Creating a Work-From-Anywhere Policy That Works

updated on 16 May 2024

Remote work policies have gained significant momentum in recent years, with the global workforce undergoing a seismic shift toward flexible work arrangements. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the trend of remote work, forcing many accounting and finance firms to adapt to a new reality. 

According to a survey by PwC, 55% of CFOs plan to offer remote work as a permanent option for roles that allow it. However, there are some key considerations and best practices accounting firms need to take care of when hiring offshore employees to really leverage the advantages of recruiting nearshore talent to build a cohesive and high-performing team.

Now, before delving into the specifics of creating a work-from-anywhere policy, let's take a moment to understand the broader context of the remote work landscape. According to recent surveys and studies:

  • Remote Work Is on the Rise: The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of remote work, with 88% of organizations worldwide implementing some form of remote work policy in 2020 (Source: Gartner).
  • Productivity Is Thriving: Contrary to initial concerns, remote employees have demonstrated remarkable productivity. A FlexJobs survey found that 65% of professionals believe they are more productive working from home.
  • Work-from-anywhere policies enable companies to tap into a global talent pool, providing access to highly skilled professionals regardless of their location.
  • Organizations have reported cost savings in office space, utilities, and overhead costs as a result of remote work arrangements (Source: Global Workplace Analytics).

Given this backdrop, let's explore what accounting and finance firms should consider when implementing a remote work policy that incorporates offshore employees.

What is a Work-From-Anywhere Policy?

A work-from-anywhere policy is a set of guidelines and expectations that define how employees can perform their work from any location of their choice, as long as they meet their goals and deadlines. A work-from-anywhere policy differs from a traditional remote work policy in that it gives employees more flexibility and autonomy to choose where they want to work, whether it is from home, a coworking space, a coffee shop, or even another country.

Benefits Of Implementing A Work-From-Anywhere Policy

Attracting and retaining talent

A work-from-anywhere policy can help accounting and finance firms widen their talent pool and access skilled professionals from different regions and backgrounds through offshore hiring. It can also increase employee satisfaction, loyalty, and engagement by allowing them to work in a way that suits their preferences and lifestyles.

Reducing costs

Accounting and finance firms are saving money not only from office space, utilities, equipment, travel, and relocation expenses. But also from tapping into more cost-effective labor markets and leveraging international talent. 

Awork-from-anywhere policy, both with in-office teams and international teams can reduce employee turnover and absenteeism, which can have a positive impact on productivity and profitability.

Increasing productivity and performance

A work-from-anywhere policy can help accounting and finance firms boost productivity and performance by enabling employees to work in environments that are comfortable, convenient, and conducive to their tasks. It can also reduce stress, distractions, and interruptions that can affect employee well-being and output.

Key Considerations for Offshore Hiring:

Managing communication and collaboration: A work-from-anywhere policy can make communication and collaboration more difficult among employees who are working in different locations, time zones, and cultures. It can also affect the quality of feedback, supervision, and support that employees receive from their managers and peers.

Maintaining security and compliance: A work-from-anywhere policy can expose accounting and finance firms to more risks of data breaches, cyberattacks, fraud, and errors. It can also complicate compliance with various laws, regulations, standards, and policies that apply to different jurisdictions and industries.

Preserving culture and values: A work-from-anywhere policy can weaken the sense of belonging, identity, and alignment that employees have with their firm’s culture and values. It can also reduce the opportunities for socialization, recognition, and learning that employees get from interacting with their colleagues in person.

Key Considerations for Offshore Hiring

Legal and Regulatory Compliance: Begin by understanding the legal and regulatory requirements for hiring offshore employees. Comply with labor laws, taxation regulations, and any other relevant statutes in both your home country and the offshore employee's location.

Data Security: Ensure robust data security measures are in place to protect sensitive financial information. Implement encryption, secure communication channels, and enforce strict access controls.

Communication and Collaboration Tools: Invest in reliable communication and collaboration tools that facilitate seamless interactions between on-site and offshore team members. Tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom can bridge geographical gaps.

Performance Metrics: Establish clear performance metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate the productivity and effectiveness of offshore employees. Regularly review and adjust these metrics as needed.

Cultural Sensitivity Training: Promote cultural sensitivity within your team to foster a cohesive work environment. Understanding and respecting cultural differences can enhance collaboration and teamwork.

How to Create a Work-From-Anywhere Policy That Works?

Creating a work-from-anywhere policy that works requires careful planning, communication, and evaluation. Here are some steps that accounting and finance firms can take to design and implement a successful work-from-anywhere policy:

Define the objectives and scope of the policy

The first step is to clarify why the firm wants to adopt a work-from-anywhere policy and what it hopes to achieve with it. The firm should also determine which roles, functions, processes, and projects are eligible for the policy and which ones are not. The firm should also consider the legal, regulatory, ethical, and contractual implications of the policy for both the firm and the employees.

Establish the guidelines and expectations of the policy

The next step is to set the rules and standards that govern how employees can work from anywhere. The firm should specify the minimum requirements for the employees’ work environment, equipment, internet connection, security measures, availability hours, communication methods, reporting procedures, performance metrics, etc. The firm should also communicate the benefits and responsibilities of the policy for both the firm and the employees.

Provide the resources and support for the policy

The third step is to equip the employees with the tools and assistance they need to work from anywhere effectively. The firm should provide the employees with access to reliable technology platforms (such as cloud-based software), training programs (such as cybersecurity awareness), feedback systems (such as regular check-ins), incentive schemes (such as recognition awards), etc. The firm should also foster a culture of trust (such as by setting clear goals), collaboration (such as by using online platforms), diversity (such as by respecting different perspectives), etc.

Monitor the outcomes and impacts of the policy

The final step is to measure how well the policy is working for both the firm and the employees. The firm should collect data on various indicators (such as productivity levels), solicit feedback from various stakeholders (such as clients), conduct surveys or interviews with various groups (such as managers), etc. The firm should also review and adjust the policy as needed based on the results and feedback.

Thriving in the Work-From-Anywhere Era

The future of work is undoubtedly remote, and accounting and finance firms have a unique opportunity to leverage this trend to their advantage. To create a policy that truly works, firms should prioritize clear communication, regular feedback, and a commitment to building an inclusive and engaged remote workforce. The challenges of remote work can be overcome with thoughtful planning, adaptability, and a dedication to fostering a sense of belonging among all team members.

Hiring nearshore employees can be a viable option for accounting and finance firms to reap the benefits of remote work while minimizing the challenges.

Written-_by-_Kevin-Mitchell-z6tqx

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