What does a Harvard Remote Work Expert have to say on Work-From-Anywhere? – Part 1

Work from anywhere

02 Dec What does a Harvard Remote Work Expert have to say on Work-From-Anywhere? – Part 1

If you work for a company that is planning to make work-from-home permanent after the COVID-19 crisis or trying to understand this wave of the new way of working, you should read this paper by a Harvard Business School professor who has studied remote work for years.

According to Professor Prithwiraj Choudhury — a remote work expert who has been studying this from well before the pandemic, work-from-home is not the right model, even if it was a result of COVID-19 and a short-term requirement. The new employment normal needs to be work-from-anywhere.

Even before 2020, knowledge-work companies had begun to ask, “Do we really need to be together, in an office, to do our work?” We got our answer during the pandemic lockdowns.

Are all-remote or majority-remote organizations the future of knowledge work? Is work from anywhere (WFA) here to stay?

To better understand the upside of WFA while overcoming the challenges, Prof. Raj, studied several companies that have embraced all- or majority-remote models. His findings revealed that there are multiple benefits of WFA. Individuals cherished the freedom of being able to live anywhere in the world, with a better quality of life and cost of living. Workers can better accommodate their partner’s career interests/familial’ aspirations and ease the pain of looking for multiple jobs in a single location. Millennial workers are excited by the idea of globetrotting while being employed (digital nomads). It’s beneficial for women whose careers were limited by taboos against travelling to remote places or delegating housework.

Organisations can look at increasing employee engagement, and with workers being happier and more productive, lesser employees at the office also ensure lower real estate costs. WFA can give organisations access to a wider, diverse, multilocation potential talent pool. With more flexibility and employee engagement, there is also a lower attrition rate.

WFA can also prove to be beneficial for the society. It enables reverse the brain drain that plagues emerging markets, small towns, tier 2 and 3 cities. Reduced office commute is proven to significantly reduce carbon emissions, hence contributing towards the well-being of the environment.

While WFA can have multiple benefits, the complete good can only be unleashed if some challenges are overcome. Stay tuned as we discuss the challenges in our next blog.

You can find the entire paper here.

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