Key Highlights

  • COVID pandemic taught us technology and digital connectivity can enable workers to work from anywhere (WFA)
  • Harvard Business Review guide to maximize benefits and overcome challenges of WFA

In an article from the Harvard Business Review titled “Our Work-from-Anywhere Future,” Prithwiraj Choudhury offers an overview and guide to assist businesses and organizations to maximize the benefits and overcome the challenges of work-from-anywhere work models.

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Real estate agents and brokers are ideally suited to work remotely from anywhere as exemplified by eXp Realty. As of this writing, Choudhury is currently analyzing eXp Realty as part of this research though it is not yet complete nor printed.

Here is an overview of some of the benefits and challenges derived from WFA that Choudhury has already printed

For Individuals

  • Freedom to live and work from anywhere
    • Those with spouse or partners in dual-career situations, the pain of looking for two jobs in one location is eased
    • Proximity to family and medical care
    • Ability to choose warmer weather
    • Great for work/life balance
    • More affordable living choices
    • Ability/flexibility to spread out professional and household work
    • Higher productivity rates

For Businesses        

  • Increased employee engagement
  • Greater productivity
  • Smaller space requirements and reduced real estate costs
  • Increased potential to expand talent pool
    • Secure borderless work spaces
    • “Talent on the Cloud”
  • Reduction in attrition and increased employee retention
  • Reverses brain drain that plagues emerging markets, small towns and rural locations
  • Reduction in commute time generates reductions in emissions

Addressing Concerns and Challenges 

  • Boost synchronous communication with Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts for those working in same/similar time zones
    • Use video calls and online whiteboards such as Miro, Stormboard, IPEVO Annotator, Limnu and MURAL
  • When business hours do not overlap as workers become more distanced and scattered across the globe, develop a customized intra-company portal or Slack or a shared Google document that team members can respond to
    • This will encourage more sharing of early-stage ideas, plans and documents as well as early feedback
    • Pressure to present polished work is less than in more formal, synchronous meetings
    • GitLab calls this blameless problem solving
  • Problem of knowledge sharing happens in all companies but more so with WFA businesses
    • At GitLab, team members have access to “working handbook” which is central repository for how company is run
    • All employees encouraged to add to it, taught how to create new topic page, edit existing page, embed video, etc.
    • Ahead of meetings, organizers post agendas that link to relevant issues and then workers invited to read background information and post questions
    • Recorded sessions posted on GitLab’s You Tube channel, agendas edited and handbook updated to reflect decisions made
  • Create transcripts, publicly post slides, record video seminars/presentations and meetings
  • Major worry @ isolation, professional disconnect particularly in companies that partially co-located and some not
    • Feed out of the loop ! information that needed
    • No personal check-ins means managers may miss signs of burnout or dysfunction of team
    • Actually cites eXp using VR platform called VirBELLA for team members to gather in avatar form
  • Must work harder to protect corporate and customer data
    • Structured community collisions
    • Implement coaching sessions to make everyone comfortable on camera and on platform teams
    • Host colocation events
    • Virtual meals
  • Performance evaluation and compensation
    • Some metrics for “soft” skills can be quality of virtual interactions, feedback from clients/colleagues, quality of work output
    • Pay all job roles the same? Pay different for different geographies? Pay in currency of country where biz is incorporated?
  • Cyber-security a big factor
    • Concern for employee’s use of personal, less protected devices for work from home
    • Taking photos of client data and sending them to competitor?
      • Some businesses use “perimeter-based security” where IT team attempts to secure every device
      • “Transaction-based security” where machine learning algorithms analyze any abnormal activities on worker’s laptop

What matters most to make WFA is management.

Brainstorming

Problem solving

Codify knowledge online

Encourage virtual socialization

Team building and mentoring

Invest in and enforce data security

Work with govt. stakeholders to ensure regulatory compliance

Model SFA by becoming WFA employee themselves

 

Thanks to Harvard Business Review.

Also read: Podcast: Brent Gove Interview | 5 Shockingly True Secrets Revealed, Podcast: Your 2021 Mental And Financial Guide Has Arrived | Tim and Julie Harris, EXp Realty Offering Agents Monthly Telemedicine Plans for $9

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