The pandemic has made work from home (WFH) a permanent model for many workplaces. But things haven’t stopped there; as companies continue to face pressure in recruiting and retaining top talent, flexibility is becoming more of a need than a privilege. Enter: work from anywhere (WFA).
The future of work has evolved so much that what once seemed a fantasy is now a reality, as we see companies across different industries, like Spotify, Amazon, and Twitter, adopt WFA policies that encourage employees to do their jobs abroad. It comes down to caring about employees’ happiness (which is one of our values at Humi!): companies are looking to be more employee-centric so they can recruit and retain the best of the best.
To stay ahead of the curve and remain competitive as a company, you need to ensure you’re offering your employees flexible working arrangements that focus on the work, and not where or when it’s done. And don’t worry – the good things don’t apply to employees only; companies alike benefit from providing their people with more freedom and choice.
In this blog, we’ll dive into the basics of WFA policies and the benefits they can bring to your company.
What is a WFA policy (and how’s it different from WFH)?
We know, we know – all the different phrases, terms, and letters being tossed around can get confusing. While their abbreviations differ by only one letter, WFH and WFA are their own unique working arrangements. A company could have either, or both, but they typically require different policies to outline parameters for each.
WFH refers to employees that have the option to work remotely from the comfort of their home; WFA extends the geographical possibilities of remote work and allows employees to work abroad (in another city, province, or country, as outlined by the company’s policy) for a period of time, usually a couple of weeks. In either situation, employees only need a decent internet connection and their work equipment (e.g. laptop, headset) to do their job.
How a WFA policy benefits your company
Implementing a WFA policy can have tremendous benefits for your company in regards to employee satisfaction, retention, culture, and even costs.
Your employees feel more engaged
One of the best ways to keep your employees happy and engaged is to provide them freedom to work from wherever they please. Implementing a WFA policy allows your team to achieve better work-life balance and improved wellbeing, as they can satisfy their travel desires while maintaining their day job. Ultimately, increased employee engagement will benefit your company by improving productivity – when your employees are happy, they’re more likely to do their best in their job.
It fosters positive work culture
This builds on our last point: a WFA policy is great for fostering a strong, positive work culture that supports employee satisfaction. And as your company culture improves, your business will, too. A healthy and accommodating workplace produces employees that are eager to do good work.
Improved recruitment and retention
Implementing a WFA policy can have a huge impact on your recruitment efforts. In an ever-changing talent war, the benefits your company offers will continue to be closely assessed. In order to stand out, stay competitive, and attract the best candidates, you need to offer them the flexibility and freedom they’re looking for.
On top of recruitment, a WFA policy will do wonders for improving your employee retention. Your top talent won’t be as drawn to other opportunities as they’re already at a company that empowers them to live life fully.
Last, but definitely not least: remote work, whether its WFA or WFH, reduces costs for your company that would otherwise be spent on an office space and accompanying fees, such as electricity, equipment (e.g. laptops, monitors), food, and furniture. A WFA policy helps you save money in these areas, but still gives employees the chance to work from somewhere other than their home.
Things to consider
Before you can reap the benefits of implementing a WFA policy at your company, you’ll need to do a little research. Boundary conditions around specific details will be necessary to ensure your company and employees are protected and compliant.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of boundary conditions you’ll want to consider when designing a WFA policy for your team:
- How early your employees will have to notify their manager and/or HR before going abroad
- Approval process (e.g. direct managers, HR)
- Legal factors (i.e. tax laws - both corporate and individual, labour laws)
- Data and tech security
- Work visa/permits
- How many WFA weeks employees are permitted consecutively
- How time differences will affect communication (e.g. working hours, meetings)
- Health/travel insurance
As always, communication is key
As with any policy, it’s extremely important to prioritize communication with your team in order to ensure things are smooth sailing. Make sure expectations are clear from the start by outlining the parameters of your policy. Keep your lines of communication open, regardless of where they are.
Finally, our biggest tip: trust your employees! Any kind of remote work, whether it's WFH or WFA, requires a huge amount of trust in your team. Setting clear expectations should mitigate any issues that might arise, but having faith in your employees is key to making sure your WFA policy is implemented successfully.
Learn more with Humi
Dig into our other resources to learn more about the future of work:
- Five ways remote work benefits employees (and employers!)
- How to take care of your mental health while working remotely
- How to manage your newly remote team
To discover how we can help your remote team work better, book a call with us today.