Before the COVID-19 pandemic, work-from-anywhere (WFA) was a promising trend but not widely available to employees. According to PEW Research, only 7% of the civilian workforce in the U.S. had the option to work remotely. Today, this has all changed. Facebook, Microsoft, and several other companies have announced plans to make WFA permanent. When the pandemic is over, as much as 20% of the workforce could be entirely remote.
Supporting at-home workers has radically accelerated adoption of video, mobile, and other ways to connect with colleagues. According to the Avaya Work from Anywhere study, most companies have shifted their technology priorities, with 77% rethinking the employee experience and 52% increasing the priority of collaboration software. The report also reveals that 71% of technology decision makers acknowledge faster adoption of new technologies in their organizations.
Such rapid changes may be intimidating for many executives. However, companies that have embraced WFA are obtaining benefits they never thought possible. An HBR study found that knowledge workers have actually been more productive working from home, in part thanks to spending more time interacting with customers and partners and less time in large meetings (or commuting).
How to create a work-from-anywhere business
Turning WFA into a strategic advantage requires key changes to the corporate culture. As companies look ahead to a remote future, a few of the most important changes for creating a new foundation include:
- Measure results – Breaking down the physical limits imposed by an office building creates an opportunity to change how employees are managed, measured, and mentored. Time spent in the office or at a desk is no longer a viable yardstick of an employee’s productivity or dedication to the job. Instead, the only measure of success is results, which compels managers to focus on how to train and mentor employees to help them achieve better outcomes.
- Leverage distributed teams – Measuring employees by results is liberating in several ways. Instead of being limited by a team they can see in the office, managers can build the best possible team with employees from anywhere in the world. The diversity and increased level of expertise of geographically distributed teams enables them to innovate and solve problems faster. The makeup of these teams can also be changed instantly to meet evolving project and market demands.
- Reimagine the workspace – Instead of a cubicle, conference room, breakroom, or manager’s office – which actually create barriers and establish hierarchies – an integrated set of collaboration tools, such as those offered in Avaya Spaces, can keep employees connected and productive no matter where they are located.
These tools should be considered a critical success factor. If at-home workspaces are built on multiple, overlapping, and unintegrated applications, employees can become frustrated at having to juggle multiple interfaces, IDs, and logins to determine the best way to reach someone. What’s more, they then face the very real possibility that whatever platform they choose will not be the one used by the person they need to reach. An all-in-one collaboration platform like Avaya Spaces, on the other hand, brings people together instantly no matter where they are or what device they use. The result is an immersive digital workspace where teams can easily message, meet, share content, manage tasks, and collaborate.
Adapt to the needs of the WFA workforce – When evaluating different solutions, there are a few characteristics necessary for the complexity of remote work. They include:
- Device and location independent – Employees should see the same workspace with the same tools no matter where they are located or which device they use: desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
- Unified – The workspace should integrate all the required tools – video collaboration, meetings, file posting, and task management – to create a single experience.
- Flexible – Employees should be able to easily create and dissolve multiple workspaces based on a specific problem, project, or topic.
- AI-enabled – A great workspace environment depends on using advanced technology like AI to help improve the quality of the video and collaboration experience, including background noise removal and live transcriptions that differentiate voices.
- Choose the right partner – How companies deploy and consume digital workplaces is as important as the tools they use. Ensure your solution provider offers the terms you need for your business model. With Avaya Spaces, you can deploy just the services you need when you need them – and then expand or shrink the deployment on demand. Used by businesses, schools, governments, and organizations in nearly 100 countries, Avaya Spaces also provides its advanced capabilities without the need for any specialized hardware.
Work-from-anywhere is here to stay. To meet today’s global remote challenges while ensuring your business is ready for the next generation of workers, you must provide modern digital workspaces. After all, the best and brightest of younger millennials and Gen Z will never be satisfied working with antiquated tools that limit their ability to connect with peers using their device of choice.
To learn about how companies are reimagining business for the future, read more in the Work from Anywhere study.