It will come as no surprise to regular readers of our blog that embracing a work from anywhere (WFA) policy has emerged as a strategic imperative for many companies around the world.
The Benefits of Offering Workations
By enabling employees to work from their preferred locations, companies can reap a multitude of benefits, including increased employee satisfaction, improved productivity, and enhanced talent acquisition and retention.
However, implementing a successful work from anywhere policy requires careful planning, cross-functional collaboration, and a comprehensive understanding of the potential challenges and opportunities it presents.
Addressing Typical Remote Work Stumbling Blocks
As HR Directors embark on this journey, they often encounter common stumbling blocks that can hinder the successful adoption of a remote work policy.
- Addressing The Elephant In The Remote Room – Compliance: Lots of HR Directors want to implement a work from anywhere policy but often get challenged by tax and legal teams about the compliance risks when it comes to implementing their remote work policy. Compliance is often the number one reason companies avoid implementing a work from anywhere policy. Thankfully we covered these challenges and many more with our free workation policy builder.
- Balancing Flexibility with Productivity: Ensuring that remote workers maintain the same level of productivity can be a concern for managers. HR Directors should address this by providing clear guidelines, so that Line Managers are able to set clear performance expectations.
- IT Security and Data Privacy when Working Remotely: Protecting sensitive company data is paramount when employees work outside of traditional offices. HR should engage their IT departments to implement robust cybersecurity measures and ensure that remote workers are well-trained on data protection protocols.
- Maintaining a Sense of Community: Fostering a sense of connection and belonging among remote employees can be challenging. HR can address this by encouraging regular virtual team meetings, promoting social interactions, and creating opportunities for employees to connect with their colleagues in person.
- Operationalising the Process: In smaller HR teams it’s important to have transparent employee-facing policy documentation. This will enable Line Managers to be first line approvers of workation requests with only exceptional cases coming to HR, therefore not increasing the workload of smaller operational teams. Another way of reducing the administrative burden on your team is to implement a technology solution to help assess the compliance risks of each workation request. You can read more about the different technology solutions here.
Establishing Cross-Functional Alignment
To successfully navigate these challenges and achieve cross-functional alignment with their work from anywhere policy, HR Directors should follow these strategies:
- Conduct a Collaborative Business Case Assessment: Bring together representatives from various departments, including IT, Legal, Operations, and Finance, to assess the potential benefits and risks of a WFA policy. This collaborative approach will ensure a comprehensive understanding of the policy’s implications across the organization.
- Develop a Comprehensive Policy Framework: Create a clear and detailed policy that outlines the guidelines for WFA, addressing factors such as work hours, communication protocols, technology requirements, and data security measures. This policy should be approved by all stakeholders to ensure alignment and transparency.
- Communicate Effectively and Proactively: Regularly communicate the benefits, expectations, and implementation plan of the WFA policy to employees across all levels of the organization. Use various channels, such as town halls, email, and company intranets, to ensure that everyone is well-informed.
- Foster a Culture of Trust and Empowerment: Encourage managers to trust their employees and provide them with the autonomy to manage their work schedules and locations effectively. Empower employees to take ownership of their productivity and performance while maintaining open communication channels.
Learn from Remote Work Best Practices
To gain valuable insights and guidance, HR Directors can look to companies that have successfully implemented WFA policies. We covered the Spotify work from anywhere policy in depth here and you can find here an analysis we did in 2022 around benchmarks that existed at the time. We also updated for more recent benchmarks in our workation policy builder.
Tracking the Success and Impact of your Work From Anywhere Policy
To ensure that the WFA policy is achieving its desired outcomes, HR should establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to track its success. These KPIs could include:
- Employee Satisfaction: Conduct regular surveys or feedback sessions to gauge employee satisfaction with the WFA policy.
- Productivity: Monitor metrics such as project completion rates, deadlines met, and employee engagement to assess productivity levels.
- Talent Acquisition and Retention: Track metrics such as job applications, acceptance rates, and employee turnover rates to assess the impact of the WFA policy on talent attraction and retention.
- Company Culture: Monitor employee engagement, communication levels, and collaboration metrics to assess the impact of the WFA policy on company culture.
By consistently tracking these KPIs, HR can identify areas for improvement and make data-driven adjustments to the WFA policy to ensure its continued success and positive impact on the organization.
John is Co-founder of the Work From Anywhere team, a platform to help companies execute a hire or work from anywhere strategy. John is a Chartered Accountant who speaks 6 languages and was previously the senior finance leader of a €4 billion division of FTSE-listed CRH Plc. John and his family are passionate about travelling and his eldest daughter, Rosa, while only 5 years old has already travelled to 25 different countries.