings as we try to coordinate a number of projects. Some days we need to shut out the world and just dive down into writing our novels, or developing a new algorithm, or putting together that big presentation for the all-hands meeting next week. Some days we need a mix of both. Some days we need the comfort of home, while other days we need the comfort of colleagues.
In short, ‘Work from anywhere’ encapsulates that freedom and dynamism our schedules deserve. And the added flexibility to do today what we have been postponing into the future.
The shared economy is a wonderful thing and is becoming more and more available globally for individual and corporate services as needed. This can cover temporary office needs, housing needs, travel planning, video conferencing, internet, quiet locations, collaborating with colleagues, and global and seamless banking and other services.
Work from anywhere may not save a company money as office space may be replaced with additional expensed internet, food, office equipment and individualized IT. But this new flexibility is not about saving money, nor long-term social distancing. In the end, it is an investment in profitability, productivity, and ultimately, employee well-being.