If, by the the end of all this, we’ve learned only one thing — and I sincerely hope that’s not the case — it’s probably going to be this: office culture as we knew it is no longer fit for purpose. Or, more accurately, it hasn’t been for a very long time but that’s now become impossible to deny.
In short: Working from home, well, works.
But, with the world now cautiously opening up again, the idea of being untethered to a single centralised workspace broadens the possibilities even further. Yes, at least for those for whom it’s an option, working from home is likely to become, as everyone’s favourite new idiom has it, “the new normal.” But that isn’t the full picture.
There are still those who, understandably, aren’t keen to mix business and domesticity so readily; people who have no interest in returning to a traditional office environment — or even a co-working space, which now have a very questionable future ahead — but who aren’t so thrilled about the place they live becoming their place of work.
In that sense, it’s important that when you are working from home — or when you do come home after working at the cafe, or the restaurant, or the pool, or the park, or the beach, or another country entirely — that your home is still somewhere you want to be. A place you’re happy to decompress. To live.
What that means in practice, of course, will differ from person to person. Maybe it’s a Smart Home Entertainment Centre — or, if you’re really committed, a recording studio. Maybe it’s a smart kitchen that takes the edge off cooking and stops it from being just another chore at the end of the work day. Maybe it’s something as simple as smart lighting that knows when it’s time to change the mood.
It all makes a difference to how you view your home. And that’s important.
But what about when you are working from Anywhere? The needs are a little more practical, of course — less about home comforts and more means to an end — but that doesn’t make them any less important: if you don’t have the tools to get your work done, you’re never going to come home — and even when you do it’s not chilling out that’s going to be on your mind.
A good pocket wi-fi, for example, makes a big difference. I was first handed one of these staying at a hotel in Tokyo back in 2017 — a way of making sure I didn’t get lost or in any other kind of trouble, but also didn’t have a phone bill more expensive than my stay. It seemed at the time like the wave of the future — it seems now like a must-have. Especially when, let’s face it, phone hotspots still aren’t all that hot.
It’s also worth mentioning that, wedded as we have been to our homes now for the last year or so, we’ve grown — it’s fair to say — attached. Working From Anywhere, as freeing as it might be, has the potential to throw up separation anxiety in a way that just going to the office in days of yore did not.
It’s only natural, then, that — even more than wanting your home to be exactly as you left it when you do eventually return — you might want to make sure nothing is going awry in your absence.
Smart Home Monitoring is a simple solution for that; to be thought about less as security and more as reassurance. Peace of mind for the place you find peace of mind.
As part of a more thoroughly connected home, too, you can keep track of all your utilities — simple things like making sure you get dishwasher fluid you’ll inevitably need later while you’re out and about now. Or even just knowing that your home is nice and warm, waiting to welcome you.
In short, working from home is very much set to be a part of our lives for the foreseeable future. Maybe even forever. Working from anywhere is an extension from that — a valuable one for those who relish the change of scenery and want to preserve their home environment as just that.
In the end, though, people always want somewhere to come back to. And that’s not likely to change.
Another iteration of the digital nomad lifestyle that’s been floating around for a while now, but which always seemed something of a pipe dream, WFA is more a combination set-up than something entirely new; a more grounded version of a lifestyle that just doesn’t work for most people when reality hits.
Most people, after all, will still want a home. Most people will still want a steady source of income. Some people might even want somewhere else to go to make that happen. What’s changed is how we can choose to combine these ideas. A kind of delicious work-life balance pick’n’mix.