In March of 2020, COVID-19 swept around the world, steering millions of workers to the comfort of their home offices and quickly into the throws of the remote work lifestyle. 2020 has been the year that the work from anywhere movement was inadvertently brought into the global spotlight.
Now, after months of this new way of working, it can be hard to remember what our work lives looked like pre-COVID-19. Did we really spend multiple hours commuting to and from work every day? Were all of those in-person conference room meetings really as necessary as they seemed at the time? Where did I leave my travel coffee mug when I last used it over six months ago?
Here at Owl Labs, we have long been leaders of the work from anywhere movement and our founders set out to create an equalized meeting and connecting experience for all, regardless of location. In the coming year, many organizations plan to attempt returning to working on-site in accordance with local and state regulations and CDC guidelines. But what about those of us who are thriving with our new location-flexible work schedules? When the modern workforce looks more business-unusual than as-usual, shouldn’t we commit and lean into the expansive possibilities of working from anywhere?
To decide if joining the work from anywhere movement is right for you, follow these steps.
If any of these sound like you, continuing to work remotely in a post-COVID-19 world seems like a good fit for your work style. Other common reasons for working remotely include moving away from their office location, childcare or eldercare responsibilities, and accommodating a disability. Once you are able to determine the reasons why you want to have a more flexible work arrangement, you'll have a clear idea of your goals and it'll be easier to make a business case for continuing to work from anywhere.
Has your company already announced a mandatory return to on-site work policy post-COVID-19? If not, you are in a great position to negotiate a flexible work arrangement. While many top businesses have released their return to work plans, even more have extended their remote work policies through the end of 2020 if not indefinitely.
For example, Twitter announced earlier this summer that they are embracing remote work and won’t be requiring on-site work for their employees. “While this is a big change for us, we have already been moving towards a more distributed workforce that's increasingly remote. We're a global service and we're committed to enabling anyone, anywhere to work at Twitter.”
If your employer is requiring a return to on-site work post-COVID-19, but you intend to continue your career remotely, it may be in your best interest to begin a job search. Thanks to modern video conferencing software and asynchronous communication tools, more jobs than ever before are able to be done from anywhere.
Here are some common work from anywhere jobs:
Consider your skill set and professional background to find a job that works best for you. When you've determined your ideal job or career path, it's time to find jobs and identify companies that offer flexible work arrangements that will allow you to work from anywhere.
Once you have determined the job you would like to do from anywhere, research companies that embrace remote work and flexible work arrangements to start your search. Some top companies allow you to work remotely (e.g., Trello, HubSpot, and Amazon) and others have been fully remote pre-COVID-19 (e.g., Buffer, Doist, and Zapier).
Use remote job boards to narrow down your search. Job boards are some of the greatest tools you have at your disposal. Not only can you filter for jobs you're interested in, but you can also filter by company, location, and full-time or part-time positions. Here are a few work from anywhere job boards to help you with your search:
During your job search process, remember to infer about each company’s post-COVID-19 return to work plan so you find a job that meets your long-term work from anywhere needs.
If you work at a company that allowed remote work pre-COVID-19 or you want to see if it's possible to continue working from anywhere post-COVID-19, but your organization has announced an intention to return to work from the office you'll likely need to ask to work remotely.
Are there people in your office who were working from a remote location before COVID-19 caused everyone to shift to fully remote work? Reach out to them to see what that process was like and ask if they have any tips.
Use the reasons why you want to work remotely to help you build a business case. Why will working remotely help you work better? What did you learn about your personal work style during COVID-19 mandated remote work and why is it in the best interest of yourself and your company for you to continue? Whatever the case may be, your employer will want to understand the reasons why they should allow you to work from anywhere so they can make an informed decision that benefits all parties involved.
Pick the environment where you'll be able to focus best to get your work done.
The best thing about working from anywhere is the flexibility you'll enjoy. You can even select a combination of these work from anywhere locations. For example, you might primarily work from home but you work from a coffee shop or a coworking space a few days of the week.
The future of work is flexible. When you work from anywhere, you have the freedom to work when and where you'll be most productive. Join the work from anywhere movement, and experience all the future has to offer.
Editor's note: This post was originally published on October 29, 2019. It has been updated and republished for thoroughness and accuracy.