Forget WFH: the new normal is WFA

4th February 2021
Woman working from home on a 17" laptop

Fuelled by digital connectivity and caused by the worldwide Pandemic; Working from Anywhere (WFA) has become the new standard, empowering us to maybe think and choose where to work  where we’re most productive.

For many of us, the workplace has become less a fixed location and more anywhere we can set up operations with an essential suite of technologies. That could be the kitchen or the bedroom for some. The pandemic has accelerated the traditional 9-5 Monday to Friday working week. We are becoming ‘digital nomads’ out there. 

Although we might not be in some idyll, as the digital nomad fantasy promised, we could at least enjoy some of the freedom, flexibility and release from the extra stresses of a daily commute. A Gallup Poll conducted in the US last spring found that 60% of respondents would like to continue working remotely once restrictions were lifted. 

Of course, as 2020 progressed, we all realised that the new flexibility comes at a cost. Away from the office, many employees have felt isolated and missing those water-cooler conversations and the day to day social interactions that were so annoying but became lost. Video conferencing via Teams or Zoom has been helpful but it isnt the substitute for the physical collaboration and camaraderie an office workplace creates. This revolution (that we didn’t ask for) in the way we work won’t be reversed, and employees  are now looking to find a middle ground or a sweet spot that retains some of the freedom and flexibility yet offers back the professional community.

A hybrid approach to the future workplace

Work from Anywhere is on the rise as organisations respond, rethink and reorganise how their employees work—and where from. A hybrid approach to Office/Home conundrum…coming less as an obligation and more a destination. It is the place for culture, socialising, innovation, sparking creativity, all the things that really add value.

Done with the big HQ

Most companies are now questioning the need for large, expensive, centralised HQs, instead developing satellite office models. As most work can be done at home or by smaller teams based in smaller offices or coworking spaces, the smaller downsized Office becomes just a space for the essential collaboration and celebrating wins. 

It is a model that has far-reaching implications for the make-up and mechanics of our cities and suburbs. Many argue it will bring new vitality to neighbourhoods as our lives become local-centric. We will commute less, reducing strain on roads and train networks. We will have more control over our daily routine that should improve the work-life balance.

WFA means disturbances from kids, pets, flatmates, couriers and so much more. And the incessant chat of the open-plan office or coworking space is hardly a respite but if you adapt, you can work in comfort. For example, the MacBook Air Work From Anywhere is perfect for this kind of working.

Of course, the ‘new normal’ requires new tools—computer hardware and software—to keep us collaborating, connected and able to concentrate. And the traditional methodology of purchasing computers needs to change as well. Five years ago 90% of software was purchased. That has changed now to be under 10% with most companies subscribing to solutions such as Microsoft 365. Computer hardware such as Apple Mac’s and Microsoft Surface is available on a subscription basis and companies like HardSoft are leaders in the solution of Device as a Service.

WFA means potential disturbance from kids, pets, flatmates, delivery people and so much more. And the incessant chat of the open-plan office or coworking space is hardly a respite but if you adapt. But WFA solutions from Apple can make more sense in the world that currently lacks that sense.