Shifting The Narrative: Work From Home to Anywhere
Work from home is no longer the default in Singapore, with the recent announcement made by Education Minister Lawrence Wong. The change in policy allows employers to have 75 per cent of their staff back at the office, eliminating the need for employees to work at home half of the time. Split team arrangements are also made non-mandatory. So does working from the office provide some form of relief and a sense of normalcy?
While the news may bring respite to those who have found working from home a challenge, Singaporeans are expressing their preference for workplace flexibility, driving a key touchpoint in the discourse – employees today want to work where they find most productive, which is not necessarily the traditional office. This renders the need for businesses to relook at their workplace policies in the new normal.
To accommodate greater flexibility, businesses must go beyond the ‘home’ when exploring remote work as a future strategy. This shifts the narrative from ‘work from home’ to ‘work from anywhere’, one that embraces productivity and collaboration beyond the traditional office. In that pursuit, work from office becomes an option, rather than a rule for employees, who now have opportunities to explore better work environments.
Relooking at flexibility at the workplace
When it comes to workplace flexibility, its primary motive is to drive efficiency. Giving employees extra room to decide how they can tend to their responsibilities means they can create for themselves an environment conducive to focused work.
Working from the office comes with its own challenges – think noisy, unproductive and crowded workplace settings, and the inconvenience in terms of travel for those who live far. Studies, like PwC’s US Remote Work Survey and a Mercer study, have shown that working away from the office supported improvement in productivity – virtual work has proven its impact.
Work from home can provide such freedom but the woes around distractions and ill-equipped work environments make such a model ineffective, especially among parents with young children or those living in neighbourhoods with noisy construction work.
The result: they scramble to find alternative solutions for themselves, bearing the costs of time and resources.
On the other hand, the concept of work from anywhere can help widen a company’s perspective of workplace flexibility. Instead of merely allowing employees to work from home (or in the public areas they choose), employers can provide them with the means to allow productive remote work.
One solution is clear.
The coworking space
The creative and collaborative nature of coworking offices grants employees a fresh way of working among like-minded individuals from varied backgrounds. Speaking to a hot desking neighbour creates ample opportunities for networking and exploring out-of-the-box ideas, which were otherwise a challenge in the traditional office. But that’s not all.
Employees aren’t limited to a single alternative workspace. JustCo’s coworking plans allow members to hop into any one of the 19 locations islandwide. So when the walls close in while working from home or one needs some quiet time away from the hustle at the office, employees can travel down to a convenient JustCo location and fire away at their to-do lists at a hot desk or a private studio.
Further, with pay-per-use meeting rooms and ergonomically-friendly desks available, there’s never a need to worry about making a good impression on a teleconference call with a client or stakeholder. Add on high-speed WiFi connectivity, IT support, printing facilities and a suite of office amenities, not forgetting a fully-stocked pantry, to complete the experience.
Workspace on demand
If more flexibility is what your employees need, consider the pay-per-use workspace, a space-as-a-service solution. JustCo’s partnership with workspace on-demand platform Switch allows users to select from smart, private work booths or shared, conducive to productivity workspaces with all office amenities at their fingertips. The cherry on the cake? These booths and workspaces are located in neighbourhood shopping malls and commercial buildings, so employees can work from anywhere in Singapore – near their homes or current offices, or just a stone’s throw away from the dinner place they’re heading to right after!
Switch is ideally suited for companies who are looking for flexible options to complement their traditional leases. For example, enterprises with centralised offices can take advantage of this workspace-on-demand platform to house new employees without the need to upgrade their current office lease. In addition, these booths can double up as meeting venues, especially beneficial for employees who need a quiet environment to attend to calls or a private workspace away from distractions.
What’s in it for you?
With a suite of amenities alongside a well-designed working environment, coworking and workspaces on demand make productive work possible, ensuring that employees continue to perform to the best of their abilities in ways that provide them with job satisfaction. This is a critical driver for employee retention. In addition, these flexible workplace solutions – with islandwide accessibility – grant employees with better control over where and how they work. By organising their work around life, they will have ample time to shuttle between multiple meetings, pick up the kids from school or anything in between, promising better work-life balance, and of course, happier employees.
For businesses looking for better scaling strategies, coworking or on-demand workspaces are the perfect real estate solution. Adopting the core and flex model, which in essence is the hybrid nature of work, businesses can streamline capital and operating expenditures, and channel more resources to business areas that matter.
That said, is work from office going to decline? If we refer to the ‘office’ in the traditional sense, it’s too early to say so, considering the need for larger corporations to set up headquarters for business visibility. However, the concept of work from anywhere fits seamlessly in any workplace model that allows some space for flexibility.
Whether it’s a shared office space or private booth, work from anywhere is a revolutionary leap from the offices of the past, creating newer narratives of what we understand the office to represent in the future of work.
If you’re looking for a holistic workspace solution, this is it.
Embracing the future of work
With over 100,000 members at JustCo, the future of work is well becoming a thing of the present. The effects of the pandemic revealed that conducive work environments are necessary even in times of crises – work from home is never a full-proof strategy. The growth of our member base says it all.