This article is the first in a series examining employees ‘working from anywhere’ - an important issue facing organisations worldwide.

The number of employees working from home increased dramatically during the pandemic. In a recent survey of remote workers in five countries, 45% said they were working remotely solely due to the pandemic.1

Transforming Workplace articles-icons_45% working remotely

Respondents to this survey also noted how long they had been working remotely:

Transforming Workplace articles-icons_Less than 6 months- 7.9%     Transforming Workplace articles-icons_6 – 11 months- 32.2%

Transforming Workplace articles-icons_1 – 4 years- 33.7%     Transforming Workplace articles-icons_5 – 9 years- 19.4%

The pandemic made ‘working from home’ necessary, but in doing so it broke “through cultural and technological barriers that prevented remote work in the past, setting in motion a structural shift in where work takes place.”2

Now “remote work is no longer viewed as a temporary solution, but one that will carry forward.”3

In the early stages of the pandemic, remote work meant working from the employee’s home, and that home was usually an acceptable commuting distance from the employee’s pre-pandemic worksite. 

We can assume that most employees did not originally choose their homes with ‘working from home’ in mind. “The transition to remote work was sudden for many. We heard and read stories about all the people quickly creating space for work in their homes. Many kitchens were transformed.”1

It is easy to visualise the challenges facing employees working from multi-functional kitchen tables being shared with other household members, perhaps in conjunction with childcare, eldercare, or home-schooling responsibilities.

Now that “cultural and technological barriers”2 have been broken, employees planning to ‘work from home’ (for at least part of the working week) are moving to better and more suitable homes in new locations beyond the previous commuting distance from their pre-pandemic workplace.

Major drivers for this change in home location also include the pandemic-related “epiphanies” about “family time, remote work, commuting, passion projects, life and death.”4

In a recent Citrix survey, “76% of the workers polled believe that employees will be more likely to prioritize lifestyle (family and personal interests) over proximity to work.”5

Transforming Workplace articles-icons_76% prioritize lifestyle

Employees are now “picking where they want to live, the communities they want to live in, where they have friends, where they want to raise a family.”6

Citrix also reports that “83% of employees think that workers will be more likely to move out of cities and other urban locations if they can work remotely for a majority of the time, creating new work hubs in rural areas.”5

Transforming Workplace articles-icons_83% ikely to move out of cities to urban location

Choosing these new home locations could be driven by:

Transforming Workplace articles-icons_Choosing these new home locations could be driven by

A new home location further from the pre-pandemic worksite could be larger, cheaper, and provide the employee with dedicated and more suitable home office space. 

Employee demand to ‘work from anywhere’ is very high - 97.6% of the Buffer survey respondents said they would “like to work remotely, at least some of the time, for the rest of”1 their careers.

Transforming Workplace articles-icons_97.6% work remotely rest of their careers

So ‘working from home’ will continue, but in many cases ‘home’ has moved, or will move, further away from the pre-pandemic worksite. As a result, ‘work from home’ has become more remote, or ‘work from anywhere’.

‘Work from anywhere’ allows employees to “get geographic flexibility (that is, live where they prefer to), eliminate commutes, and report better work/life balance.”7

We note that ‘work from anywhere’ also includes employees working away from their home on vacation or temporary assignment. This temporary ‘work from anywhere’ practice will be explored in a later article.

Forward-thinking organisations have already incorporated ‘work from anywhere’ flexibility in their Employee Value Propositions and upskilled their leaders to adapt to leading permanent remote teams.

Given that employees clearly want to ‘work from anywhere’, if an organisation is confident that an employee can satisfactorily deliver their work remotely, does it matter where the employee’s home is located?

This question will be explored in our next article.

Norton Rose Fulbright assists organisations to efficiently and effectively address the legal aspects of the new global work environment, including employees working from home and anywhere. Please reach out if we can assist your organisation in this respect.


1, ‘The 2021 State of Remote Work’.


S Lund, A Madgavkar, J Manyika, S Smit, McKinsey & Co, ‘What’s Next for Remote Work: An Analysis of 2,000 Tasks, 800 Jobs, and Nine Countries’, 23 November 2020.


Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning, ‘Covid-19 Heightens the Leadership Gap’, August 2020.


A Klotz, Bloomberg Businessweek, ‘How to Quit Your Job in the Great Post-Pandemic Resignation Boom’, 10 May 2021.


T Minahan, Harvard Business Review, ‘What Your Future Employees Want Most’, 31 May 2021.


A De Smet, McKinsey & Company, ‘From the Great Attrition to the Great Adaptation’, 3 November 2021.


P Choudhury, Harvard Business Review, ‘Our Work-from-Anywhere Future’, November-December 2020.


Partner | Employment & Labour Team Leader
Senior Partner
US Chair, Head of Employment and Labor, United States
Global Head of Employment and Labor
Head of Employment - Europe, Middle East and Asia
Partner, Canadian National Chair, Employment and Labour

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