Working From Home (WFH) has been introduced to most of us already last year and has joined most in 2021 – but does WFH mean we can work from anywhere (WFX)? Surely, WFH is the new norm by now and many companies even allow working from home indefinitely (such as Twitter, which announced their statement re WFH already in May 2020). Although there are many pros to working from home, one should also not ignore the cons – and most definitely think about whether working from home really could mean working from anywhere.
Home office space becomes vital
Working from home has its many peaks but also its drawdowns. If I look at my own situation I could say that I am one of the lucky: I had set-up my office at home already prior to COVID-19 as I have worked from home already previously. I also have a separate room in my apartment which is my dedicated home office space – thus, I do not need to sit at the dining table, in the living room or try and find a quiet place away from any kids (or in my case, the dogs). If I need quiet time, I simply close my door. Yet, many people do not have this luxury and no spare room to make an office out of it. As remotely working means less office space is needed by the company, more space is needed at home. Some countries require the company to pay a part of the employees’ rent, so one should check that with their own jurisdiction. It also does not harm to check what the company policies are in this regard, especially if the company is down-sizing their office spaces in the future.
Cybersecurity becomes vital
Especially when you are working from home and sharing your internet connection (with your spouse, with friends or anyone else), it becomes utmost important that you are secured within your network. The last thing you want to happen, is to get hacked in your own home. Now that almost everyone is working from home, and since many do not have a strong or any firewall in place, it becomes an easy game for hackers. If your work does not provide you with a laptop or computer, given it is a necessity to work, one should install a firewall and anti-virus software on their home PCs (you should either way, but more so if you have confidential data saved on your devices). In addition, one may want to ask the company whether an anti-virus software is recommended and if it can be expensed. This way both you and your works’ confidential data stays safe.
Does working from home mean I can work from anywhere?
Many people are loving the home office era and working remotely surely has its peaks – the only thing you need essentially is a working device such a a laptop, most likely a good camera, perhaps a microphone and a good and stable internet connection.
A stable internet connection may just be the most important part here. If you do not have the best wireless connection at home, I suggest connecting your computer to the internet cable directly (which I have, just in case the WLAN breaks and because it gives me the fastest internet). Now with good internet connection you technically could work from anyway, right? So why not pack your bags and fly to the Caribbean for a couple of weeks or months and work from the beach? Well, you may not be allowed due to travel restrictions, but really, I wouldn’t recommend it either way. Here is why:
Reasons NOT to work from the beach (or anywhere else that is not your home)
– your company may not allow you traveling to other countries and may (or most likely) cut your salary if you return COVID-positive and are unable to work
– a beach is still a beach and thus translates to vacation. If you do not have official vacation, no employer wants to see you there
– staying in another country for a longer period of time usually requires a visa, and it may have tax consequences for you and your employer
– you never know if you can come back in time – what if your company requires you to be back in the office on a given date and you are nowhere near the country? I wouldn’t want to risk explaining that to my boss
– Most companies allow working remotely but also require the employees to be available at any instance should anything come up (such as an emergency)
– most meetings in-person have become a part of the past for now; yet virtual meetings are striving. Answering your video call with the beach in the background is not only unprofessional, but you will most certainly not make a lot of friends this way
– honestly, I have never been to a beach with good and especially fully stable internet connection
Say you have a holiday home out in the country, the alps or at a beach – perhaps in the same country or not too far away – and want to work from there. Is it possible? Personally, I would say yes – if you have a working space, there is no time difference that keeps you from working your normal hours and you actually work from there and not just lay in the sun or go skiing, why not. Yet, even here, it is of utmost importance to speak to your boss about it prior. I know several people from my industry that have left the city and are now staying at their holiday homes but most of them are also close enough to be at the office within a few hours should an emergency require them to be there.
What are your thoughts on working from anywhere (WFX)? I’d love your input!