In March of 2020 UK businesses faced the beginning of critical changes to how their workplaces would function. The day the country went into lockdown undoubtedly caused great worry and panic across the world. Almost overnight, the nation’s gradual move toward remote working went into overdrive as we all rushed to work from home. Now we’ve proven without a doubt that many of us can work effectively from wherever we can access a Wi-Fi connection, the right technology and efficient remote IT support. However, many predict that the post-lockdown norm is evolving from work from home (WFH) to work from anywhere (WFA).
But why is this? For starters, the phrase ‘work from home’ is a poor representation of what it truly encompasses. ‘Work from home’ fails to communicate the fundamental freedom that comes with this new, highly flexible work opportunity. It’s not about further locking us down in our homes where there are so many distractions. Instead, it’s about empowering us to think and work exactly where we are personally most productive.
So how do we get from work from home to work from anywhere?
In this blog post we’re going to take a closer look at how your small to medium-sized business (SMB) can transform its workplace policy. By utilising the lockdown-driven ‘work from home’ idea you can develop into ‘work from anywhere’.
WFH and WFA – the same but different?
It’s simple. Working from home is exactly what you’d think. Essentially, you set up a desk wherever you can find space. From a spare bedroom, kitchen, or dining room table to a study, all can become productive workplaces. But of course, this situation comes with many potential distractions, as we mentioned in the introduction to this article.
On the other hand, working from anywhere is far more flexible and can fit the needs of the business and the employee alike. As long as you have the appropriate job role, a decent Wi-Fi connection, the right tech and efficient managed IT support services to look after your networking and business needs, you can work from anywhere. And working from anywhere is all about complete choice and versatility.
WFA – flexibility comes as standard
It’s a given that some working from home is perfectly acceptable as part of a wider work from anywhere policy. But to your surprise work from anywhere can include all sorts of appropriate places. For example, a café, library, train, bus, coach, hotel or even a designated hot desk in the company’s offices. In a city like London there’s lots of possibilities in the spaces you can work. However, your role must allow you a certain degree of flexibility and feasibility to be productive. The point of work from anywhere is to untether our busy schedules and the stresses associated with them to allow us to work where we work best.
Why working from anywhere could work wonders for your business
Recent research suggests that WFA delivers greater flexibility, productivity, and employee satisfaction than traditional models of working. This could be the standard WFH model or the traditional office-based nine to five.
Crucially, a work from anywhere policy helps to solve two of the key problems of work from home – loneliness and isolation. If you can work anywhere, it can be time spent in the office or your favourite coffee shop, surrounded by people and healthy social interaction.
The benefits of work from anywhere in detail
A significant advantage of WFA is flexibility for people, especially for those with other commitments, such as childcare or elderly relatives. This work style considers the realities of where our working and private lives collide.
Work from anywhere is the perfect setup for practical and organisational issues, such as making GP or dental appointments. What’s more, research shows that employees can be trusted to work from home later in the evening to make up for time lost during the day.
Findings from Owl Labs claimed that remote and hybrid employees were 22% happier than office on site workers. Furthermore, they reported a better work life balance and as a result, an improvement to their overall physical and mental health.
Commuting, as well as travelling between meetings in different locations consumes time and money, while increasing stress levels. This is especially the case in for employees working in and around London. Empowering your people to work from anywhere will greatly reduce this wasteful activity and its detrimental health impacts. And allowing a safe and comfortable environment specific to your people’s needs will encourage more efficient performance.
The Covid-19 pandemic has enabled employers to prove that their people will function just as effectively when working remotely. Many studies post-lockdown also suggest that flexible working will increase productivity.
This is further enhanced by your people’s ability to choose the WFA location best suited to their tasks ahead for that day. Working on a team project that involves collaboration with colleagues? Pop into the office. Working on a detailed report that requires research and peace and quiet? Head for the public library.
Allowing your people to work from anywhere will massively increase the talent pool available to you. In terms of recruiting and retaining the best people, location is no longer a limitation. You could hire new starters from across London, the UK or even the world.
Property costs are a major overhead for London businesses. So, with fewer of your people requiring office space, you could shrink the size or number of company premises. Overall, you can greatly reduce costs.
Factors to consider for an effective WFA policy
Like any other major business decision, a work from home policy needs consideration and planning before implementation. Follow these points below to create the most effective WFA policy:
Your policy must be clear, simple, and efficient so everyone knows what’s expected of them. Lead with clarity by maintaining concise messaging with employees, clients/customers and partners. This will ensure all your people know the best ways to carry their roles and everyone connected to the organisation is communicating back with confidence.
Appoint a member of your senior team to manage the project and process to demonstrate your commitment to the change.
It is vital to create a clear two-way communication where you can ask for feedback. Set up a conduit for gathering comments and act upon any concerns raised.
Run an anonymous employee survey – TINYpulse is a good tool for this. Encourage everyone to participate, publish the results, and show how you’re acting upon your findings. This will help you gain assurance from your team and come to a mutual agreement on your WFA policy.
Ask your in-house experts
Listen carefully to what your specific teams with specialist knowledge have to say on any WFA policy. For example, your HR and legal teams will undoubtedly have expert and experienced insights to offer.
Technology is instrumental in making your work from anywhere policy possible. All the relevant members of your team must have access to the right IT. Your employees must also be backed by 24/7 remote IT support to be able to work from anywhere effectively.
Using popular cloud-based collaboration and productivity platforms, such as Microsoft Teams and Google Workspace will ensure you uphold a collaborative team spirit. Access to helpdesk support is also essential to maintain business continuity.
Different strokes for different folk
Not every job can be done remotely. Therefore, separate policies will need to be drawn up for those people that can work from anywhere and those that can’t.
Creating a coherent WFA policy
To work effectively and efficiently, your WFA policy must be thorough, relevant, and accessible. Employees should always be clear about what is expected of them, when and where. Here’s some guidance on what you should include in your policy:
Introduction and description
Outline what the policy is for, how it fits into the company operation and who’s covered in terms of job role, seniority and working hours. Be specific and include any exceptions to the rule.
Define work from anywhere
‘Work from anywhere’ is a broad term and will mean different things to different businesses. However, ensure your policy has a specific and coherent definition. This guarantees everyone is on the same page about what the terminology means.
Consider specifying the right places, for example, café, yes, but pub, no. State where’s permissible to work and during what times.
Health & safety
As an employer you will still have a duty of care. This still applies, whether employees are working in the office or from anywhere else. So, prioritise employee safety and do your best to ensure that any places your people choose to work are aligned with accepted health & safety standards.
Describe the technology, tools and support available
List the technology, equipment, devices, software, and services that all your WFA employees are entitled to use. It is important to advise, or if necessary train them on how those resources are best utilised. As we mentioned above, give your team access to cloud-based collaboration tools. Be specific about what the equipment can be used for, ie business use only. Further specify what should and should not be accessed, opened, or stored on the technology you’re supplying.
Provide remote 24/7 outsourced or managed IT support to your WFA people. They should always have fast, simple access to the computer support they need to keep both their tech and your business running as it should.
Robust and effective cybersecurity systems and tools should be installed for all your WFA devices. This will protect your company network wherever it is accessed. Your remote IT support partner can assist with this.
Clarify how everything is to be paid for
Many companies already have expense policies in place that allow employees to buy key equipment for remote use, for example laptops and monitors. Often this will also include subsidising Internet access. But should you also pay for coffee shop refreshments and so on, if that’s where your team works most?
Clarify expected lines of communication
The most effective communication goes two ways. Outline when and how your people should be contactable and how they let their managers know where they are at any given time. You could perhaps request a daily or weekly schedule ahead of time.
Devise a WFA schedule
Clearly indicate how much flexibility is included in your WFA policy. Can people work from anywhere five days a week? You could maybe divide your team into two, with one half working Monday to Wednesday on site, and the other half working Wednesday to Friday. Perhaps Friday and Monday are the best days for your team to work from anywhere? As you can see, there are lots of options open to you.
Specify when your WFA people are required to attend the office
List all the reasons and times your people will be expected to come into the office. Consider key events, such as scheduled meetings, appraisals, and seasonal demand.
Where to go for the best in managed IT support services
The Covid-19 lockdown and recent research shows how evolving your work from home policy into a proactive work from anywhere policy is an investment. You can simultaneously improve the wellbeing, efficiency, and productivity of your team, and ultimately, the profitability and growth of your small to medium-sized business.
So, if your people have the right roles, a great workspace, and the WFA policy set, reach out to the totality services team today! Our highly experienced team offers 24/7 outsourced IT support to help turn WFA into a practical reality.
Our remote IT support, with computer support and helpdesk support included, has earned us two consecutive Feefo Gold Trusted Service Awards, Five Star ratings from both Trustpilot and Google and a 98% client retention rate.
So, for a friendly, confidential and no obligation chat about your requirements why not call the go to managed IT support team for London?