In a recent article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR), Prithwiraj (Raj) Choudhury, Barbara Z. Larson and Cirrus Foroughi share 2017 Gallup Poll and 2018 US Census data indicating that about 40 percent of U.S. employees work from home at least some of the time, and that about 5 percent work exclusively from home. The trend toward “work from home” (WFA) agreements between businesses and their employees is clearly on the rise.
The authors then go on to explore the implications of another increasingly popular option: “working from anywhere” (WFA). WFA employees, the article says, “live and work where they choose, typically within a specific country, but in some cases, anywhere in the world with a reliable internet connection.” Employees who want to move closer to aging parents or to a less expensive part of the country, or even closer to where they eventually hope to retire, are among those welcoming this approach. The article names Akamai and SAP as companies that have successfully incorporated WFA into their workplaces.
While employers often express concerns about potential declines in quality and productivity if employees are not on site, surveys of WFH and WFA both reviewed and undertaken by the authors contradicted these assumptions. In most cases, productivity actually went up. In addition, the introduction of remote-work options may lead to happier employees: in one survey cited in the article, workers said they would be willing to take a drop of up to 8% in income to have the opportunity to work from home.
Choudhury, Larson and Foroughi have not only included an array of interesting and useful statistics, they have also compiled an excellent list of guidelines for employers who are considering (or are already making use of) off-site work arrangements with employees. I recommend it highly.
In the meantime, I would be interested to know your thoughts and experiences with remote-work arrangements with your employees (or, of course, any other matter relating to the management of law firms), either in the comments section below or directly via email.