Envato, an Australian company that hosts digital marketplaces for designers and developers, will allow their employees to work from anywhere, at any time – provided they can do their job.
They are calling it a ‘universal workplace flexibility’ program.
The company, which has 180 employees in Australia and 80 contractors in the rest of the world, already had a policy allowing staff to “work from anywhere in the world” for three months. Most employees also work from home at least one a day week.
Some of the workers won’t be able to take advantage of the new policy – receptionists, for example, would need to be physically present. But anyone whose job can be done remotely or at odd hours, and can work out a plan with their manager, will be entitled to do so.
The company notes globalisation and urban sprawl as drivers for the new policy, potentially allowing them to further distribute their team globally, and “better spend” the hours employees currently commute.
“The globalisation of work is coming, and it’s transformative. We want to stay competitive, attract the best, and get ahead of that,” Envato HR director James Law told Business Insider.
More flexibility also allows for greater work-life balance, which Envato hopes will aid employee retention and productivity.
“Plenty of people will still come into the office as they do now, but choice is a show of respect and trust, which builds engaged teams that share ownership of outcomes,” Law says.
“I work from home once a week which allows me to drop my kids off at school and then work on bits of my job that require real focus and longer periods of time to concentrate on one thing. I love it!”
A recent US survey of workplace flexibility found improvements in team interaction, customer service and productivity as a result of the changes. Further, concerns about how to evaluate output and productivity decreased as managers got used to the new setup.
Envato highlights companies like Buffer and Auttomattic as role-models for their new policy. Buffer, an American startup with employees spanning numerous countries, recently shuttered its Silicon Valley office and all employees now work completely remotely.
Although they all have different models, key for all these companies is hiring the right people and creating the right culture. Once you have these in place, there are plenty of upsides – more ownership of tasks, diversity, higher morale, and less rent etc.
“For us it’s about outputs, not inputs or location,” explains Law.