Why Work From Anywhere is Becoming a Core Employee Benefit in the USA

Work From Anyhere: Moving Beyond Vacations

For many Americans, the annual vacation is a two-week scramble – a desperate attempt to cram relaxation, exploration, and family time into a fleeting sliver of time.  For many people who work in fast-paced jobs, the time is sometimes spent recovering from burnout.

But what if you could experience the world and recharge your batteries without sacrificing precious vacation days? 

This is where the concept of Work From Anywhere (the ability to work remotely abroad mixing vacation and leisure) has emerged as a key component of many employee benefit offerings.

 

The Time Limitations of the American Vacation

America is known for its strict work ethic but has long grappled with the challenge of providing adequate vacation time to employees. 

Compared to many other developed nations, where statutory vacation days can range from four weeks to even two months, Americans typically receive a mere fraction of that—around 10 days per year on average. 

This disparity underscores the need for innovative solutions to enable employees to recharge and rejuvenate without sacrificing their professional commitments.

Let’s face it, the standard 10-day vacation offering in the US leaves much to be desired for many people.

 

Work From Anywhere Tipping the Scale in the War for Talent

Between planning, travel time, and the inevitable post-vacation readjustment, precious little time remains for true exploration and rejuvenation.  This limited window often leads to rushed itineraries and a return to work feeling more drained than refreshed.

But imagine, for a moment, that you only had 10 days of vacation a year.  And if I told you, at the interview stage of a new employer, that our company offers up to 90 workation days a year in over 50 countries around the world.  

 

What would you say, and how would this impact how you feel about that company? 

And once you joined the company, how would that increase your loyalty and connection with that company?

Take it the next step and say you are now choosing between two employers and one offers 90 workation days whereas the other offers none.  

How would this impact your decision-making?

 

Leveraging Workations To Reclaim Time and Explore

This exercise above just underlines why many leaders are seeing how Work From Anywhere programs can offer a paradigm shift. 

Their potential candidates are imagining spending a month working remotely from a charming Greek villa or a bustling co-working space in Bali. 

With work from anywhere, companies can offer employees a set amount of time (often up to 90 days per year) to work from a location of their choice, as long as a stable internet connection exists.

 

Workation Benefits for both Employees and Employers

This flexibility isn’t just a perk for employees.  Work From Anywhere (WFA) programs offer a win-win situation:

  • Employee Benefits:  Increased flexibility allows employees to travel, experience new cultures, and potentially visit family living abroad. These experiences can lead to increased happiness, reduced stress, and ultimately, a boost in productivity upon returning to the office.  They can also lead to increased employee retention (see Airbnb and Spotify here for example).
  • Employer Benefits:  WFA programs can attract and retain top talent, foster a more positive work-life balance culture, and potentially see a rise in employee morale and engagement.  Additionally, with a geographically dispersed workforce, companies can potentially tap into a wider talent pool.

 

Are Companies Not Pushing Return To Office?

While it is true that press coverage for RTO mandates is high, Olivier Meier’s recent article references excerpts from the recent Mercer International Remote Work survey which refers to “an astounding 78% of companies now incorporating Work From Anywhere as a regular part of their operations or on a case-by-case basis.”  

According to this same survey, which includes some of the largest companies in the world, the majority of leaders expect growth in the amount of workations over the coming years.

 

My Company Is Hybrid, So Is This Not Applicable?

 

Work from anywhere does not mean that employees can work from anywhere they want.  We don’t see many Instagram photos from North Korea, for example.

Likewise, work from anywhere is far from an exotic employee benefit offered only by companies that are fully remote.

On the contrary, many companies that have a 2-3 remote days a week hybrid policy are fully embracing work from anywhere, as for them it is often constructed by offering a limited number of work from anywhere days (e.g. 30 days) a year, thereby reducing the compliance risks whilst also transforming the employee benefit offering.

 

Beyond the Beach: Debunking the Workation Stereotype

Leaders who stick to stereotypical images of laptops by the beach might be missing out on some of the more important motivations amongst their employee population.

Work from anywhere isn’t about sipping margaritas on a beach. Mind you, that does sound pretty good! 😉

For many, it might be caring for a sick relative. For others, it might be spending quality time with older kids studying abroad, to name but two examples.

Ultimately it’s about empowering employees to structure their work-life balance in a way that benefits them most.  

Whether it’s spending a few weeks working remotely from a cabin in the mountains or immersing yourself in a language course abroad, work from anywhere allows your employees to define the travel pattern that works for them whilst also maintaining productivity.

 

The Future of Workations In America

Are you seeing these changes in your workforce?  Are you seeing a demand for workation requests?

If so, you’re not alone.

The American work culture is evolving and it will be fascinating to see which companies are laggards and which companies are innovators within this topic.

It’s ok not to have all the answers, as simply putting a policy in place can take some time.  

Work from anywhere programs offer a compelling alternative to the traditional vacation model.  By offering employees the freedom to explore and recharge, companies can tap into a more engaged and productive workforce which becomes a win-win for everyone involved.  

 

 

John Lee Co-founder Work From Anywhere

John Lee

John is Co-founder of Work From Anywhere, a platform to help companies execute a 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.

 

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